The scale of the climate challenges we face today and in the future is clear. The adverse effects of climate change are already being felt around the world and pose a great threat to our planet and its people. Moreover, they could undermine both the development gains made over many decades and the prospects for achieving the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
The Paris Agreement on climate change – the landmark global agreement adopted by almost 200 countries in 2015 – sets out an action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change. It has set the direction of travel for the global transition to low-emission, climate-resilient economies and societies.
However, we already know that on aggregate, the emissions reduction targets put forward by countries in Paris will not be enough to reach our common objective of limiting global warming to well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, let alone 1.5°C. The upcoming special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will unfortunately show us that the window to stay within these limits is closing very fast. This is why we must continue to raise our collective ambition and speed up the implementation and operationalisation of the Paris Agreement.
This year, governments and stakeholders from around the world are getting together to assess how far we have come since Paris and to look at solutions and possibilities to enhance action under the ‘Talanoa Dialogue’. Taking place throughout 2018, this facilitative process – inspired by the Pacific tradition of ‘talanoa’, an open and inclusive dialogue – is the first opportunity since Paris to look at our collective efforts so far, as well as opportunities to increase global ambition.
The EU sees the Talanoa Dialogue as a key moment to focus on the solutions and potential associated with the low-carbon transformation, while also enhancing cooperation and trust. It also sets the tone for the EU’s annual EU Climate Diplomacy week celebrated this week.
Another important deliverable for the international community this year is adopting the Paris Agreement work programme – detailed transparency and governance rules for putting the agreement into practice. Adopting this “rulebook” at the next UN climate conference (COP24) in December in Katowice, Poland, is vital. A clear and comprehensive set of transparency rules will enable us to track and demonstrate the progress being made around the world and give all sides – developed and developing countries alike – a shared framework to deliver on our shared vision.
The EU is well advanced in putting in place its domestic legislative framework for delivering its target of cutting domestic greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. This includes, for example, revising the EU emissions trading system for the period after 2020, setting national emissions reduction targets for sectors not covered by emissions trading, and integrating land use in our climate legislation. These key pieces of legislation were all recently adopted, and further proposals on clean energy and mobility are in the pipeline.
In parallel, we are looking beyond 2030. In March 2018, EU leaders asked the European Commission to present, within 12 months, a proposal for a strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction, following a similar request form the European Parliament. The Commission will make its proposal ahead of COP24 to provide a solid foundation for a EU-wide debate.
Simultaneously, the EU is stepping up international cooperation and support to partners outside the EU, for example through policy dialogues, capacity-building projects and climate finance.
The EU, its Member States and the European Investment Bank contributed EUR 20.2 billion in public climate finance towards developing countries in 2016. This represents a 15 percent increase compared to the previous year or a 50 percent increase from 2012, as well as roughly half of global public climate finance. The EU remains committed to the collective goal of mobilising US$100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020.
In Namibia, the EU earmarked 7.1 million EUR for the EU Climate Change adaptation and mitigation projects to be implemented until the year 2020. The EU supported projects cover a wide range of activities such as actions to counter land degradation, to support forms of alternative energy or to promote the use of renewable energies in rural Namibia.
The EU is for example supporting actions in line with the Namibian Rural Energy Access Plan aimed to strengthen and expand the market for renewable energy technologies (solar lights, cell phone charging systems, home solar systems, solar irrigation pumps) in rural areas. This should meet the electricity needs of 40,000 people and enable students in 20 schools to access solar lights that allow them to study when it is dark, thus increasing their commitment to their education.
Finland is supporting Conservation Agriculture Namibia in their project that aims at increasing the awareness and active involvement of key stakeholders at the local, regional and national levels in climate change adaptation strategies related to improved cropping and rangeland management. In addition, Finland is advocating for green building through a project with the Young Africa vocational training school.
Germany, through its extensive bilateral development cooperation with Namibia, supports the country in pursuing its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Activities and projects include, inter alia, measuring the implementation of NDCs through technical assistance provided to the National Statistics Agency, as well as mainstreaming of SDGs/NDC into policies; strengthening of communal natural resource management, developing climate smart agriculture, and elaboration of land use plans and maps at communal level. Through its financial cooperation, Germany supports climate-related infrastructure projects on Renewable Energy, Transport and Water.
Germany co-funded an International Climate Change Conference organised by the SADC Secretariat and held in Windhoek in October 2017 in the run-up to the 23rd Conference of the Parties in Bonn.
The French ‘Sustainable Utilisation of Natural Resources and Energy Financing programme -SUNREF Namibia is a 3-year programme developed by the Agence Française de Développement that will mobilise private Namibian banks to finance private sector investments in green technologies in the sustainable agriculture, sustainable tourism, renewable energy and energy efficiency market segments. The aim of the SUNREF Namibia is to facilitate access to affordable green technologies, thereby guaranteeing the development of a low carbon environmental footprint and contributing to the reduction of the causes of climate change and other environmental disturbances in Namibia.
While the Paris Agreement sets the direction of travel, the journey has only just begun. Going forward, all responsible countries will need to foster the right environment to enable this transformation to continue, supporting a long-term structural change in energy systems worldwide and shifting and scaling up investments that contribute to it.
Low-emissions and climate-resilient growth is possible for countries at all levels of income and brings multiple and tangible benefits for people, the economy and the environment. The EU is committed to work with all partners to continue this journey together.
The EU Ambassadors resident in Namibia.