Guest Article #88
Momentum for Change: Recognizing Climate Action on the Ground
As delegates from around the world gather in Doha for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 18/CMP 8), they will have to tackle significant political issues that remain to be resolved in the UNFCCC negotiation process. However, I hope they also keep in mind that action on the ground to address climate change is already taking place and we need to do a better job at recognizing such activities.
With Momentum for Change, the UN Climate Change Secretariat hopes to do its part to shine a light on successful activities which address climate change. Launched last year during the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa with funding support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Momentum for Change provides a platform to showcase activities from around the world that have been successful at either reducing greenhouse gas emissions or assisting communities to adapt to the consequences of climate change, while benefiting the urban poor.
This year an advisory panel made up by civil society experts, selected nine lighthouse activities, which highlight broad-ranging climate change actions that are already achieving tangible results, and encourage further change towards a low-carbon, climate-resilient future. These lighthouse activities particularly address how public-private partnerships can provide social and economic benefits to the urban poor, while effectively tackling climate change.
The nine activities demonstrate just this and more. They are:
- Solar Sister, a door-to-door green energy social enterprise in Uganda;
- The Ahmedabad bus rapid transit system in India, which created an integrated and accessible public transport system;
- Organic waste compost in Nepal which is spearheaded by BioComp Nepal and the myclimate foundation which processes organic waste and turns it into compost that can be used by the local community in Kathmandu;
- Energy efficiency in artisanal brick kilns in Peru, implemented by Swisscontact in cooperation and the myclimate foundation, which promotes cleaner-burning artisanal brick kilns;
- Carbon For Water in Kenya, an initiative led by Vestergaard Frandsen in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation in Kenya, which uses carbon financing from the voluntary carbon market to fund household level water purification;
- Adaptation to coastal erosion in vulnerable areas, an Adaptation Fund-supported activity in Senegal that fights coastal erosion, implemented by the Centre de Suivi Ecologique (CSE);
- Introduction of electric vehicles to Sri Lanka, an activity which pilots the use of electric buses and rickshaws in Colombo with assistance from the UN Development Programme (UNDP);
- Holistic approaches to community adaptation to climate change, a Namibia-based activity from Creative Entrepreneurs Solutions, Ergonomidesign and UNDP, that uses a six-point method to assist local communities in adapting to climate change;
- Guangzhou bus rapid transit system in China, one of the largest integrated bus rapid transit systems in the world.
These Lighthouse Activities will be celebrated at an event in Doha on 4 December, featuring remarks by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The following day, activity participants will be involved in a series of side events to discuss their activities. For more information of these activities go here.
Keeping the Momentum
However, the recognition of on the ground climate action does not end here. Momentum for Change has added two new pillars that will serve to expand focus given to climate action.
Momentum for Change: Women for Results is an initiative to showcase the active role that women play in addressing climate change. It will be implemented with funding support from the Rockefeller Foundation. Women are disproportionately impacted by climate change, as they are the most affected by climate change impacts, such as droughts, floods and other extreme weather events. Momentum for Change: Women for Results will showcase activities to inform governments, the private sector, civil society and the public at large about the crucial role of women in solving climate change.
Momentum for Change: Innovative Finance will recognize the crucial role that financing plays in climate change action. This initiative, which will be carried out in partnership with the World Economic Forum, will showcase successful public-private financing mechanisms and approaches that are already delivering climate-friendly investment. It will inform investors, business, public finance agencies, governments and the media about the practical ways and means to enable a global shift to environmentally and economically sustainable growth.
Both of these pillars will be launched in events during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha.
I hope that the 2012 lighthouse activities and the two new pillars under Momentum for Change, inform those attending this year's UN Climate Change Conference in Doha on the significant climate action already taking place on the ground, while inspiring them to engage in constructive dialogue during the next two weeks.