Now is the time to turn climate promises into "effective policies and actions", says U.N. secretary-general
By Megan Rowling
MARRAKESH, Morocco, Nov 15 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Developing nations will receive a much-needed boost to roll out their climate change action plans through a partnership, launched at U.N. climate talks on Tuesday, that will improve their access to expertise and financial support, its backers said.
Alongside the first meeting of countries that have ratified the new global climate change agreement, 33 governments signed up to the platform aimed at helping poorer nations achieve their targets on climate change and sustainable development.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told leaders and ministers in Morocco it was time for the words in the Paris climate deal to be translated into "effective policies and actions". So far 110 countries have ratified the agreement.
The plans, referred to as nationally determined contributions (NDCs), outline how countries will cut their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change, including more extreme weather, melting glaciers and rising seas.
"The NDCs are at the very heart of the Paris Agreement - but like anything else they are words on paper unless there is implementation," said Helen Clark, head of the United Nations Development Programme, one of nine international agencies and multilateral banks that have joined the partnership.
Developing states are keen to get on with putting their climate plans into practice but many need assistance, she added.
The plans include a wide range of climate-friendly measures, from shifting to renewable power and cleaner transport to protecting forests and helping farmers grow enough food despite worsening climate stresses.
The new partnership will help countries with technical expertise and training for government officials, and make it easier to access finance, she said.
National action plans "need to be integrated into development plans of countries," she added.
Some rich nations joining the partnership, which is co-chaired by the governments of Morocco and Germany, said they would back it with funding, including Britain and Denmark.
Australia, which promised A$2 million ($1.51 million) over two years, said it would focus its efforts on making farming and forest management greener in the Indo-Pacific region.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the NDCs needed to be "as robust as possible".
"They are the business investment plans which will drive our transition to a lower-emissions, more climate-resilient economy," she said in Marrakesh.
South Africa said it hoped the partnership, which will have a support unit hosted by the World Resources Institute, would strengthen its national efforts to tackle climate change, both in terms of reducing emissions and adapting to climate shifts.
German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said the partnership would play a key role in enabling developing countries to carry out their proposed actions, and in meeting the temperature limits enshrined in the Paris Agreement.
"I'm convinced that the only chance we have to limit warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and keep the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal in reach is if all parties swiftly and transparently turn their national climate plans into action and work towards more ambition," she said in a statement.
The partnership also unveiled what it described as the world's most comprehensive online database of climate finance and support initiatives, to help countries navigate the many different sources on offer. ($1 = 1.3261 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Megan Rowling @meganrowling; editing by Laurie Goering. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)
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