Q&A: Haiti aims for 31% CO2 emission reduction by 2030

In the sixth of our interviews with representatives from the Least Developed Country Group ahead of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) talks in Paris (COP21), Fanfan Jordan, director of the Ministry of Environment's climate change programme talks about Haiti's climate plan and loss and damage.

Fanfan JordanHaiti is the world's fourth most vulnerable country to the effects of climate change, and the only member of the Least Developed Country (LDC) Group in the American hemisphere. It is also classed as a Small Island Developing State.  

In 2000, Haiti's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions accounted for only 0.03 per cent of all global emissions. Within the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, Haiti is participating in the global effort to reduce emissions to reach the targets of limiting global warming to below two degrees. It has submitted an Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) plan, which sets out a 31 per cent reduction in its emissions.

Haiti estimates the overall budget for implementing these plans at US$25.387 billion, of which $16,614 billion is for adaptation and $8.773 billion is for mitigation. 

Haitian journalist Jean Pharès Jerome (JJ) talked to Fanfan Jordan (FJ), director of the climate change programme at the Ministry of Environment about Haiti#s situation.

JJ: Tell us about Haiti's INDC. Was it mandatory?

FJ: Any country that wants to get involved in curbing climate change must make its contribution, as it is a global cause, which threatens life of humanity. Producing the INDC testifies the commitment of these countries to help in the climate change fight.

JJ: On financing, the Global Environment Facility (GEF)-managed LDC Adaptation Fund is currently empty. What do you expect from the Paris Agreement on adaptation? 

FJ: Haiti's National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA), which is a tool to express the priorities of countries in terms of adaptation to climate hazards, is indeed funded contrary to what you have said. Haiti has received funding that did not come directly from the Adaptation Fund but from the Least Developed Country Fund (LDCF).

The first project is capacity building in Haiti's coastal communities under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which has $3 million and the other is a capacity building project to increase resilience in agriculture under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organization in the southeast of the country.

The National Adaptation Programme of Action is funded even if it is not up to what it should be. 

JJ: What are the key priorities for Haiti?

FJ: In Haiti we have 10 priorities including food security, community resilience in coastal areas, the fight against the destruction of biodiversity, environmental degradation.

JJ: What about loss and damage? Is it an important issue for your country? Can you give examples of situations where loss and damage occurs? 

FJ: In terms of losses, there's considerable damage both from territory loss, which is mainly the loss of arable land which will impact on food security. We must also take into account losses in biodiversity. These issues threaten the industrial and tourism development process in areas where this damage is observed.

In Haiti, we face the problems of marine environment warming and coastal erosion that are destroying the beaches and coral reefs which are a source for fish breeding in some areas of the country such Camp Louise, Saint-Marc, Grande Saline and Coridon. 

JJ: How will Haiti estimate the cost of its losses and damage? If a loss and damage mechanism is included in the agreement, do you think it will be funded?

FJ: For the moment no estimate of these losses has been made, but many meetings are already organised. I want to talk about the one I attended in Japan to train people on the methodology that has been developed. We intend to organise other workshops next year to make more people aware of this evaluation mechanism.

For funding, I am optimistic that once this has been introduced in the agreement, it will be funded, although some developed countries do not want to compensate the least developed countries. That is why some experts from developed countries prefer to speak of international solidarity to help countries that are victims of global warming instead of speaking of damage, which implies legal action and compensation.

JJ: What are the hopes and expectations of finance for LDCs through the UNFCCC finance mechanism? What has been your country's experience with the GEF-managed Least Developed Countries Fund? What about private funds?

FJ: Developed countries have made significant efforts to help least developed countries even if this is insufficient to meet their needs.. They made commitments in 2011 to provide the fund with US$20 billion per year. Funding is available but it's up to each country to put in place the mechanism locally to attract theses funds.

A riverbank management site in Chantal, Haiti, where the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) helped construct walls to protect communities from hurricane impacts (Photo: UNDP, Creative Commons via Flickr)

We wish to receive funding from the Green Climate fund (GCF). We are currently implementing two projects which are NAPA funded by the GEF. The private sector could have lot of opportunities. They can make their contribution through technology transfer in for projects. They can receive both loans and grants from the Green Climate Fund, which can be used to help business to create enterprises that comply with actions taken to fight against climate change. 

JJ: What about the Haitian private sector? 

FJ: In the case of Haiti, we will launch a forum and the private sector will take part to find out about how they can contribute in the fight against climate change by implementing sustainable projects.

JJ: Haiti, through its INDC, has requested US$26 billion to support its effort in the fight against climate change by 2030. How was this amount calculated?

FJ: We have estimated that Haiti needs $26 billion to reach its goal in this struggle against global warming. We are seeking to reconcile our development needs taking into account global warming challenges. This is an estimate for 15 years. If we don't do it today, you can imagine the damage for the next generation. It is a reasonable estimate that will allow the country to go forward and live in a safer environment. 

JJ: The INDCs submitted so far suggest the world is on track for 2.7 degrees of global warming while the convention sets a goal of two degrees. What can LDCs do to raise the ambition of emitting countries?

FJ: Given the desire for development in least developed countries (LDCs), actors want to encourage these countries to design projects that take into account preservation and protection of the environment. Development of these countries is not the main issue but this should be done according to commitments made by each country.