CSOs call for renewed political will on climate change interventions

THE Tanzania Traditional Energy Development Organization (TaTEDO) has said that there is a need for renewed political will on climate change based on the Paris Agreement (PA) resolutions, commitment and greater engagement with the government and regional bodies.

TaTEDO’s Executive Director Estomih Sawe said with renewed political will, it will help to achieve effective implementation of the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and the associated low emission development strategies (LEDSs) He was speaking at a meeting on promoting implementation of the PA in East Africa with a focus on pro-poor low emission development in Dar es Salaam recently.
He said that experience has shown that, barriers to enhancing LEDSs for the poor may not necessarily be technological, but inadequate political will and investment in pro-poor low emission solutions. He said the objective of the newly adopted agreement on climate change is to limit the rise of global temperature - during this century to below 2 degrees Celsius and to further drive efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The Paris Agreement documents the international community’s commitment to global transformation towards a climate friendly economy, but it also contains comprehensive stipulations on adapting to climate change, dealing with loss and damage caused by the consequences of global warming, and financial commitments and other offers by the developed countries. “The challenge before us now is to understand the Paris Agreement and its useful content and translate this into concrete actions by all the parties to convention, in the country and East Africa,” he said. The current project on promoting the implementation of the Paris Agreement in East Africa with focus on pro-poor low emission development strategies aims at contributing to the understanding of the Paris Agreement and promotes its implementation. “In line with the project objectives and current efforts of the government and the EAC, we as the CSOs, would like to contribute efforts in the process of the formulation, implementation and review of the NDCs and LEDSs based on the pro-poor, gender responsive policies, strategies and programmes,” he added. He said the efforts to succeed will indeed require greater collaborative actions with increased financing, enhanced capacities and greater participation of the key stakeholders including CSOs at the national, regional and international levels. Program Manager for Climate Change and Energy, Mary Swai, explained that the PA requires all parties to communicate their ambitious efforts through NDCs and to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead. Furthermore, parties are required to develop longer-term strategies. She said developed countries are required to provide financial resources to assist developing countries with respect to both mitigation and adaptation. ”Currently more than 70 percent of all natural disasters in Tanzania are climate change related and are linked to recurrent droughts and floods,” she said.
The CSOs recommend that the NDCs are one of the cornerstones of international climate policies as they include the targets and measures that each country commits to with the Paris Agreement. The implementation of the Paris Agreement is essential for the achievement of the SDGs, and provides a roadmap for climate actions that will reduce emissions and build climate resilience. She further added that the effective NDCs and LEDSs should lead to a transformation in carbon-intensive sectors and industry; She said the process should be transparent and inclusive so that stakeholders can track progress and ensure countries meet their stated targets and the sustainable development goals. It should also consider small scale adaptation and mitigation solutions which are effective and efficient to help lift the most vulnerable out of poverty. Contributing to the PA, the civil society organizations called on developed countries and international organizations in-charge of the climate funding including green climate fund and adaptation fund to soften conditions of accessing the funds so they could effectively and efficiently participate to promote the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The funds are within the framework of the UNFCCC founded as a mechanism to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate agreed at the PA. However, experience has shown that accessing the funds is an uphill task due to tough conditions. Program officer for Climate Action Network Tanzania, Msololo Onditi said that many CSOs will fail to access the funds, as a result, the financial constrains will hinder the on-going promotion of the PA implementation especially to CSOs which represent the poor. Commenting on the level of awareness among the general public, he said the PA is meant to engage almost all sectors but stakeholders are not aware. Citing an example, Onditi said it is possible that the agreement is not clear even to local government officials at regional and district level, such ignorance will be a challenge for them to implement the agreement effectively and efficiently. Awareness raising among the civil societies, local communities and the general public in key sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and forestry is crucial. Low priority and poor dissemination of relevant policies, strategies, and plans to the local communities were also cited as obstacles. “I would like to advice the central government to decentralize these international agreements and policies and raise awareness among the general public for enhanced implementation. Collective and common understanding of the PA will help in the implementation across levels and sectors,” he said. Explaining the importance of coordination within the East African countries, communication officer for Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) Bettie Luwuge said there reports indicate that all East African countries have signed the Paris Agreement and are at different stages of ratification. The PA aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of SD and efforts to eradicate poverty. It gives hope for meeting climate change challenges and limit global warming below 20C. This calls for strategic attention from the key sector ministries that are main contributors of GHG emissions and are highly affected by the impacts of climate change. Such sectors include agriculture, forestry, energy, infrastructure and transport. While dealing with critical issues affecting our environment, an integrated approach towards implementation of the Paris Agreement is necessary at country level in order to tap available opportunities and potential All national initiatives related to climate change adaptation and mitigation should be aligned strategically to the sector ministries policies and implementation structures. She said sector ministries should be held accountable by the respective ministry to show how they contribute to addressing effects of climate change starting from their respective budgets to implementation strategies. “If sector ministries work in solos to address climate change and environmental issues, we see little impact achieved using millions of dollars,” she said. Assistant program officer for ForumCC, Jonathan Sawaya said so far what CSOs have been observing is that; the world is moving from negotiation mood to implementation of the PA. So, there is a need for the stakeholders to understand the PA and to make sure local communities are at the centre of the PA, especially the poor. Commenting on access to Green Climate Fund (GCF) he said, it seems the Tanzanian institutions do not have that capacity to access the GCF as the national implementing entity (NIE). Sawaya advised that the moment there is a need to work with accredited multilateral institutions such as UNDP, FAO, IUCN, etc. while efforts are being made at national level to have direct access to the funds. “Civil society organizations must keep eye open and make follow-ups on what is going on so that they don’t miss the opportunity,” he said. Promoting Implementation of the Paris Agreement (PIPA) in East Africa with a focus on pro-poor low emission development is a project implemented in three East African countries including Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. The development objective of the project is to contribute to strengthening the pro-poor focus and climate change ambitions in the implementation of the Paris Agreement in East Africa.