Friday 4 December 2015, after one week at Cop 21: interview with Hery Rakotondravony, director of the National Office for Coordination of Climate Change in Madagascar, a focal point for climate, at the heart of the negotiations.
How are the negotiations on the agreement going?
Tomorrow, we will be giving the text to the ministers, so things are accelerating. Madagascar is among the countries defending the objective of keeping global warming below 2 °C. We are basing ourselves on the five principles of the Convention, which is a historic acceptance of responsibility, especially from developed countries
How has Madagascar committed?
In our national contribution (INDC), 14% of the intended financial resources concerns the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and 86% concerns adaptation. We are trying to compensate national deficits in terms of the need for adaptation. The estimated costs are high in terms of the country’s GDP but they reflect actual national requirements. Estimations made by economists were compared with programmes being implemented by the National Office for Coordingation of Climate Change and the figures are similar.
There is talk of certain countries making national commitments lower than those universally planned. What about Madagascar?
Since the beginning of the process, we told ourselves that we would have to review our INDC to achieve better balance between mitigation and adaptation. It’s not just the issue of who will win internationally that we need to keep in mind, it is an ecological awareness and respect for the environment in terms of our carbon footprint. We set ourselves 5-year cycles to stick to our development agenda, and the other African countries followed this model. 5 years from now, we will review the situation and aim for a more ambitious target.
Food security is still not included in the agreement: what do you think of this?
It comes and goes… We are discussing the inclusion of food security in the Agreement. For us in Madagascar, it is a crucial question. We have silting problems, 100,000 hectares of crops are silted up every year, and the cropping calendar has changed due to changes in rainfall patterns. To ensure our food security, we had to react and we created the Integrated model for resilient rice-growing, currently being implemented in Madagascar’s first rice granary, which inspired an international programme called Africa Rice. The programme consists of nationally producing resilient seeds that take 90 days to produce rice rather than the usual 180 days. We also produce fertilisers with agricultural residues and we support groups of farmers producing seeds and fertilisers and working on the commercial aspect. This is working really well. We were evaluated three weeks ago and our coordination unit is among the best in Africa in terms of effective application of means of adaptation and good financial management. However, we lack resources and cannot meet a quarter of requirements (seeds, fertilisers, young plants, strengthening of capacities) for innovative initiatives.
Will the Green fund meet requirements?
We are currently defining putting together our first programme for the Green fund. It is very ambitious and should meet the requirements of three especially vulnerable regions that are important for the national economy. We particularly want to mobilise the potential of renewable energies and double the number of people benefitting from electricity services. But we have a real problem with the “banking” of the Green fund. In 2009 in Copenhagen, the fund announced was supposed to be made up of public funds from developed countries to enable developing countries to adapt to climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Just before it became operational, announces were made on contribution from the private sector and now developing countries are being asked to contribute: this is totally contradictory with the spirit of the 1992 Convention and Principle 21 of the international law on the environment. Certain developing countries, as defined by the United Nations, emit high levels, but we have to sit down at the table to define the possible solutions for consensus. There is a real lack of political will.
In concrete terms, will the funds made available finance the actions you need?
In reality, we have countries that are responsible for damage asking countries that are affected by that damage to use their own resources to solve the problem. Sending consultants is not development. Public servants need to be trained and strengthened. Otherwise debt will be maintained and no development will be possible. We want direct access to the Green fund. We have demonstrated our capacity to lead adaptation projects. We need national ownership and support from the United Nations to really contribute to development in Madagascar.