China’s domestic biogas sector must adjust to changing conditions
China’s biogas programme is renowned for its rapid expansion in rural areas and community-level uptake. A decade of heavy government investment means that around 100 million rural people now benefit from biogas digesters, turning livestock manure into clean cooking fuel and organic fertiliser and cutting carbon dioxide emissions by up to 61 million tonnes a year. But China is changing...
Loss and damage: from the global to the local
At the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) in Doha a landmark decision on loss and damage was reached to establish institutional arrangements to address loss and damage at COP19. Though the form these arrangements will take is still being debated, a consensus is developing. Research in Bangladesh, for example, has highlighted the need to address loss and damage in comprehensive risk management frameworks, facilitate crosssectoral collaboration and integrate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation agendas. Local-level research in nine developing countries suggests targeting adaptation support better, providing policymakers with signals about the limits to adaptation and involving communities in decision-making processes. At COP19 in Warsaw, parties must have these and other needs in mind if they are to establish institutional arrangements to mobilise the necessary action and support.
Addressing climate adaptation through equity concepts
Equity — fairness — is central in ongoing negotiations for a new legally binding international climate change agreement, to be adopted in 2015. But the debate focuses heavily on burden and effort sharing for mitigation. Adaptation gets very little attention. Yet adaptation needs are real, immediate, and will likely escalate unless mitigation efforts are substantially more ambitious. Adaptation costs fall hardest on vulnerable developing countries, and must be addressed for a new agreement to have global acceptance.
Driving new technology adoption in South Africa’s energy sector
In South Africa’s energy sector, several renewable technologies are mature enough to roll out, but need the right support in the right contexts. Around the world, attempts to adopt new or improved technologies often fail because they focus on the ‘hardware’ and ignore the complex mix of interconnected social, institutional, economic and policy issues that can limit success.
Partnerships for progressive pro-poor city planning
City and municipal governments in the global South often lack the resources and political will to engage with urban poor groups to tackle poverty. However, organised urban poor groups in over 30 nations have developed a range of strategies to build partnerships with local governments in developing progressive, pro-poor, urban planning. This briefing summarises experience gathered from several countries and gives examples of progressive pro-poor policy reform for urban development.
Reconfiguring urban adaptation finance
Cities need to adapt to climate change: but how will the necessary planning, actions and infrastructure be financed? International and national adaptation funding arrangements currently offer few opportunities for city-level finance, and still fewer for money to be channelled directly into the hands of low-income urban residents. These funds are insufficient in quantity, unaccountable to their ultimate beneficiaries and inaccessible to many of the most vulnerable groups. In contrast, locally controlled funds that are managed directly by organisations of low-income urban residents have shown their ability to reduce risk and vulnerability. This briefing — and the longer paper upon which it draws — argues that supporting funds of this type is a key component to increasing the resilience of urban residents and the cities where they live.
Stronger forest and farm producers’ groups can help deepen Myanmar democracy
‘Cautious optimism’ characterises many recent developments in Myanmar. In forestry, economic returns have, until recently, accrued to the government. Yet the 1995 Community Forestry Instructions, and ongoing revision of the 1992 forest law, are opening new commercial space for locally controlled forest and farm products. Community Forest User Groups are emerging to manage these resources, albeit at a pace below the government’s Forest Master Plan target of 918,000 hectares by 2030. They are mobilising to sell timber, agroforestry crops, non-timber forest products (notably bamboo and rattan), eco-tourism and biomass energy. The Forest and Farm Facility is strengthening, through small grants, their business organisation and capacity. It is also initiating high-level multi-sectoral dialogue to showcase and discuss how stronger locally controlled forest and farm economies can deepen democracy.
Assessing the social impacts of conservation policies: rigour versus practicality
The last ten years have seen an increasing emphasis on rigorous impact evaluation by the international development community. The conservation community is also using these methods to understand the impacts of conservation policy approaches, such as protected areas and payments for environmental services schemes. But in real life, genuine controls are hard to come by, time and resources are limited and — regardless of what the data say — relationships need to be managed between managers of protected areas (or other interventions) and the people living near them. How can these issues be reconciled? A two-track strategy could be the solution, combining in-depth evaluation for a selection of interventions with increased effort to improve rapid assessment methods at the field level.
REDD+ and rights: extending carbon rights in the DRC to climate-regulating services
In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) the state has ultimate ownership rights to all resources, adjudicating land use rights and revoking them if public interest demands. Community rights, although weak, are acknowledged in a dual system of tenure and resource rights. This is the legal environment within which REDD+ projects are exploring climate change mitigation through more sustainable land use practices. But REDD+ requires long-term commitment from land users, and commitment needs secure rights. DRC has introduced carbon rights agreements and a fiscal system into contracts for private sector investment in REDD+ but clarity on how (or whether) carbon rights can be transferred, and careful assessments of existing local interests will be needed to scale up REDD+ projects to a successful national approach.
How can the private sector contribute to delivering climate justice?
Climate justice seeks to address the unjust distribution of climate change costs (in other words the externalised costs of industrial development) by putting a human-rights based approach at the centre of international development initiatives. Globally, private sector investments have made huge contributions to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, but are largely failing to address the costs imposed on developing countries of adapting to climate change and achieving resilience. In Scotland, business people want to identify and evaluate a range of options for funds that could be put into climate justice programmes. The private sector will need scalable mechanisms with low transaction costs if their contributions are to achieve significant outcomes. Developments in Scotland’s Climate Justice Fund could present Scottish enterprise with a range of ways to make such contributions.
'Land grabbing': is conservation part of the problem or the solution?
Large-scale land acquisitions are increasing in pace and scale, in particular across parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Weak governance and poor land use planning mean that commercial ‘land grabs’ often damage biodiversity as well as dispossessing people from customary rights and livelihoods. Land can also be ‘grabbed’ for ‘green’ purposes, triggering conflicts that undermine potential synergies. Expanded state protected areas, land for carbon offset markets and REDD, and for private conservation projects all potentially conflict with community rights. Such conflict is counterproductive because secure customary and communal land tenure helps enable sustainable natural resource management by local communities. This briefing presents the experience of international development, wildlife and human rights practitioners, shared at a symposium on land grabbing and conservation in March 2013.
Shaping a global goal on energy access that leaves no one behind
Energy features strongly in discussions about a post-2015 development framework. Energy poverty puts huge constraints on human and economic development. Negotiating the content of an energy goal could be politically contentious, giving rise to polarisations that stymie debate: centralised, large-scale projects versus decentralised, small-scale ones; renewables versus fossil fuels; public versus private provisioning; the responsibilities of the rich versus the needs of people living in poverty. This briefing draws on research by IIED and others to suggest priorities for achieving universal energy access. It proposes that post-2015 energy ambitions go beyond meeting people’s ‘basic survival needs’, and instead be centred on energy needs in a way that will help reduce poverty and improve livelihoods, particularly in rural communities. To date, this has been a classic blind spot for energy policymakers and the market.
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