What’s new for GCCA+: latest annual action plans aim to increase resilience, reduce emissions and restore ecosystems

Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cuba, Haiti, Mali, Namibia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Rwanda, Timor Leste, will benefit from new GCCA+ programmes

Tackling the impacts of air conditioning systems, rehabilitating degraded mangrove swamps and improving the resilience of subsistence farmers are just some of the raft of new action plans recently announced by the EU’s flagship climate change initiative GCCA+.

Improving the resilience of subsistence farmers is one of the raft of new action plans

The €58.5 million contribution for GCCA+ in 2019 will benefit countries across Africa, the Caribbean and the Asia-Pacific region as part of the EU’s commitment to helping developing nations and small island states both reduce their carbon footprint and adapt to the worst consequences of climate change.

Among the countries selected is Suriname, which is already benefitting from a climate smart agriculture project, and which will now get help restoring mangrove forests to increase the resilience of coastal communities in Nickerie and Coronie Districts against the threat of sea level rise.

“There are reports of declines in fish stocks and salt water intrusion in areas where mangroves have suffered damage from both human and natural causes,” says Haidy Malone-Lepelblad, GCCA+ Project Manager for the UNDP in Suriname. “It negatively impacts crop production and threatens residential, industrial and public infrastructure.”

The Annual Action Programme (AAP) for Environment and Climate Change, recently signed into effect, sets out four priorities:

  • climate change adaptation and mitigation and support to the transition to climate resilient, low-carbon societies;

  • valuation, protection, enhancement and sustainable management of ecosystems;

  •  transformation towards an inclusive green economy and mainstreaming of environmental sustainability, climate change and disaster risk reduction;

  • international environmental and climate governance.

“The AAP is really encouraging - we will combine more research into the dynamics of the coast with increased local knowledge and awareness to sustain the ecology of selected areas. With investments in the development of the tourism sector and adaptive and complementary livelihoods, the local population will experience an increase in social and economic benefits and ultimately upgrade their resilience to climate change,” says Haidy.

Meanwhile in Africa, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali and Cameroon will benefit from a €5.3 million project to find low-carbon solutions to an age-old challenge: how to keep cool. Temperatures in the Sahel - the semi-arid area which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea - regularly top 50 degrees celsius in the hottest months. In a region where very few people have access to clean energy, polluting and inefficient diesel generators are increasingly used in cities to power air conditioning units, which are projected to rise to more than 1.2 billion households across Africa by 2040.

The GCCA+ multi-country programme on sustainable cooling solutions aims to reduce the climate impact of the cooling sector and “lay the groundwork for an uptake of green, low carbon technologies to replace the use of old and inefficient appliances, and strengthens the capacities to introduce sustainable cold chains.”

As the action document notes, there will be additional benefits “in the area of public health by replacing old diesel generators with clean energy supplies such as solar based solutions. Highly ineffective and polluting generators are still often used in rural areas that do not have access to the national power grid or even if connected cannot rely on current infrastructure for their electricity supply. Power outages are still quite common; therefore, farmers use diesel generators for the cooling storage.”

Rwanda’s efforts to reduce the damaging impacts of burning charcoal and wood for cooking gets a further boost, with a two-pronged approach which will both promote the use of efficient cooking stoves while tackling the fuel supply side by encouraging cooking with energy from sustainable sources. The project will build on existing initiatives to “increase the use of improved clean cooking by Rwandas population and reduce biomass consumption for cooking purposes.”

Improving women’s economic status is one of the goals of the AAP for Timor Leste, which will enhance the climate resilience of subsistence farmers, encourage reforestation by women’s groups and establish “an internationally credible, transparent, sustainable and participative carbon capture/sequestration rewarding system.” Women in Timor Leste have been particularly badly hit by climate change and extreme weather events in recent years, and tend to be disproportionately affected.

Other countries to benefit from the AAP are Cuba, Haiti, Chad, Namibia and Sri Lanka. We will be following developments and featuring stories from all GCCA+ countries in 2020 - so be sure to check on progress here!

LINKS:

Annual Action Programme 2019 for Environment and Climate Change

EU Delegation to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago