Taking locally led adaptation global full transcript
Marek Soanes [00:00:00]: So welcome to the third podcast in our series exploring locally led adaptation, taking locally led adaptation global. My name is Marek Soanes, a researcher at the International Institute for Environment and Development, and I am in the unenviable position of taking over from our previous host, Aditya Bahadur, who’s taken me through the last two podcasts in this series. So wish me a bit of luck.
So you’re joining me from our conversational podcast exploring the role that global climate policy plays in supporting locally led adaptation. So connecting the global to local level action. A bit of background: at the January Climate Adaptation Summit, more than 40 major international and local organisations publicly endorsed eight principles for locally led adaptation. These set out good practice for shifting the way climate finance is delivered and adaptation action is supported, including increasing devolved decision making, better addressing structural inequalities, providing more patient and predictable funding to local actors, investing in local institutions and their capabilities, building a robust understanding of climate risk that draws on local knowledge, traditional and indigenous knowledge, enabling flexible programming and learning and ensuring transparency and collaborative action.
Now, the shift to locally led adaptation action is gaining momentum. Over 50 organisations have now endorsed these eight principles and they have recently gained support from the UK COP26 presidency and the G7’s finance ministers. There is real momentum growing behind this action up to COP26. So today’s discussion places a firm eye on COP26 in Glasgow in November exploring the role that global climate policy is and should play in shifting towards more local led adaptation.
Global climate policy obviously includes the UN [Framework] Convention on Climate Change itself, the Paris Agreement, which were all incredibly important for setting global and climate ambition and providing a framework for adequate finance, technical and capacity building assistance to the developing countries that need it most. Today we’re incredibly lucky to be joined by four amazingly diverse guests to discuss the role that climate policy has and should play in supporting more locally led adaptation on the ground. Our first guest is Ayesha Constable, who is the national adaptation plan coordinator within Antigua and Barbuda’s Department of Environment within the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment. Ayesha, welcome.
Ayesha Constable [00:02:30]: Thank you very much, Marek, and thank you for the opportunity to share on the work that we’re doing around adaptation in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment in Antigua and Barbuda. And as much as it’s a government entity, we are certainly advocates for locally led adaptation.
Marek Soanes [00:02:47]: Fantastic, Ayesha. My second guest is Eileen Mairena Cunningham, who’s a member of CADPI, the Centre for Autonomy and Development of Indigenous Peoples in Nicaragua, and is the developing countries’ active observer for the Green Climate Fund. Eileen, welcome.
Eileen Mairena Cunningham [00:03:04]: Thank you, Marek, for your invitation for this podcast. I think it’s a great opportunity to share with all of you what Indigenous People have been doing around the globe about adaptation. Actually, I’m also a part of a local Indigenous women organisation in the border of Nicaragua and Honduras that is Wangki Tangni organisation and we have a lot of experience in adaptation in the region. Thank you.
Marek Soanes [00:03:29]: Eileen Mairena, fantastic, thank you very much. Our third guest is Joshua Amponsen, who is executive director for the Green Africa Youth Organization, and a youth fellow at the Global Centre on Adaptation. Joshua, welcome.
Joshua Amponsen [00:03:41]: Thank you very much, Marek, and happy to be here. Yes, I’m Joshua and for the past couple of years I’ve been focusing on youth engagement in climate adaptation at the local and international level, supporting private sector organisations and also national policies in terms of how young people could be better engaged in climate adaptation.
Marek Soanes [00:04:04]: Welcome, Joshua. It’s a pleasure to be joined by Mamadou Honadia, a former negotiator for Burkina Faso in UNFCCC and a former advisor to the Prime Minister’s office on the Green Climate Fund. Mamadou has been an expert in finance, adaptation, capacity building, national adaptation planning and loss and damage. It’s a pleasure, Mamadou, to be joined by you today.
Mamadou Honadia [00:04:27]: Thank you, Sir. You rightly introduced myself. I would add that I’m actually operating as a LDC chair advisor, member of Elders Group and I’m also an independent expert at the national and international level.
Marek Soanes [00:04:46]: Thank you, Mamadou.
Marek Soanes [00:04:57]: So, to our first question to the panel. Ayesha, why do you think locally led adaptation is so important?
Ayesha Constable [00:05:04]: In my own experiences, I find that local communities are certainly on the frontlines of climate change, not just as victims I must add, but as you know poor regions who are shaping the outcomes of climate change processes and are using Indigenous knowledge and the resources available to them to enhance their own resilience. And so it’s important that any process that seeks to address, you know, what happens at the local level engages local communities and local groups. Also as, as we know, climate change, as much as it’s a global phenomenon, has very unique impacts at the local level, which are shaped by local circumstances, and not just physical circumstances but also, you know, issues related to economic situation, other social issues at the local levels. And so to take a one-size-fits-all approach to adaptation planning is to exclude inadvertently some of these unique realities that are happening and shaping responses in our communities at the local level. And, again, in that respect, wanting to ensure the principles of justice and equity and inclusiveness in all the work that we do around climate change. It means also giving space to these communities and groups that are otherwise excluded from this process.
Marek Soanes [00:06:38]: Fantastic, thank you so much, Ayesha. And, Eileen, as you mentioned, you work with Indigenous organisations including women’s led Indigenous groups. From your context, why is locally led adaptation so important to achieve climate resilient societies?
Eileen Mairena Cunningham [00:06:55]: The reality is adaptation is really not a new concept for Indigenous people. We have seen around the globe that Indigenous people have been adapting to the environment for centuries and I think that now the problem is that this is coming so rapidly. So, local led adaptation is so important for Indigenous People and as just said, it’s not only for Indigenous, I think it’s for different ethnic around the world. Because these current situation in our territories are the reflection of this climate impact, that is not only affecting our resources or territories or lands, it’s also affecting our way of life, our livelihood. So what we have seen around is that this climate change is undermining our livelihood but also the policies and action that are not including Indigenous people or local community to address the climate change. We are left behind, are left aside of all these negotiations.
Indigenous people think it’s important to be part of the adaptation process, of the adaptation action, because we have a lot of knowledge. Ayesha also already said about this. Indigenous people have a specific knowledge, a specific action that maybe the state can take into account that can be part of policies in and scale up in, in global space. And we also think it’s important in all these adaptation processes, that the effective participation of the actors should be in place. Most of the action that adaptation for climate change are taking place in our lands and territories and how is Indigenous people left aside? This is like that. So for us it’s really important because it’s our lands. It’s not only a space where we live, it is the basis of our culture, the basis of our survival as indigenous people.
Marek Soanes [00:09:06]: Thank you so much. Mamadou?
Mamadou Honadia [00:09:09]: Locally led adaptation is very important because since the beginning of the negotiations, developing countries, including Burkina Faso, advocated that we are always impacted, affected by climate change. The first reaction we have to add is really to first adapt, and secondly think how we can mitigate the emissions. So since the beginning of the negotiations, my country knew that adaptation is very crucial, very important for us. So locally led adaptation is very important because it will identify vulnerable people, vulnerable regions, that are impacted by climate change.
So talking about locally led adaptation means that we have to make distinctions between those living, for instance, at the capital, and those who are suffering at the grassroots level, I mean the communities and villages. So to me, actually, if we would like to address the issue of adaptation, let’s go at the grassroot level. Let’s go to the communities where people are really working under a sort of - how do I call it? - are living with difficulties without any substantial means in order to survive. So actually, when we talk about food security, we think first to local communities. So to me, locally led adaptation is very crucial in that context.
Marek Soanes [00:11:09]: Thank you, Mamadou. Joshua, you have represented but also mentored young people, increasing their representation in global and local climate processes. From the perspective of youth engagement and youth representation, why do you think locally led adaptation is so important?
Joshua Amponsen [00:11:28]: Thank you very much, Marek. When it comes to locally led climate adaptation, the essence of it, and I’m going to draw back to one of the principles of locally led action which is understanding risk and uncertainty, because the climate issue is huge and there are vulnerability differences from one place to the other, leading from one individual to another, it becomes really essential that within local communities the young people particularly are more interested to see what does the future hold for them, what can they do to support in terms of adaptation and building resilience, and facilitating how they can work together with different stakeholders to strengthen the resilience of their communities as well as be able to protect their own future, and reduce their, their risk as well. So that becomes very essential. The international level could do policies and could set certain agendas but it’s going to come down to actions that are taken locally to protect livelihoods and to, from the perspective of young people, to ensure that there is intergenerational equity, that young people have a future that they deserve.
Marek Soanes [00:12:34]: Thank you so much, Joshua.
Marek Soanes [00:12:41]: And you’ve touched upon the role of climate policy. You’re engaged and interacting with global climate policy in slightly different ways. Ayesha in the planning process for climate change that was enacted under the Cancun Adaptation Framework in National Adaptation Plans. And Eileen, you obviously are representative for civil society organisations in one of the main financial mechanisms of the Green Climate Fund to support developing countries and their climate action. Joshua, you have both represented and supported youth engagement in global climate forums, including the Conference of the Parties for the UNFCCC. Firstly, Ayesha, these global climate policy frameworks – why are they so important for influencing what happens on the ground in terms of adaptation?
Ayesha Constable [00:13:34]: These frameworks, they set the tone for what happens at every level of climate governance. The Paris Agreement, the UNFCCC, they determine what the priorities are globally. They help to shape the priorities that funding entities eventually adapt. They also help to set the framework within which governments operate and within which entities such as the Green Climate Fund operates. So they play a significant role in setting the foundation for planning and climate governance globally. I suppose that in doing that, however, the gap there is in making the connection between what is happening at that highest level of decision making and what is happening in terms of climate impacts at the local levels. And so sometimes there is a disconnect.
However, if frameworks such as these global frameworks set the right precedents, that connection becomes very important in terms of establishing what are the parameters in which climate change happens and climate change planning takes place. And in a big way as well, the global policies determine what national governments and regional governments do around climate change implementation and governance. So it is important that these frameworks be in place to ensure, you know, a very streamlined approach but it’s also important that we identify the entry points in all these frameworks for the integration of considerations that are unique to local communities and find ways to give local communities an opportunity to shape these processes so that they’re not just on the receiving end of whatever is determined at the COP, but the decisions and the outcomes of those processes are tailored to meet their unique challenges.
And I, I believe that Eileen said it very well in terms of it’s not just a matter of how do local communities benefit from these decision making processes, but how does the broader framework of planning benefit from the knowledge and the experience that local communities have honed and harnessed over the years by virtue of having done this for centuries just for their survival.
Marek Soanes [00:16:14]: Ayesha, that’s really interesting to hear about how climate policy in your opinion sets the tone for what, I guess, what support is provided but also sets the tone for climate action on the ground. Eileen, from your perspective, how does global climate policy actually interact with the constituencies that you support for their adaptation on the ground?
Eileen Mairena Cunningham [00:16:36]: As Ayesha already say, these global policies should be the guideline for action at international level. And what we see is that one of the main challenges is that lack of funding to implement the adaptation policy arise in many case. Without this stable financial law, it will affect these implementations at national level. And above all, without clear guidelines for implementation, with the participation of local stakeholders as Indigenous People, women, we will be having incipient action that will not achieve a resolution for the current climate problem. So for us it’s important that these, these policies, that are defined for implementation have that, of the adaptation process, understand that these schemes are not only uni-directional. We have seen for decades that most of these actions came from top down to our communities, to our territories.
And I think that that is a moment to change this idea. And as I say, there is a serious experience and process that we can show that also can be scaled up at national and international, at global levels. And I think this process can be an enriched with the action from the local level. For Indigenous People we talk about complementarity. And I think this can also apply in this case because, if we don’t change this top-down scheme, the complementarity cannot be done. And with the inclusion of the bottom-up ambition, we will see that we can work together, we can work with a collective vision and not individually or with this idea of overlapping ideas. I think Indigenous People in adaptation issues, we also are talking about the importance of work together, to work together with other different stakeholder. We have seen in the UNFCCC, the local community and the Indigenous People platform, that is a supportive institution, especially because the link that we want to establish with the organisational base and the issues of adaptation to climate change. So I think we have a great opportunity to include other stakeholders in this process.
And also I think activities programme and project action should be carried out with the local level, with the grassroots level organisation, because the impact of adaptation you can only measure at local level. And adaptation should be planned and should be a result of a political decision in our countries. So it’s important to have these conscientious efforts and planning to achieve certain objective and should result in some changes in institutional changes, in behaviour changes, and adjustment of technology in our countries. So for us it’s so important the global policy, because these can bring changes at the local level also. But we really think it’s important to have a dialogue. We say, for Indigenous People, it’s a dialogue of knowledge. So that is something that we want to raise in decision.
Marek Soanes [00:18:04]: Thank you, Eileen. Mamadou, could you give us an example of how global climate policy specifically can support locally led adaptation, whether it be in its support of and frameworks for finance, technical assistance or capacity building? So how global climate policy can actually affect the support for locally led adaptation on the ground?
Mamadou Honadia [00:20:56]: Global climate policy can bring many assets, many supports to locally led adaptation. The examples I can provide from my experience is when we negotiated the national adaptation programmes of actions, the global climate policy frameworks has been [inaudible 00:21:20] to assist vulnerable countries, mainly SIDS and LDCs, to cope with climate change. And the process helped us to formulate some guidelines on how we can address with NAPAs. So based on that, all least developed countries have the opportunity to design the national adaptation plan of actions. At this stage, 98% or 99% of LDCs are formulated with NAPAs and among them, around 70% of them have been funded by GEF because within the NAPAs we have been invited, you know, to make a list of priority actions that could help us to cope with climate change, but at the grassroots level. So this is one example of how the global climate policy could promote locally led adaptation.
Marek Soanes [00:22:30]: Thank you, Mamadou. So Joshua, why do you think global climate policy is so important for influencing climate action on the ground, including the representation and engagement with young people?
Joshua Amponsen [00:18:28]: Thanks very much. When I think of global policies and other international level policies are adopted, how it filtered down to local action and particularly engagement of young people, it’s basically the ambition and the hopes of new policies. So when there is a lot of concern, a lot of a sort of anxiety around, particularly when it comes to climate change, and the uncertainty of the future that is ahead of us and why adaptation is very important. When we have policies at international level, that sets very high ambitions, it’s really to get everyone up on their toes to act. And I think that is very, very important when global ambitions are, when global policies are not ambitious enough, then government and of course the decision makers and actors are relying on that to say, I’ve done my fair share of it, I’ve contributed X amount of money, I’ve done, I’ve put X strategies in place as it is demanded by this global policy.
And if those, those policies are very, very ambitious, then a lot of young people can ride on that to also not just advocate for what they think they need, but also what globally has a consensus on to say that, OK, the Paris Agreement calls for X, Y, Z and this is what I’m going to push my local government to do. And as an individual, I’m going to also use this policy to guide my actions. Because not everyone can, not everyone will be on top of the science, on top of the technical details. But when you get global policies adopted and they have been communicated in the most simple way for everyone to know that, OK, for the next five years, for the next ten years, for the next 20 years, this is what we’re going to collectively as a group try to do. It really helps others who are not really on the same page to be able to use those key words and key messages to take action.
The other bit of that is just adaptation in general. I mean adaptation, if you look at adaptation pathways, we need to look at all variety of options we have in, so, in addressing floods, in addressing droughts, addressing heatwaves, cyclones. And when you have all these options, it becomes important that we are able to look at best practices over the years and see how to improve on those, and also then facilitate knowledge as change, which is the main pillar of adaptation. And that becomes essential in global policy because then global policy will rely on what different countries are doing, pull all of that together to be able to draw a path and say that OK, after years of experience in these hazards and these impacts of climate change, it is essential that we prioritise these key, these key efforts. So if you look at these specifically, if you look at the funding gap for adaptation – and at the global level this is a huge topic – this is allowing every young person to be able to say that we need equal amounts of funding coming to adaptation, the same money goes to mitigation, and even in some contexts, we need more money for adaptation than mitigation because mitigation received a lot more funds over the past years.
The global consensus on these other global policy directions could put more sort of ambitions behind what adaptation needs to be prioritised. If I look at previous years, a lot of advocacy from young people have been on mitigation because it came easier because a lot of global conversations were on mitigation, compensation, carbon off-setting, carbon markets. So a lot of the young people were also advocating along these lines, reducing our footprint. But now that there is sort of focus on adaptation and resilience towards a global event like COP, a lot of young people are also sort of getting more information about it and advocating around that. And I see this to be very, very essential in terms of getting the global conversation to set a certain agenda and it’s filtering down to local communities. And every young person being able to leverage on that, to advocate at the local level.
Marek Soanes [00:26:46]: Thank you, Joshua.
Marek Soanes [00:26:54]: Now you touched on the COP, the Conference of the Parties that this year will take place in Glasgow in the United Kingdom in November. And it’s, I guess, one of the key moments to reflect on the ambition that was set by the Paris Agreement. Now, you’ve all mentioned some incredibly important topics of why global climate policy impacts on adaptation on the ground, whether that be providing the strategy to bring people together, setting the right ambition and tone, providing adequate finance both to do what is needed but also to address historical injustices. But also to provide accountability. Briefly, could you touch upon what we would like to see happen? What could global climate policy be doing better to actually impact and support locally led adaptation on the ground? Ayesha, do you want to touch on that?
Ayesha Constable [00:27:46]: Yeah. I suppose that the, the current efforts, though commendable, are not fool-proof, and they certainly have not addressed all the challenges that exist. And they have not supported in every single way, all that needs to be done to ensure the integration of, you know, local level concerns and the concerns of marginalised and vulnerable groups fully. Eileen mentioned the Indigenous People’s platform of the UNFCCC. And there are other mechanisms and clauses that make reference to these considerations in terms of vulnerable peoples and relevant issues concerning these communities. But what we have seen is that, even in those instances where these frameworks are put in place, there are loopholes and there are instances where they don’t get due consideration at the national level.
I’d like to think, and believe that in the case of Antigua and Barbuda, and with the work that the GO is doing, we subscribe wholeheartedly to these principles, but also in wanting to ensure that we don’t just do it in principle but in practice. And so there are different opportunities created for local level input, for engaging stakeholders at every level in every aspect of the decision making. And in some instances we even go beyond the recommendations from these policy frameworks. Bearing in mind our understanding of the local context, and the need to, you know, fully integrate those unique concerns. One of the challenges I find with the current framework, I suppose by the UNFCCC for instance, and with the funding mechanism which is the GCF, is that in many instances, there is such a focus on playing by specific rules in, you know, streamlining the processes and operations through cred-accredited entities in the case of the GCF, which usually must have in place some very strict fiduciary mechanisms so that communities on the ground are unable to tap into these opportunities because they can’t meet those checkboxes.
The NAP, for Antigua and Barbuda, the National Adaptation Plan, which we are currently developing, isn’t in fact funded by the UNFCCC, or rather the GCF, the NAP is funded by the GCF. And what we have sought to do, recognising that it does not effectively allow for local communities and community groups and, you know, these unregistered, unestablished entities to access this funding on their own, is we’re being that bridge, we’re making that link to these communities through our initiatives. And so we’ve created, through the different processes that support the implementation of the NAP, opportunities for different communities to participate in this process, to share their experiences, to, you know, offer their guidance in terms of what the local level issues are. And also to shape the outcomes of the process. So I suppose in kind of summing that up, the main challenge that I would observe in my line of work and from where I sit in this space, is the lack of mechanisms through these global policies to render direct benefits to local communities. And so the challenge then becomes, or the onus is then on entities that do have access to these opportunities and mechanisms, to ensure that we create space and opportunities for these communities to be involved in this process, that we recognise there are issues reporting and there are issues, and create, you know, systems and processes that allow for free and fair participation in all of the work that we’re doing. And hopefully by doing that and over time it sends a message and establishes a principle that can, at another point in time possibly, be adapted by these global frameworks. We don’t want to act as gatekeepers really. We want for there to be systems that allow for that, you know, a shifting of power to these local communities so they can, on their own, effectively participate and, and lead in, in their own right.
Marek Soanes [00:32:34]: Thank you, Ayesha. So, Ayesha’s mentioned, I guess, a real need to address the access challenges that currently exist that are provided by the convention in, in many cases, the Green Climate Fund, which is the world’s largest climate fund. Eileen, you represent civil society organisations, as an active observer on the Green Climate Fund board. What do you think the Green Climate Fund, as the main financial mechanism of the convention and the Paris Agreement, could be doing better to address challenges in supporting locally led adaptation?
Eileen Mairena Cunningham [00:33:09]: The Green Climate Fund can do so much things differently, and do better in so much issues. I think Ayesha, I echo what Ayesha said. The Green Climate Fund is really not a friendly structure, doesn’t have a friendly structure for local communities to have access to funds. And the Green Climate Fund have safeguards in place, have the Indigenous People policy in place, so that’s supposed to be a really robust, policies in place in the Green Climate Fund. But what we see is that it’s still focused on financial and business as usual. Even if they talk about paradigm shift, more participation in the guide, in the principle guidelines of the Green Climate Fund, it says that it should be a very transparent, and very, with equal… how to say, with equal participation at national level of women, youth, Indigenous People and other stakeholders.
But the reality is that Green Climate Fund is still behind all these, um, this process. And in this case I think it’s important that the Green Climate Fund look at the process on a national level, guide the national designate authority to work with other stakeholders because when you go through this international process, your government representatives are always open to talk with you. But when you came back to the countries, you just find closed doors. So it’s important the Green Climate Fund, the secretariat, the board members work in this so that these, these local communities, these Indigenous People that is so difficult for Indigenous People and local communities to follow all these processes, can have a space at national level. I think that is really important. I think, of course, the Green Climate Fund have been doing some baby steps to better some situations but there is still a lot of situations that can be, er, get better inside. That’s why we are working there, that’s why Indigenous People are follow up all of these, the CSOs, organisations, are really active in the process of follow up this. And we think a better GCF can be, can be in place.
Marek Soanes [00:35:49]: Thanks, Eileen. Ayesha, do you want to come back on that?
Ayesha Constable [00:35:51]: Yeah I would. Eileen has made some very good points and I think it’s evident that there are some systemic limitations, you know, in terms of the GCF as a funding mechanism. But the reality is that there are… there is room, rather, for governments to work with, with local communities. It might not be all rightly stipulated in some instances, and in others it is. But it leaves room sometimes for national governments to do as they please, really. To, whether or not they feel inclined to work with local communities or whether or not they believe that working with a local community might slow down the process and they’re hurrying to make submissions to the GCF or another funding entity, and checking off these boxes and doing that due process but inadvertently add more time and take more resources for them to engage. But the reality is, or the recommendation rather, is that we find ways to lobby our governments to make room for local communities and Indigenous communities in the case of Eileen, to ensure that their voices are represented, and not leave it to them to, you know, determine whether or not they want to or feel inclined to work with us in a particular location. Because the fact is that even with the limits in some of these global policies, local governments, national governments, do have it within their remit to take the opportunity and include local communities.
Marek Soanes [00:37:22]: Thanks, Ayesha. Eileen?
Eileen Mairena Cunningham [00:37:24]: I think it’s important this part because the Green Climate Fund have this readiness programme. And Indigenous People have always said that the readiness is not only just to prepare the country to receive funds from the Green Climate Fund. It’s also to prepare local stakeholders, Indigenous People. So it’s important that the government include in this readiness process Indigenous People, women, youth and other stakeholders, local communities. And I think as Ayesha said, the lobby at national level is a really important issue when we talk about Green Climate Fund. I know it’s difficult in some cases, but if you… [laughs] advocacy is difficult always, so it’s a process and can be done in a time. So it’s important this, and I think we have seen in different parts of the globe, that at national level, if you advocate with your, national designate authority, you’re going to have some changes, you’re going to have opportunities to participate in the process. We have seen in Latin America this, Nicaragua by example took part of their readiness to make this dialogue with Indigenous People, with accredited entities, with private sector. I think it was really a good example how the readiness and how things can change in the Green Climate Fund. And this sets really a tone for other dialogues at national level. Now Colombia have a participation of Indigenous People in one of the projects that was approved last November. So I think it’s important also that about the… the national advocacy with the… with your national designated authority. Thank you.
Marek Soanes [00:39:18]: Thank you, Eileen. And over to you, Joshua. You’ve been, as we mentioned, you’ve been supporting youth activism on climate change and engagement in both global and local climate processes, including in Ghana. What, I guess, is your experience of the youth being and children being able to actually, being recognised as an important stakeholder in climate finance processes? Obviously we, we now have at the Green Climate Fund the world’s, one of the world’s largest international NGOs, Save the Children, have been accredited to the Green Climate Fund, which may open up opportunities. But what’s your experiences from your perspective?
Joshua Amponsen [00:39:56]: You know I’ve been listening to the conversation. It’s very interesting on both sides. To start with the question, the first thing that comes to my head is accessibility to whom, and facilitated by whom. There’s always going to be a level of accessibility, institutions are going to restructure to give room for… to ensure that they upgrade it. But we should recognise that when it comes to adaptation, there are structural inequalities and these need to be paid attention to, and sort of support in traditional structures to take care of the needs of groups that have not had the opportunity to tap into resources traditionally, it’s not going to necessarily work.
So on a personal note, from my side and from the metrics I represent and for the majority of young people and yeah, I talk about the… it’s a question of skill. So the fact that there might be opportunities for one entity or two entities at the global level to be able to engage somewhere, it doesn’t cut it, it doesn’t really fix it yet. We need institutions to significantly transform. One example is the Adaptation Fund, I mean, I’ve been engaging with the Adaptation Fund for quite some time now, after the 2019 report on the youth and climate adaptation, the Adapt for our Future report. We started a conversation around climate finance for young people, an innovative financing scheme. What could this look like? So there was a fund which was then launched by Adaptation Fund together with, with CTCN in Copenhagen and with UNDP to make it possible that you could apply to the fund without going through your NDE, your national designated entity. Because it’s not always the case that young people in certain categories or certain groups of people can reach the NDE at a country level, and be able to discuss a project and have the NDE endorse it and go to take it forward to a GCF or the Adaptation Fund.
So we really need to open up the space and to make it possible that groups that face inequalities in, in the accessibility to funding, could have a direct link to help to offer these funds without necessarily having to go through a sort of different levels of governance, the structures by these institutions. It makes it limiting, it makes it much more difficult. And even most importantly, there should be a quota. There should be a quota within GCF, within AF, within all the most lateral funds and the banks to say that, OK, within a year, this is how much of the funds that goes to you, focus that goes to, say, Indigenous Focus, that goes to this. Really acknowledging that there are specific groups that you need to highlight that they need direct access to this money, and you’re putting in conscious effort to make sure that they get the money.
I mean even putting the structural inequality aspect aside, globally currently, I mean, as, as we talk, adaptation finance is not reaching the most vulnerable. Right? If you look at the World Disaster Report, the, the 2020 report, it states very clearly that top-most vulnerable country, 20 countries, are not the ones receiving the highest per person funding when it comes to disasters. So that is even a bigger question than if you want to zoom in, into specific groups that are likely not to have influence in accessibility to these funds, it’s going to become a bit more critical. So, I know that these institutions are really doing their best and putting in effort. It’s just that more could be done. So I agree with Ayesha, more could be done. From my side I think direct access is needed. Supporting Eileen on the aspect of the GCF and sort of the structures, I think these structures need to evolve much faster. It needs to evolve way much faster because the issue at hand is critical, it keeps the speed of the climate impact on societies, it’s way faster than the speed of our institutions at the moment. So this is sort of the speed we need to go in terms of institutions transforming to enhance accessibility to funding by everybody.
Marek Soanes [00:44:05]: Thank you so much, Joshua. So I’m hearing very strong messages from all of you about what needs to change and what needs to happen for the global system to better support climate action on the ground, and locally led adaptation. That it’s about… one of the big issues is accessibility to finance, about supporting more direct access to that finance but also importantly, better democratisation of climate finance, ensuring that youth, Indigenous Peoples and non-state actors alongside public sector institutions can access this finance more directly to actually finance the solutions that they’ve, as Eileen put it, so clearly at the beginning, they’ve being implementing for decades on the ground, longer than decades. So that’s very, very clear.
Marek Soanes [00:44:54]: With a firm eye on COP26 in November that’s coming up, could I, just to wrap up, could I ask you all just to give me… what’s your one big thing you would like to see coming out of COP26 to really make progress on these issues? Ayesha, over to you first.
Ayesha Constable [00:45:09]: I think for us as a small island developing state, I would be completely remiss to not say that it’s raising the profile of adaptation. We see that as a major priority and based on my work in that field, I also recognise that only a small percentage of what has been allocated to adaptation in terms of funding has come to SIDS, and so we want to see that rectified and we want to see the resources allocated for adaptation planning to go to the countries that are most in need. And also, we want to see any opportunity to integrate local led adaptation in that process exploited. Thanks.
Marek Soanes [00:45:50]: Fantastic, thanks, Ayesha. Eileen, what’s your one big thing for COP26?
Eileen Mairena Cunningham [00:45:53]: I think for Indigenous People it’s also important the issues of the real implementation of the platform of local communities and Indigenous People, that is the opportunity that we have to be interlocutors in these global negotiations. But we think here it’s important to have a greater dynamism related to financial access and resource for the operation of these platform of local communities as Indigenous People. And in these issues it’s also important to promote platform at a regional level. We have… we work in Indigenous People issues with seven sociocultural regions, so we think it’s important to have in every one of these regions, a platform that can bring all this knowledge, traditional knowledge of Indigenous People, or knowledge for adaptation, to the natural environment to the UNFCCC.
Marek Soanes [00:46:56]: Fantastic. Mamadou, what kind of outcomes would you be looking for?
Mamadou Honadia [00:47:01]: I know that the UK’s government is trying to set up a task force, a task force on access to climate finance. I really would make a plea to the UK’s government that this initiative should not end with a term of office of UK as COP president. Because adaptation, access to climate finance are very, very key in the UNFCCC processes. So, I would really invite the UK government to accept this challenge to champion adaptation and climate finance beyond this term of office. And certainly through UK, some additional developed countries will join.
Marek Soanes [00:48:01]: And Joshua, the floor is yours for the final big idea for COP26. Really a tough one, but your one big outcome you’d like to see?
Joshua Amponsen [00:48:09]: Thank you. My big one would be increased share of young people as part of the national delegation to COP26. Build on the capacity of young people, making them negotiators, bringing them to COP and allowing them to put their needs and their priorities forward at international decision making table. That’s it.
Marek Soanes [00:48:33]: Fantastic, Joshua. So I’m hearing really big, again, let’s see if these outcomes come, but it’s youth engagement in these international climate negotiations. It’s these regional dialogues that are feeding into the UNFCCC representing the voices of Indigenous Peoples. And it’s getting the allocation of climate adaptation finance much better aligned with the real vulnerabilities on the ground, particularly the small island developing states and the least developed countries. And ensuring the locally led adaptation principles are integrated into these agendas. That’s fantastic. Thank you, it’s been an absolute pleasure to talk to you on these issues.