Oct 142020
 

This article was  first published on Climate Analytics website on 19 May 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic adds yet another shock to the multiple challenges that more than a billion people living in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) already face in day-to-day life. It is much more than a health crisis. It has the potential to create devastating health, social, economic and environmental crises that will leave a deep, long-lasting mark. However, it is an opportunity to adopt and implement sustainable solutions during the recovery process, also for LDCs, without losing sight of the climate crisis.

Solar panels on a farm in Rwanda. ©Water for Food, CC BY-NC 2.0

More in the series of blogs on coronavirus pandemic impacts on climate-vulnerable countries:

Facing Covid and climate Pacific island capacity stretched by Paddy Pringle
Coronavirus underscores small islands climate vulnerability by Adelle Thomas

A worsening situation

The coronavirus crisis has affected work, business travel and lifestyles around the world and has exacted an unprecedented human toll as underprepared health systems struggle to cope and workers in lockdown lose their livelihoods. However, the insufficient infrastructure and fragile health systems make the situation in LDCs even more difficult.

According to the World Health Organization, maternal mortality rates in LDCs remain around double that of the global average. An estimated 47% of deaths in LDCs overall are caused by communicable, maternal, perinatal, and nutritional conditions, compared to 22% globally. In terms of emergency preparedness, the WHO confirms that 44 LDCs experienced a health emergency or outbreak between January 2015 and October 2016.  These were due to natural disasters in 26 countries, conflict or humanitarian crises in 16 countries and disease outbreaks or epidemics in 40 countries.

Health systems in LDCs are currently unable to cope with the rapid increase in new cases of COVID, and these countries lack the resources to cope with the socio-economic consequences of lockdown, the only practical solution until a vaccine is available.<

As the coronavirus pandemic has hit major sources of revenue, many LDCs – already economically weak – are struggling to balance their books and to allot resources to fight the health crisis on top of other challenges.

COVID-19 adds on to climate change impacts

For many LDCs, COVID-19 and climate change have conspired to make their situation even more difficult. Even during the pandemic, climate change continues to threaten the health and safety of people in the LDCs. Continue reading »

 Posted by on October 14, 2020 at 11:18 am
May 012019
 

This article is co-authored with Tenzin Wangmo, LDC Lead Negotiator from Bhutan, and was  first published on LDC Group official website on 12 April 2019.

Rules alone will not get us anywhere; we need urgent and more ambitious climate action

2019 will be a critical year for carrying forward the momentum on climate action generated last year through COP24, the Talanoa Dialogue and the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C(1.5°C Special Report). Although COP24 delivered on most of the core elements of the Paris rulebook, the rulebook is just one element for achieving the Paris Agreement’s 1.5oC long-term temperature goal and other long-term goals. Without urgent and more ambitious action, even robust rules will not get us anywhere. Therefore, it is important that countries around the world embrace 2019 as a year of ambition and action, taking us towards climate resilient and 1.5°C pathways consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Katowice package for implementing the Paris Agreement

The chief task of COP24 was to agree on the guidelines for implementing and accounting for climate action and support within the framework of the Paris Agreement. The package of rules adopted in Katowice – the result of three years of development and negotiations culminating at COP24 – received a mixed response. Some commentators expressed doubt as to whether the outcome would lead to a scaling-up of climate action, and finance needed for developing countries. However, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) believe that at its core, the COP24 outcome, despite some deficiencies and unfinished business, was still a landmark success in bringing the Paris Agreement to life. Now it’s time to act. Continue reading »

 Posted by on May 1, 2019 at 4:37 pm
Mar 042018
 

By Gebru Jember (Chair of the LDC Group) and Manjeet Dhakal

2018 is a crucial year in the climate negotiations. COP23 in Bonn was able to draw the sketch of the Road to Katowice, and now it is important that negotiators get to work to ensure that the journey in the coming months is successfully completed.

In November 2017, the LDC Group with members comprising 47 countries spread across Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean attended the ‘First Island COP’, held under a Fiji Presidency at the seat of the UNFCCC Secretariat. With the mandate to develop and finalise the rules of the Paris Agreement by the end of 2018, the determination shown by governments in Bonn to make substantive progress on the work remaining was very positive. However, there are many areas of the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP), tasked with developing different parts of the rules, which are still seriously lagging behind schedule.

With much work therefore still to be done to finalise the rules by the end of this year, the LDC group will also be reminding other negotiating groups in the lead up to COP24 not to lose sight of the big picture – that all these efforts should ultimately lead to ramping up the next round of emission reduction pledges to put the world on a pathway to limit warming to 1.5°C.  Continue reading »

Dec 282016
 

Lead envoy of Least Developed Countries bloc and chief advisor assess whether the COP22 talks last month offer hope dangerous warming will be stopped

(Pic: UNFCCC/Flickr)

(Pic: UNFCCC/Flickr)

By Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu and Manjeet Dhakal

The Paris Agreement entering into force in record time, just eleven months after its adoption, framed the Marrakech Climate Conference.

Resource-constrained and vulnerable countries like ours – the least developed countries – do not have the luxury of time to continue negotiations and implementation at a slow pace.

Climate change related events are already causing loss of life and property, with accelerating impacts at home, affecting our fellow delegates between each subsequent round of climate talks.

We looked to Marrakech to give implementation momentum and to ensure that global businesses and political leaders remain engaged and willing to contribute in the fight against climate change and to fully implement the Paris Agreement.

The climate talks made progress on several issues important to the least developed countries (LDCs).

Continue reading »

Apr 092013
 

This article was published on The Republica (9 April, 2013) 

A number of western news wires and climate pundits seem to be euphoric over the ‘declaration’ of some of the poorest countries to cut emissions of Green House Gases to tackle runaway climate change. We will soon know whether the group of least developed countries (LDCs) actually made the commitment, and if it is worth such a wide coverage, but let us first examine whether such a move from the LDCs will have any significance.

Scientific evidences suggest that the world is on the path to becoming 4 °C warmer within this century. It has already been verified that warming above 1.5 °C will cause serious threats to the development and even survival of communities in the most underprivileged parts of the world. A recent report by World Bank said, “A world in which warming reaches 4°C above preindustrial levels would be one of unprecedented heat waves, severe drought, and major floods in many regions, with serious impacts on human systems, ecosystems, and associated services.” But developed countries, which are primarily responsible for, and have the ability to avert, this catastrophe, remain nonchalant.

Twenty plus years have passed since negotiations started among the countries under United Nations to find ways to keep the temperatures rise under safe limits so as to stabilize the climate. In recent years, with countries like China, Brazil, South Africa and India catching up with the United States and European countries not only in economic development but also in Green House Gas emission, a debate over who should take the lead in reducing emissions has been started. The negotiating parties are at loggerheads, with developed countries unwilling to take actions without emerging economies agreeing to binding emission cuts, while emerging economies cite the historical responsibility of developed countries. Forced to remain in the sidelines, LDCs and small island developing states (SIDS) urged developing nations to take note of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) acknowledged in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The 49 LDCs representing 12 percent of the world’s population are responsible for only four percent of global emissions, but are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Continue reading »

Sep 232012
 

This article was published on Climate Action Network Int’l Voice Blog 

Bangkok CC Conference (photo: ENB, IISD)

It has been nearly three years since I started following the climate change negotiations. I first attended the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) intersessional meeting in Barcelona organized just before Fifteenth Conference of Parties (COP15), a well-known Copenhagen climate summit. After that, I got selected as a Southern Capacity Building Fellow of CAN International for two years (2010 and 2011). Southern Capacity Building Program is more about strengthening capacity of civil society members from developing countries on climate change negotiation. I attended every COP and intersessions during 2010 and 2011 as a fellow.

After having some experience at the grassroots level and this short engagement in the UNFCCC process, I find it very challenging to link the expectations of communities with the progress of ongoing negotiations. Last week, after attending the Bangkok intersession, I faced a similar situation- having to update the communities within my country about the current state of negotiation. The Bangkok intersession was about exchanging of ideas on key issues to build on Durban decisions and finding ways to bring one of the Ad-hoc working groups to conclusion. This is not easy to convey to the grassroots people, who were waiting for action, not discussion.

Furthermore, the Bangkok session focused on how to raise ambition and strengthen international cooperation while finding ways to frame the Ad-hoc Working Group on Durban Platform (ADP) to deal with what will be implemented by 2020. Similarly, Ad-hoc Working Group-Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and Ad-hoc Working Group – Long Term Action (LCA) were focused on fulfilling specific mandates from COP 17 and to resolve outstanding issues to ensure the successful completion of the group’s work in COP18. In reality, this makes little sense to the communities. Continue reading »

Jul 312012
 

This article was published on MYREPUBLICA (31 July, 2012)

In a bid to promote clean technology in the country, Nepal has more than 700 electric vehicles (Safa tempos) running in the valley—a commendable effort to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels. Safa tempos are best driven for short distances and at relatively slow speeds, all of which suits the natural topography of Kathmandu valley. These green machines, which are mostly operated by women drivers, hold a lot of potential for the country’s economy and can tap Nepal’s massive hydropower potential to create a regional energy grid that contributes significantly in reducing GHG emission in the region.

The Trolley Bus Service
The interurban line (Trolley Bus Service) that connects Kathmandu to the satellite towns ceased its operation around November 2008. Established in 1975 and managed by the Nepal Trolley Bus Service (NTBS) of Nepal Transportation Corporation (NTC), the system functioned well in its early stages. At that time, this was one of the cheapest and most desirable modes of transport in the valley. With the change in political set up in the country in the 1990s, the management of the trolley bus service encountered hostile government bureaucracy and the organization’s overstaffing resulted in huge losses for NTBS. The revenue collected from fares was not enough to pay even the electricity bills or staff salaries. Currently, its office compound at Baneshwar is occupied by another implausible project, the Melamchi Water Supply. A part of its space is managed as battery charging station for Safa tempos, where they get uninterrupted electric supply even during load shedding.

THE BIRTH OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES
The advent of Safa Tempo’s in Kathmandu has replaced the notoriously environment unfriendly Vikram tempos that run on diesel. The development and promotion of Safa tempos in Nepal was initially supported through international projects. This later developed into a bigger EV industry with over 700 Safa tempos operating in more than 13 routes in Kathmandu. The journey was not as simple for other electric vehicles. When the first REVA car arrived in February 2001, it was bunged at the customs office for several months due to customs duty and additional special taxes. There are other similar stories for four and two wheeler electric vehicles that faced enormous challenges at all stages of import, registration and deployment to road and users.
Today, there are more than 700 three wheeler, approximately 1500 two wheeler and few four wheeler electric vehicles on our roads.

The prevailing law does not recognize a two wheeler as a Continue reading »