COP21 must deliver an agreement which is centred around human rights, gender equality and a just transition for developing countries. The threat of devastating climate change should global temperatures rise more than 2°C would undermine all other efforts to eradicate poverty and ensure a safe and productive world for this and future generations. Practical Action recognises that tackling climate change is indivisible from tackling poverty.
The crucial role of Technology Justice
A human rights centred agreement offers a holistic approach that makes the connections between the economic, social, cultural, ecological and political dimensions, and links what is being done to tackle climate change with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Action on Disaster Risk Reduction.
The role of technology in delivering the necessary mitigation and adaptation outcomes is well recognised. But technology cannot be a panacea for climate issues. The COP21 agreement must ensure that technological transitions are based on issues of justice for the billions of people globally faced by the threat of climate change.
Poor and vulnerable people need to benefit from technological change. Not as mere recipients but as equal partners in its design, development, and implementation. Technology innovation needs to respond to the very real challenges of today. Technology Justice can enable communities to make the transformational change required where adaptation is too late.
Loss and Damage
The climate agreement must offer people the finance, technology, and capacity to give them a viable future. COP19, the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) on Loss and Damage confirmed a global responsibility to support the victims of irreversible climate change.
In December 2015 the ‘Paris Protocol’ needs to respond to this underlying injustice, and lead to measures to secure a viable future for those for whom adaptation is no longer possible, where action on mitigation was too little, too late. Clauses on Loss and Damage must not be subsumed within measures for adaptation financing.
- Smallholder farmers should not be bypassed by climate and development policy and practice in favour of large scale and new technology interventions. It is possible to improve the productivity and resilience of smallholder farmers using agroecological principles building on the assets and knowledge they already have. This is vital for successful adaptation and mitigation, especially in the developing world.
- As the concept of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) is being used to deliver climate policy and practice, there is increasing need to ensure interventions are indeed ‘smart’. Technology Justice provides a lens for assessing this, especially in developing countries where interventions need to be accessible, innovative and sustainable.
- Smallholders in developing countries should be the priority for adaptation funding which should be used to build their capacity, not deliver short-term technology fixes.
- Loss & Damage must be central to the agreement to ensure it is equitable and just. There must be a clearly identified institutional home for Loss and Damage, and it must be adequately financed.
- There is a need to shift the debate away from business as usual hard infrastructural responses, to look at appropriate development solutions, focused on community priorities through participatory planning, to effectively prevent natural hazards turning into human disasters.
- Building resilience reduces background risk, promotes future fit and avoids loss and damage costs when disaster strikes.
- If the global energy access agenda is not more robustly paired with the climate agenda, the energy poor will remain what they have always been: left behind
- The Paris agreement must facilitate actors to urgently ramp up broad-based capacity building on decentralized approaches to energy service provision amongst practitioners, policymakers and the finance community
- There is a clear need for greater technology cooperation, especially joint R&D to develop the decentralised energy technology and infrastructure of the future.