Clima-Med recognized as a leading EU Climate Action in the South Mediterranean
On December 13 at the UNFCCC COP25 in IFEMA Madrid, the Clima-Med project and the Union for the Mediterranean, (UfM) organised a joint side-event ‘’True-to-life steps to accomplish climate actions: From initiating policies to enhancing climate finance access & action implementation”.
Clima-Med’s side-event was held at the EU Pavilion and demonstrated the efforts of the European Union to encourage its global partners, from all governance levels, to advance with the implementation of National Determination Contributions (NDCs) in line with the Paris Agreement. It brought together high-level representatives of governments, local authorities from the South Mediterranean region, as well as representatives of major financial organizations to set forward and promote the climate actions and approaches undertaken in the region.
The event was an opportunity to take stock and highlight the contributions of tens of cities and their roles to mainstream the implementation of NDCs, done through concrete mitigation and adaptation policies and projects and identify international public climate finance attracted by projects in the region. Clima-Med’s Communication expert, Myriam Makdissi who set the scene for the conference by presenting the context of the event and introducing the main theme, moderated the session.
H.E. Mokhtar Hammami, Minister of Local Affairs and Environment in Tunisia who was among the distinguished guests at the event opened the session: ‘’The cause to fight climate change is so important that it no longer interests only high-level political decision-makers, but also and above all, it interests local decision-makers, city managers, companies, associations, research institutions, academics’’.
Mr. Hammami underlined the need to have a well-balanced approach to developing the capacities if national and local authorities in the MENA Region, hence, among other things, the Clima-Med initiative, ‘’which connects and creates networks between Mediterranean cities’’. He also stressed the fact that local governors must control the environmental issue in order to implement the SDGs.
‘’ Tunisia has always been a country that is committed to respecting international commitments at the level of the United Nations and its organizations. Particularly in terms of transport, equipment, networks, fight against poverty, technology transfer, renewable energies, citizen participation and above all the involvement of women, this gender issue on which we must pursue ‘’, said Mr. Hammami.
The European Commission is committed to reach the Paris Agreement objectives with global partners from all governance levels. Delivering his opening speech, Mr. Stefano Dotto, Head of Sector, Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Transport at DG NEAR, European Commission informed the participants that the EC adopted its Communication indication about how to implement the EU Green Deal, which meant to make the EU becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
“Our objective is to support partner countries revising – hopefully upwards – and achieving their NDCs’’, said Mr. Dotto. He added that, to this end, there are a number of bilateral cooperation projects, agreed between individual partners and the EU, and regional programmes, which benefit all the partners from the Region. ‘’ In addition, we will reinforce the efforts to mainstream climate action’’, explained Mr Dotto.
This would mean “the consequences on climate of each policy choice need to be assessed against its impact on climate, that it contributes positively to the climate agenda and that this action should stand the effects of climate change” while requiring a strong coordination of policy makers as well as of donors.
Mr. Dotto stressed also on the importance of the first year of implementation for the Clima-Med project ‘’as part of a wider approach through which we also support circular economy sustainable consumption and production, sustainable energy and sustainable transport and depollution” within the scope of its activities. For him, the countries in the Region face comparable challenges which makes the regional approach relevant.
The European Commission is looking forward to the ministerial declaration to take into account the urgency of climate action. ‘’The preparation of the ministerial meeting in 2020 will benefit of the experience of Clima-Med, and vice versa’’, explained the representative of the European Commission to the participants in the joint side-event of Clima-Med and UfM. For him, Clima-Med (a project labelled by the UfM) and the other EU-funded projects are expected to contribute to the work of all the stakeholders involved through the reinforcement of intra governmental coordination and streamlining; the efforts of Local administrations to reinforce their capacities and together with the national government, identify means to fund the investments and the dynamism of the financial sector.
Mr. Jihad Alsawair, Director of Green Economy Unit in the Ministry of Environment of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, part of the UfM Co-Presidency, has highlighted the importance of climate finance to address climate change challenges in the Region. ‘’The UfM has initiated work within the framework of the UfM Climate Change Expert Group and the Regional Climate Finance Committee, to assess the progress of its member states to attract international climate finance, especially in the context of mobilization of funds from developed countries to developing countries. ‘’
63 percent of the investments for renewable energy in Morocco, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt are from EU and its member states, explained Mr. Alsawair as he expressed the vision of UfM about the MENA region being a place to increase its performance to attract climate finance.
“There are disparities between countries and adaptation is lagging behind. The the results from the technical report of MedECC have showed a negative impact for the Region from the increasing temperatures. So, we need to concentrate more on the adaption part. The investments for adaptation are only representing approx. 1/3 of mitigation commitments, so it should go up’’, said also Mr. Jihad Alsawair .
”Within its mandate, the UfM can strengthen the provision of data on climate finance, especially on adaptation. Based on the information collected on climate finance, the UfM has the capacity to support the emergence of initiatives bridging the gap between project promoters and donors”, concluded Mr. Jihad Alsawair.
Mr. Grammenos Mastrojeni, Deputy Secretary General of the UfM delivered a clear overview of the climate finance funding flows related to climate finance in the Mediterranean region and the challenges related to the facilitation of access to finance. He gave an overview and presented the methodology developed for the Mediterranean Climate Finance Strategy and the results of the UfM International Climate Finance studies (2019) in the perspective of the second Ministerial Declaration on Environment and Climate Change (foreseen for October 2020).
Mr. Naguib Amin, Clima-Med’s Team Leader, working on formulating and applying policies, cities action plans and financial models to address mitigation and adaptation, delivered a detailed overview on how the project is contributing to the implementation and sensitization of local and national authorities from MENA to implement NDCs and defile local actions in this direction.
He recognized the support of the European Commission to advance with the technical assistance in the eight Clima-Med covered countries and enhancing integration through the right policies with the work done by EU’s Delegations and the project experts on field.
Mr. Mondher Marzouk, Mayor of Monastir (Tunisia), a Clima-Med municipality which was recognised as one of the five frontrunners cities that have been selected for their ambitious and potentially transformative urban climate projects in the Global Cities Climate Challenge, took then the floor. He presented Monastir’s protfolio with eligible for funding projects, at both national and municipal level.
Mr. Marzouk gave more details about the selected project in the GCC Challenge, co-organised by the Europeam Investment Bank (EIB) and the Global Covenant of Mayors (GCoM). The project focuses on critical urban climate action including improving waste management, cutting river and ocean pollution, sustainable urban transport, greening urban spaces and enhancing urban resilience to the effects of climate change. (Read more)
Part of the panel of speakers, Mr. Vahakn Kabakian, Clima-Med National Focal Point, Director of Climate Change Unit, UNDP, Ministry of Environment, Lebanon, explained the progress of Lebanon on the implementation of NDCs and the collaboration of UNDP at country level to advance the commitments of Lebanon to the Paris Agreement.
Mr. Kabakian also presented the role of the cities and their capacity to manoeuvre with the local governance process; the importance of reporting requirements (and transparency in information) in any city level action.
Mr. Mohammed Sefiani, Mayor of Chefchaouen municipality (Morocco) explained the approach of the municipality to attract funding flows for municipal projects, through adapting legislation, provision of capacity building and flexible decentralization.
Making the link between since based policymaking and feasibility of climate project, the side-event was a useful opportunity to reach out to financial organizations to promote the readiness of cities for potential investments.
Opportunities and mechanisms for modelling feasible and adapted finance and investments with a special focus on Climate were presented in the presentation of Mr. Jan-Willem Van de Ven, Head of Climate Finance and Carbon Markets at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Through the EBRD NDC Support Programme and NDC Partnership programme, the bank aims to provide support to its countries of operations in two main aspects – to develop, enhance and Implement NDCs via assistance on revision of NDCs, and engagement with private sector on NDCs through discussion-platforms with policy makers. As part of Mr. Van de Ven’s presentation, he highlighted successfully implemented projects of EBRD in MENA, where amongst others, eight solar PV projects with total capacity of 481 MW completed to date under the feed-in-tariff scheme
The main challenges on financing mitigation and adaption in local authorities’ energy and climate projects, in the Southern Mediterranean countries, were discussed by Mr Daouda Ndiaye from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB). He also presented the bank’s strategy on Climate Finance in the Mediterranean.
‘’It is easier to invest in mitigation: energy, transport, global energy, energy efficiency of buildings, etc. These are areas where you have huge investments, so therefore it is sometimes easier to get funding. As where leveraging grant funding for adaptation is quite challenging. Therefore, there is a difference between development finance and adaptation finance, and the investment made is linked with specific climate risk – a narrative enabling to dissociate the development and the adaptation finance. So, when it comes to stakeholders and local covenants, it is looking difficult sometimes to go into that narrative and find the right financing for these activities”, said Mr Daouda Ndiaye. He explained also that, the IsDB is investing into bringing more resilience of its stakeholders in the countries: “We heard of local governments not being able to access, what national governments are able to access. And this lack of communication should be addressed form national to local level, so money can go to local governments’’
Mr. Georges Youssef, Mayor of Menjez (Lebanon) explained about the potential opportunities and obstacles for accessing climate finance in Lebanon.
His overview delivered a detailed log frame on the role of administrations, financial units, capacity and policy needs for projects, to reach the implementation phase in the country.
During the side-event, Clima-Med presented a short video to illustrate the recent and successful Regional Planting Day Campaign, organised with the project beneficiaries and municipalities from the Mediterranean region. The campaign was supported by the European Union and the Planting Days were widely recognized by our partners at national and local level, as we received many photos and videos during the events held by each municipality.
In addition, an exhibition with photos from the local Planting Days was curated at the EU Pavilion at COP25.