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Supporting climate change work in Southeast Asia

The purpose of the project is to improve the know-how of key persons working with climate change by promoting regional networking and by providing tools for cooperation among countries in matters pertaining to climate change. Networking increases interaction and the exchange of experiences among climate experts. In this way, it advances the development of good governance and the spreading of good methods and knowledge and makes the transfer of climate-friendly technology more efficient.

Although this is a pilot project, its aim is to provide long-term and continuous support to the climate authorities and to create a permanent regional climate community. The project assists countries in negotiations for agreements and helps them to carry out practical measures associated with climate change. National key persons working in the climate sector are encouraged to disseminate information and experiences through a regional network. The goal is to strengthen the countries’ potential to respond to the challenges posed by climate change over a wide spectrum.

Project cooperation between Finland and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) began in Southeast Asia in 2008. The support up to 2011 totalleds EUR 2.3 million. In order to ensure sustainability and continuity, the project will be supported with a total of EUR 2 million during the period of 2012-2013.

Support for the project of the Global Gender and Climate Alliance
for strengthening the role of women and for mainstreaming
the gender perspective in global climate policy

Climate change will have the hardest impact on the world’s poorest people, most of whom are women. Bringing together people who work with development and environment issues in the UN system, the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA) focuses on the theme of women and climate change. The GGCA works to ensure wider adoption of women’s perspective in decision-making and activities associated with climate change and strives to improve the position of women with respect to climate change at various levels. Finland has a high profile in advocating the integration of women’s perspective into climate policy – a theme strongly supported by this project.

Between the years 2008 and 2011, Finland spent a total of EUR 4.2 million to support the project. Some of this money was allocated to a fund supporting women delegates who participate in climate negotiations. At the second stage, from 2010 onwards, support was also targeted more concretely at the national adaptation programmes of action (NAPA) of developing countries and at their implementation. The GGCA is financed through a UNDP-managed  fund, which channels payments to partners who carry out the practical work.

The support to the project will continue during the period of 2012-2014, totaling EUR 2,6 million. The main objective of the continued support is to ensure that gender perspective is taken into account in climate related decision making as well as in the upcoming climate change convention. During this period, the emphasis of the project will be at national level. However, the support to women delegates participating in climate negotiations will also be continued. 

Global Environment Facility

MThe aim of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is to achieve global environmental benefits. The GEF works as the financial mechanism for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). In addition, the GEF has projects concerning international water areas and substances depleting the ozone layer. During the recently launched fifth replenishment period, the GEF’s operations will be expanded to cover sustainable chemicals management and mercury. A programme for sustainable forest management, utilizing the synergies of the various focal areas, will begin at the same time.

The GEF channels its financing through three implementing agencies: the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); and the World Bank. In addition, other executive agencies – namely, regional development banks, FAO, UNIDO and IFAD – can use the GEF’s financing to implement projects.

Finland has allocated funds to the GEF since its establishment in 1991. At the fifth replenishment negotiations for the years 2010–2014, altogether 34 donor countries pledged a total of USD 4.29 billion for the GEF. This means a rise of 35 per cent in total funding when compared against the previous replenishment. During the fourth funding period (2006–2010), Finland’s support had been EUR 31.12 million; during the current period it will be EUR 57.30 million.

Support to ICIMOD for the establishment of a flood information system in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region

Floods and the resulting devastation are a chronic problem in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region. Floods cause material damage and lead to loss of life. In particular, floods affect the poor, who often live in the most dangerous areas susceptible to floods. At present it is almost impossible to anticipate floods because the collection and distribution of flood information is very deficient. Heavy rains and flood risks in the mountainous Hindu Kush-Himalayan region are on the increase. Many rivers that have their sources in the glaciers and snow-covered areas already have greater flow rates, and the flood peak comes earlier in spring.

The flood information project (the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Hydrological Cycle Observing System) is a joint project among six countries in the region (Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, China). The goal is to build a regional flood observation and information system, to strengthen local flood management preparedness and to improve the dissemination of information so that it would also benefit local inhabitants suffering from floods. The project is carried out by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), located in Nepal, together with the World Meteorological Organization. Finland’s support for the project for the years 2009–2012 totals EUR 2 million.

Energy and environment partnership (EEP)

The energy and environment partnership project that has been in operation in Central America since 2003 is a Finnish success story. The principal goals of the project are to combat climate change, to enhance the availability of energy services for the poorest people in the region, to achieve economic development and to improve the countries’ financial situation by utilizing local renewable energy sources and clean technology. The project is being carried out in all seven Central American countries and in the Dominican Republic. Finland’s support for the years 2003–2012 totals EUR 13 million.

The project is also being replicated in the Mekong region, Southern and Eastern Africa, Indonesia and in the Andes. Energy partnership programmes enable both the piloting of Finnish technology and the implementation of background and feasibility studies for larger investment projects. Many Finnish companies have participated in these partnership projects. The projects are accompanied by regional forums that Finnish companies can attend in order to find local partners.

Sustainable forest use in the changing climate

Forests play an important role, for instance, in maintaining biodiversity, preventing desertification and mitigating climate change. Rural livelihoods are also dependent on forests. Forests are a source of work and income, thus reducing poverty and hunger. The increasing demand for food, biofuels and wood poses ever greater risks on endangered forests – especially rain forests – in developing countries.

The goal of the project, implemented by FAO, is to promote sustainable forest use and counteract climate change. The focus is on four sectors:

  1. production of accurate and reliable information for planning procedures and practices pertaining to forests;
  2. extensive integration of national forest programmes (NFP) into national development plans, paying particular attention to climate change;
  3. promotion of sustainable forest use, thereby reducing deforestation and forest degradation; and
  4. helping developing countries to meet their commitments associated with forests and strengthening their preparedness to negotiate.

The duration of the project is four years (2009–2012) and the total budget is EUR 14 million.

Improved capacity of the Pacific Island country national meteorological services to deliver weather and climate services

Climate change is likely to increase extreme weather events and natural disasters. Many of the Pacific islands and atolls are among the lowest places on our planet, some already sinking with the raising sea level. The South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP) established by the governments of the Pacific Island nations is the most pivotal environmental organization in the area. The objectives of the SPREP are environmental protection and sustainable use of natural resources. The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) has been supporting the SPREP and national meteorological services in the area during the period of 2009-2011. The aim of the project has been to improve the capacity of the national meteorological institutes to deliver high-quality weather and climate services and thus to respond to the challenges posed by climate change and extreme weather events.

The project will be continued and expanded, and during the period of 2012-2015 it will focus on local communities in addition to the capacity building of the meteorological services. The project covers 14 Pacific Island countries, namely the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, and it is coordinated and implemented by the SPREP. In addition to local communities, the project benefits national meteorological institutions, officials that require weather and climate information to develop their services, and sectors dependent on weather services, such as the aviation, agricultural, fishery and tourism sectors. The project enhances the capacity of the SPREP and helps it to achieve one of its objectives – the coordination of the weather and climate cooperation in the region. The total planned budget of the project during the period of 2012-2015 is EUR 4 million.

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