Ensuring an equitable and holistic approach to implementing the Paris Agreement will be central to driving effective climate action. This will require finance commitments which prioritise the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable communities facing the greatest climate impacts, and implementation plans that adhere to the principles of Technology Justice.

COP23 Bonn 6-17 November

Man stands in rubble after Nepal earthquakeLoss and damage

Achieving climate justice requires commitments from all stakeholders 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 support of this, Practical Action is a member of the Climate Action Network and works with them as an NGO Observer to the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIMExCom) to incorporate practical guidelines on responding to loss and damage under the Paris Agreement; particularly securing adequate financing to respond to the growing loss and damage being experienced by the poorest and most climate vulnerable.

Adaptation

There remain challenges around adaptation; particularly in universal clarity around what constitutes adaptation, how it can be articulated and which national agencies are responsible for leading adaptive actions. This creates problems in adaptation coordination, planning and prioritisation. In Nepal, as part of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP), Practical Action is supporting a coordinated and holistic approach to the NAP, convening dialogues across 7 key ministries and linking existing work on local adaptation action plans up to the national scale.

Technology matters

Climate technology is a crucial, but often overlooked, component of the Means of Implementation (MOI) of the Paris Agreement; it is central to understanding, communicating and responding to climate risk.

However, technologies are not neutral in their impacts on the environment or people. We must ensure that a range of stakeholders is involved in planning for climate action, and that we employ climate justice principles to ensure the technology needs of the poor are central to implementation planning. These populations often have the lowest capacity to adapt despite their contributing least to the problem. Adopting a 'precautionary principle' to climate technology development is also vital for ensuring that risks are not exacerbated by technologies which aim to tackle the symptoms, rather than the causes, of climate change. Appropriate and just use of technology is thus central to the effective delivery of the Paris Agreement for mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage.

What does this mean in practice?

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. Decentralised energy systems can also support local economic development which helps communities to build resilience to rapidly bounce back from climate-induced shocks and stresses.

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, while minimizing the emissions from the sector. Getting agriculture right for global nutrition, food and livelihood security in a way that doesn’t exacerbate the climate change problem is a key challenge central to the success of the Paris Agreement.

A woman pushes coffee beans into a sack, in PeruTo this end, Practical Action in Peru has 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 challenges they are facing as a consequence of global warming.

The establishment of an initiative for loss and damage finance with a two year work plan identifying sources of revenue adequate to the scale of the problem in a predictable and fair way. This must look beyond existing climate finance and should explore innovative sources based on the polluter pays principle.

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. Recognising the transformational impact of appropriate technology for the poorest and most at climate risk, Practical Action has announced a call for Technology Justice

Appropriate finance

Without appropriate climate finance, climate action in most of the adversely affected countries is impossible; mobilisation of the $100bn Roadmap therefore needs to be urgently accelerated to deliver the means to achieve impact in vulnerable communities. Conservative estimates indicate that globally, $300bn is spent each year on fossil fuels subsidies, wouldn’t this money be better spent on climate action?

Family wading through water after floodingIn reaching the collective goal 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. However, current estimates suggest that financing for adaptation action is still skewed towards mitigation. Moreover, the vast majority of mitigation financing is received by middle income countries (MICs), not the least development countries (LDCs). Practical Action asks: is this the best use of limited climate finance?

Practical Action is an active partner in the UK Carbon Levy Group, calling for a polluter’s tax on the fossil fuel industry to pay for the damage they have caused and for vulnerable countries worst affected to receive the financial assistance they so urgently need. This ‘Carbon Damages Tax’ would generate additional resources that are urgently needed, in a way that is supplementary to existing climate finance streams.

Key COP23 publications

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10 things to know: Gender equality and achieving climate goals

This report draws out the headline messages of a research project by Practical Action Consulting (PAC) with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), commissioned by CDKN, to investigate the...

 
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Climate Smart Agriculture and Smallholder Farmers

The critical role of Technology Justice in effective adaptation. Agricultural adaptation to climate change is critical for food security and economic development; if it is to be...

 
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Coffee Agroforestry: Transforming a vital agricultural sector for a conservation and development ‘win-win’ in Peru

The objective of this paper is to promote collaboration in policy and planning between business-oriented agriculturalists, conservation-oriented foresters, and climate change-oriented...

 
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From Risk to Resilience: A systems approach to building long-term, adaptive wellbeing for the most vulnerable

This policy brief updates Practical Action's thinking and approach to building resilience for the most vulnerable - From Vulnerability to Resilience (V2R). Using the experiences gained from the...

 
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Making Climate Change Mitigation More Meaningful

The global energy system is the single largest contributor to climate change, and reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from energy is of paramount global importance to avoid...

 
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