US and Norway sign support to Least Developed Countries Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR) for climate resilience, adaptation and emissions reductionDate: 05 November 2021
Glasgow, United Kingdom – Today at COP26, the US government and Norway, signed a partnership compact to support the Least Developed Countries Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR) as a declaration of support to business unusual and delivery of the LDC Vision, Offer and Ask.
The LDC Group launched the LDC Vision in 2019. Our Vision is for all Least Developed Countries to be on climate-resilient development pathways by 2030 and deliver net-zero emissions by 2050 to ensure our societies and ecosystems thrive.
The Least Developed Countries Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR) – one of the primary vehicles for the LDC Group to deliver the 2050 vision – is driving momentum towards ‘business unusual’ approaches to enable local people and communities to lead on climate adaptation.
For the LDCs, adaptation is a top priority and yet, of the total global climate finance flows in 2019, only 25% supported adaptation, and of the total global climate finance flows just 10% reaches local level. Moreover, the $100 billion annual finance promise by developed countries for climate action in developing countries will only be met in 2023, not 2020 as promised.
LIFE-AR is an effort to reimagine how this will all work. Through innovating and incubating ideas in 6 front runner countries (Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Malawi, Uganda), LIFE-AR aims to address these challenges by developing interventions that reach the whole of society, ensuring at least 70% of climate finance supports local-level action, investing in the building of in country capabilities, and engaging women, youth, indigenous people and other traditionally excluded groups in developing solutions and making decisions.
Our international partners, especially the UK and Ireland have also shown commitment to the LDC Ask, which is a call to the international community to adopt business unusual practices alongside LDCs – through proactively seeking new donors for LIFE AR, endorsing the principles of locally led adaptation and engaging in a coordinated and constructive basis. At the event, the UK announced they will move forward with provision of a further £10 million to the initiative.
Today’s partnership compact signing event strengthens the cooperation between LDCs and the international community, providing a platform to work together in solving the real challenges of climate change and ensuring climate finance gets to where it is needed most, enabling the most vulnerable to thrive.
This brings the total number of signatories of the partnership compact to 16. The compact remains open to all, both government and non-government actors, uniting all to deliver a shared LDC 2050 Vision.
At the ceremony, the Chair of the Least Developed Countries, Mr. Sonam Phuntsho Wangdi said, ‘We will continue to build partnerships guided by the compact principles to work together on a shared and equal platform; use an integrated approach to plan for climate action across whole of society; use at least 70% of climate finance for local climate action; and leave no one behind. That is how we will foster joint efforts based on trust and mutual understanding. That is how we will win the fight against climate change.’
The US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry shared “The United States is pleased to support the LDC Initiative for Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR)- to support the adaptation priorities of Least Developed Countries. The President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience, which President Biden announced at the World Leaders Summit, is directly aligned with LIFE-AR. Through LIFE-AR, the United States can help deploy adaptation finance where it’s needed most: at the community-level.”
Norway’s Minister of International Development, Hon. Anne Beathe Tvinnereim added, ‘Norway will do our part. We share your strong focus on country ownership. Development starts at the local level. Local actors and Local Governments must be at the centre of development. Our commitment is strong. We look forward to our continued Partnership’.
Malawi’s Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources, Hon. Nancy Tembo said, ‘Malawi is committed to this business unusual approach of working differently to ensure the work undertaken is suitable, effective, and aligned with the principles of effective adaptation delivery, as embodied by the LIFE-AR principles. Part of this approach is in having open discussions with our partners, ensuring good communication, seeking guidance and learning from experiences, and in coming together in agreeing a common approach.’
This was echoed by Uganda’s Permanent Secretary for the ministry of Water & Environment, Mr. Alfred Okot Okidi who said, ‘‘the initiative’s aim on fostering climate finance inflows from Global and National levels to the lower levels with focus on the most vulnerable, aligns to Uganda’s National Development Plan (NDP) III’s micro level approach of households and gives momentum to the newly conceived Parish Development Model (PDM). We welcome the efforts by Development Partners to embrace a “business unusual” approach to development cooperation, and we too are committed to supporting this approach.”
UK International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the COP26 Presidency and Secretary of State for international Trade and President of the Board of Trade, The Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, said, “It is heartening to see frontrunner countries showing the will to change the way that climate finance is accessed, managed and targeted. The fact is those on the ground know how to best use it. That is why the plan for at least 70% of climate finance to support local adaptation initiatives could be transformative in empowering those on the frontline dealing with the impacts of climate change.”
Colm Brophy T.D., Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Ireland shared that “I am very proud that Ireland has been able to deliver on our commitment when we signed the LIFE AR Compact at COP25 through providing early-stage support to LIFE AR. I really value how this partnership enables locally-led adaptation to climate change. I want to see local communities increase their ownership of resources, and in particular identify the type of climate action which they need if meaningful change is to be achieved. This also means ensuring that women, young people and indigenous populations are included in decision making processes.”
This signing marked a significant moment in bringing the Least Developed Countries and development partner countries together to work for a climate-resilient future.
- The LDC Group has developed the LDC Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR), which was officially welcomed by the LDC Ministerial Group and launched by the LDC Chair at COP24, as the primary vehicle to deliver LDC 2050 Vision.
- The Least Developed Countries – the 46 poorest countries – launched the LDC 2050 Vision at the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019, aiming to deliver climate-resilient development pathways by 2030, and net-zero emissions by 2050, so that societies, economies and ecosystems thrive.
- Least Developed Countries (LDC) Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR) Partnership Compact – The Compact is a non-legally binding declaration by signatories, expressing full support to the LDC 2050 Vision, using whatever resources, capabilities and institutions available. It also outlines the key Principles for strengthened Climate Action and Development Cooperation between the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the International Community.
- Follow the Money. Tracking Least Developed Countries’ Adaptation Finance to the Local Level. https://pubs.iied.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/2021-07/20326iied.pdf. Key findings from the report show the levels of transparency among contributors is very low making it very difficult to track finance. Estimates show that just 20% (US$ 5.9million) of the adaptation finance going to LDCs went into investments where adaptation was the primary objective. Staying on this trend would translate to less than 3% of (poorly) estimated LDCs annual adaptation finance needs between 2020–2030. There is little evidence of local actors fully leading adaptation interventions even though 46% of the finance intended to give them agency. Less than 3% intended to primarily tackle gender inequalities; only 2% targeted Indigenous Peoples; and less than 19% prioritised non-state enterprises and nongovernmental organisations respectively.