Ensuring an equitable approach to implementing the Paris Agreement will be central to achieving the most effective climate action. This will require finance commitments which prioritise the adaptation needs of the poorest and most vulnerable communities facing the greatest climate impacts, and implementation plans which use the principles of Technology Justice in technology applications.
COP22 Marrakech 7-18 November
Loss and damage
Achieving climate justice requires commitments from all stakeholders to both recognised, agree upon, and take action to address climate-related losses and damages, which are often faced by those least responsible for the causes of climate change. Loss and damage must be treated as a separate, complementary component to adaptation and mitigation efforts. The implementation of the Paris agreement must offer affected people the finance, technology, and capacity to give them a viable future.
In all areas of implementation, the application of climate technologies is crucial. But technologies are not neutral in their impacts on the environment nor people. We must ensure that not only are a range of stakeholders involved in assessing and planning the technology options available to achieve the aims of the Paris Agreement, but also that the technology needs of the poor are central to implementation planning. Adopting a 'precautionary principle' to climate technology development is vital for ensuring that risks are not exacerbated by technologies which aim to tackle the symptoms, rather than the causes, of climate change.
This means that decentralised energy systems are prioritised over grid-based systems, so that energy-poor communities can access clean energy technologies which are faster, more affordable and more environmentally friendly than grid-centric solutions, and also build resilience to rapidly bounce back from climate-induced shocks. It also means that agricultural systems must focus on sustainable practices, which support resource-poor smallholder farmers to boost productivity and incomes, build resilience to slow-onset impacts and climate-induced shocks, and minimise the emissions from the sector.
Ensuring that 'soft' technologies and technical knowledge are also considered in climate policies is fundamental for successful and sustainable project delivery and resilience-building. Without the necessary knowledge, skills and capacities to install, manage, maintain, and upgrade technologies, the climate, resilience and development benefits will be severely limited.
Focusing on co-benefits and policy coherence
While mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage, are all distinct aspects of implementing the Paris Agreement, there is a need to prioritise measures which can achieve the greatest return on investment in meeting the needs of the poor and in abating greenhouse gas emissions. The focus should be on measures which can achieve co-benefits across these three aspects, as well as other co-benefits relevant to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Aligning the technology components of the myriad climate policy planning processes - NAPs, NAMAs, NDCs, TNAs, TAPs - can help to achieve policy coherence for efficient and effective implementation. Integrated approaches which focus on the application of technical knowledge can support coherent climate action. In Peru, Practical Action have worked with smallholder coffee farmers to implement sustainable agroforestry practices to improve coffee production, and reduce deforestation. This not only supports farmers to contribute to Peru's emissions reduction targets, but also empowers them to better adapt to the climatic and environmental chances they are facing as a consequence of global warming.
In reaching the target of $100bn in climate financing, global donors must ensure that there is an appropriate balance of different forms of financing available for the range of adaptation and mitigation activities necessary to achieve the Paris Agreement goals. While loans may be vital forms of funding for mitigation and energy efficiency activities, they are rarely appropriate for adaptation needs, particularly those of the poorest and most vulnerable communities, where cost recovery times are also likely to be significantly longer. Grant funding should be prioritised for the 50% climate finance targeted at adaptation measures.