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Published on 27/11/2015

GRET at COP21: 5 areas of expertise to deliver on climate commitments

From 30 November to 11 December 2015 in Paris, COP21 (21st Session of the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change) will bring together 193 States for two weeks of negotiations with a view to achieving the first universal and legally binding agreement on climate change. GRET, an NGO working for fair development, is mobilised to provide concrete solutions reconciling climate and development, to contribute to future operations supported by the Green Fund and as part of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). On the eve of COP21 in Paris, The Link gives an overview of GRET’s mobilisation in five areas of expertise, based on its experience in the field: food security; forests; renewable energies; cities and sub-national regions; and rainwater management.

Climate change generates drought, torrential rains, extreme climatic events… It is an aggravating factor in poverty and it accelerates inequalities. The limits of the Anthropocene era – where human exploitation of resources has the same effect on the planet as a geological force – illustrate the need to exit a linear model based on growth and consumption. The road to prosperity for rich countries needs to be replaced by other models entailing a low-carbon economy.

See GRET’s position on COP21

Changing the global food system and adopting agro-ecology

Via their direct and indirect impacts – including deforestation – agriculture and the global food system are responsible for almost half of global warming. Until now agriculture has featured only marginally in international climate negotiations. However, the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C cannot be achieved without radical changes in agriculture and to the food system. Together with Coordination SUD, GRET is advocating for the inclusion of nutritional and food security in the Paris agreement.

Climate change is a major threat for food security. In the field, agro-ecology makes it possible to contribute to reducing GHG emissions and the adaptation of populations that are the most impacted by climate change. In Myanmar and Madagascar, GRET is developing agro-ecological solutions in arid zones where climate change is accentuating food insecurity. These actions made it possible to improve land fertility via the accumulation of fertile sediments upstream of mini-dams, to increase the resilience of the population to climatic events and to decrease the pressure of deforestation on natural resources in agri-forestry systems, especially in Madagascar.

For more informtation on GRET’s position, the solution developed by GRET

Hear GRET at Cop 21 (Le Bourget) on the subject of agro-ecology and climate:

  • Wednesday 2 December from 1 pm to 3 pm during a Side event in the blue zone (access with accreditation) organised by AVSF, ACF, Agrisud, Care, Cari, CCFD, GRET, Peuples solidaires and SCCF1 on “Agro-ecology as a viable solution to create climate resilience
  • Wednesday 2 December from 1.30 pm to 3 pm during a side event at the Climate generations area organised by Cirad and Inra on “global food security: what are the agricultural challenges”
  • Wednesday 2 December at 10.30 am at the Coordination SUD stand (Climate generations area), for a morning of discussions on agro-ecology and the challenges of climate change for agriculture
  • Friday 4 December from 9.15 am to 10.40 am for a high level Panel at the OECD Pavilion, organised by PFE, AFD, City of Paris, GRET, and the Rhone-Mediterranean & Corsica Water Agency on “The definition of actions for adaptation to climate change in the domain of water”

Expert: Laurent Levard, agriculture expert with GRET

Electricity or biomass: the central role of renewable energies

Fossil fuels are responsible for 80% of global CO2 emissions and 67% of greenhouse gas emissions. Parallel to this, 3 billion people cook every day with firewood and in 2014, 620 million people did not have access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Renewable energies are the solution to minimizing global warming while at the same time enabling access to energy for all, including in isolated zones. 

In Madagascar, small hydropower is the appropriate solution to facilitate electrification of zones currently not covered while at the same time reaching the stated objective of 79% of renewable energies in the country’s energy mix between now and 2030. GRET’s experience in Madagascar demonstrates that the mobilisation of the private sector to invest – under State control – in the development of rural hydropower networks can make it possible to promote economic development in rural regions, the preservation of water resources and the commitment of the banking sector to promote private investment. This approach could provide a model for upscaling with mobilisation of funding from the Green Fund over the coming years.

In Mauritania, together with the Rosso Higher Institute of Technology and the Diawling National Park, GRET developed typha coal as an alternative to charcoal. Transforming this invasive plant into energy makes it possible to create opportunities for economic development, restore biodiversity and make regions carbon-neutral as an alternative to deforestation.

For more information

Hear GRET at Cop 21 on the subject of energy and climate:

  • Friday 27 November 2015 during the Coordination SUD press conference on the challenges of climate for energy, with Samassa Nalla, GRET’s representative in Mauritania.
  • Tuesday 1st December at 9.15 am during a side event organised by GRET, Geres, AVSF, Goodplanet and Etc Terra at the Coordination SUD stand (Climate Generation in Le Bourget) on the distribution of domestic cooking equipment in Mali
  • Wednesday 2 December at 1.45 pm during a side event organised by ESF, GRET, Ps-Eau and Eau vive at the Climate Generation area in Le Bourget on “Energy and water: two complementary vectors for development and adaptation to climate change”
  • Monday 7 December during a conference by Ateliers de la terre at the Hôtel de l’industrie with GRET’s Chairperson Pierre Jacquemot and Minh Le Quan, energy expert with GRET

Experts: Samassa Nalla, GRET’s representative in Mauritania and Minh le Quan, energy expert with GRET

Fighting against deforestation, but not to the detriment of local populations!

Deforestation is responsible for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions. Promoting sustainable agriculture that respects the environment as an alternative to land clearing is a core mitigation issue for the lungs of the world but not to the detriment of the living conditions of populations that live off the forest! The Redd+ mechanism (reduction of emissions relating to deforestation and forest degradation) has generated poor results to date. Gauging carbon performance is insufficient to measure the performance of public policies, the objective is to equip southern countries with instruments for land security and territorial development.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC), GRET is experimenting two concrete solutions to reconcile development and the fight against deforestation. Simple management plans (SMPs) for resources at customary lands level are a tool to make agricultural practices part of a territorial development approach. They make it possible to improve agricultural yield, avoid deforestation and minimize the dependency of local populations on carbon inputs and the vagaries of the climate. Development of agri-forestry plots generate positive effects for development, carbon sequestration in the trees planted and improved resilience of local populations to climate change.

For more information

Hear GRET at Cop 21 on the subject of forest and climate:

  • Tuesday 8 December, GRET has organised a morning event at the Coordination SUD stand (Climate generations area) on Redd+ judicial approaches from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm

Expert: Judicael Fetiveau, forestry expert with GRET

Management of rainwater: the need for modelling

Numerous assessment tools and methods for evaluating climate change scenarios exist. But while at project scale these tools produce qualitative estimations of the vagaries of climate based on participative “community” diagnostics, on the global scale they entail high levels of uncertainty and a degree of precision that is not suited to project intervention scales.

Managing the consequences of flooding generated by heavy rains or flash floods in secondary towns in Senegal or Mauritania for example, requires knowledge of forthcoming changes in terms of rainfall regimes and hydrological functioning. GRET recommends designing tools to forecast climatic risks at local level via an action-research approach mobilising experts, operators/planners and users. The objective is to ensure that the high level of uncertainty does not paralyse the decision-making process, slow down the adaptation of sectoral policies or affect the resilience of local populations.

Solution data sheet : “Adapting climatic diagnostic tools at local level: rainwater management in Sahelian Cities”
Fore more information: see Coaltion Eau’s position (in French)

Hear GRET at Cop 21 on the subject of water and climate management:

  • Wednesday 2 December from 11 am to 12.30 pm during a side event by Sedif on the “1% solidarity contribution of public urban services in the Greater Paris region”, room 7 of the Climate generations area, with Mamisoa Andriamihaja, drinking water expert with GRET in Madagascar
  • Wednesday 2 December, from 2 pm to 3.30 pm at the Coordination SUD stand for a meeting with one of GRET’s water and sanitation experts on the subject of rainwater management.
  • Thursday 3 December from 2.30 pm to 4 pm during a side event organised by Coalition eau at the Climate generations area on “water at the heart of change” with GRET and the Mayor of Diawara.

Expert: Thomas Lejeune, drinking water expert with GRET

Climate planning approaches suited to cities and regions

Cities are at the heart of the international sustainable development agenda and the 2015 Paris Conference on Climate Change (Cop 21). Cities are the cause of 75 % of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and are also particularly vulnerable to sudden changes in their environment. They provide a pertinent level for actions on adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, on condition that they coordinate approaches taking rural areas into account. Although in certain countries national public institutions and local authorities have developed climate strategies, it is more realistic and more efficient for many cities and regions in developing countries to begin by adopting progressive approaches to include the issue of climate in existing sectoral and urban policies.

GRET defends participative planning approaches and the creation of decision-making tools suited to local contexts, grant schemes dedicated to the adaptation of regions in the least developed countries, and the recognition of the interdependency between urban and rural areas by promoting territorial development approaches

Fore more informtation

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More information on GRET at COP21 in our dedicated section

For more information on Coordination SUD’s position for COP21