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3 Nov 2021

Glasgow, 3 November 2021. On Finance Day at COP26, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced the creation of the Systematic Observations Finance Facility (SOFF).

This new finance mechanism will set the foundation to boost climate action globally and will contribute to achieving one of the main goals of COP26 – to urgently scale-up climate finance to support developing countries’ adaptation and mitigation efforts.

The SOFF was created to address the long-standing problem of missing weather and climate observations from Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. It will strengthen the international response to climate change by filling the data gaps that limit our understanding of the climate. These gaps affect our capacity to predict and adapt to extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and heatwaves.

The three founding agencies, WMO, UNDP and UNEP have signed a Memorandum of Understanding which legally established the SOFF as UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasized that “Filling the large gaps in basic weather and climate data — particularly in Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries — is central to effective adaptation efforts and investments.”

Indeed, “today, less than 10% of required basic weather and climate observations are available from Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries” said Professor Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General.

 

 

 

The implementation of the SOFF will provide benefits not only to the most vulnerable countries, but to all countries across the globe. Filling the data gaps will lead to better weather forecasts, early warning systems and climate information globally.

Weather and climate observations enabled by the SOFF are essential if the world community is to realize the 162 billion US dollars annually in socio-economic benefits of weather and climate prediction.

Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director, said that SOFF will “deliver tangible benefits in terms of lives saved, improved disaster management, livelihoods, biodiversity, food security, water supply and economic growth.”

According to Usha Rao-Monari, UNDP Associate Administrator, there is an urgent need to strengthen the foundation on which adaptation efforts rely “As climate change tightens its grip, the establishment of the SOFF is a pre-requisite to help vulnerable communities get ahead of the curve, adapt to the effects of climate change and build much-needed resilience.”

Realising the value of the SOFF, the international community has come forward and an initial group of countries and organizations announced financial support, including Denmark, Norway, Nordic Development Fund, Austria, and Portugal.

Flemming Møller Mortensen, Denmark’s Minister for Development and Nordic Cooperation, stated that “we are ready to walk the talk” in terms of mobilizing climate finance and achieving a better balance between adaptation and mitigation. However, he noted that “before we can begin to adapt, we need to have strong data on weather and climate.”  Danish Climate Ambassador, Tomas Anker Christensen emphasized that “Weather and climate observations are fundamental to help avert, minimize and address climate induced loss and damage, especially in Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries.”

Peter Launsky, Secretary-General at Austria’s Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, welcomed the SOFF as an “innovative answer to a global challenge.

Norwegian Secretary of State, Bjørg Sandkjær, said that Norway is confident SOFF “will ensure that the whole value chain is developed from the collection of the observation data to the end user for the farmer as well as the policymaker”.

Switzerland also welcomed the establishment of the SOFF and confirmed the provision of financial support for setting up the SOFF Secretariat in Geneva in the start-up phase. In addition, several countries including Canada, France, Spain, Sweden and Turkey expressed strong support, and are exploring avenues to financially contribute to the SOFF in the near future.

 

 

After the start-up phase, SOFF is expected to open its doors for business in June 2022. In its first three-year implementation period, the SOFF will support 55 countries to close the weather and climate observation gap, including rehabilitation or establishment of up to 400 data-gathering stations, enabling them to generate and internationally exchange data that is missing today.

The Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, emphasized that this new finance mechanism is a lifeline to the most vulnerable countries, especially Small Islands States, which are on the front line of the fight against climate change. “Disaster readiness and disaster resilience are two sides of the same coin and they both stand to benefit from the SOFF, designed to support vulnerable countries like Fiji.”

Scaling up efforts to build resilience in vulnerable countries is even more urgent in light of the alarming level of global greenhouse gases emissions, stressed the Prime Minister of Cabo Verde. “Even bold mitigation actions cannot spare us from the significant impacts of climate change for decades to come. But we cannot adequately adapt if we cannot adequately predict. And we cannot predict, if we do not have sufficient data.”

Closing the event announcing the SOFF, Selwin Hart, Assistant Secretary-General and Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action, commended the creation of the SOFF as “an example of what the UN can do at its best – working as one, with many stakeholders across the globe” because “Adaptation does not depend on one of us, nor some of us, but all of us – working together for people and the planet.”

For further information please contact Markus Repnik at mrepnik@wmo.int

Adapted from press release originally published by the World Meteorological Organization


2 Nov 2021

Glasgow, 2 November 2021 - President Félix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom on behalf of the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) today endorsed an ambitious 10-year agreement (2021-31) to protect the Congo Basin rainforest – the world's second largest.

 

“With its forests, water and mineral resources, the Democratic Republic of Congo is a genuine "Solution Country" to the climate crisis. To protect our forest and promote its sustainable management, our priority, backed by this new partnership, is to strengthen governance and transparency across all land use sectors. The Partnership will also support our ambition to respond to the dual challenge of food security and climate change through sustainable agriculture, primarily in the savannahs”, said Président Tshisekedi.

 

All sectors of the DRC’s economy have joined in this landmark agreement to undertake actions that could change land use practices that date back millennia. These concerted efforts are essential in a country the size of Western Europe with one of the lowest human development indices in the world, and that loses nearly half a million hectares of forest every year.

 

Through this new multi-year partnership, the DRC aims to first cap forest cover loss at its 2014-2018 average and ensure that deforestation continues to decline. The partnership will also promote the regeneration of 8 million hectares of degraded land and forests, and place 30% of national areas under a protection status, including areas where local communities undertake efforts to manage forests sustainably.

 

Lord Goldsmith, UK Minister for Pacific and the Environment declared “the UK is proud to be signing this ambitious ten-year Letter of Intent with the Central African Forest Initiative alongside the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is a crucial step forward in our efforts to protect and restore the country’s precious forests, as well as providing sustainable livelihoods an alleviating poverty”.

 

Exacerbated by extreme poverty, forest loss in the DRC is mainly due to a growing population lacking livelihood opportunities outside the forest and relying mostly on fuelwood for cooking, all that in the absence of land use planning. Any solution proposed to stem forest loss in the DRC must therefore focus on rural development, poverty reduction, and better food security.

 

CAFI's support of $500 million over the first five years more than doubles the $190 million provided under the first Letter of Intent (2015-2020), whose objectives were delivered through a portfolio of over twenty programmes that supported large-scale reforms in agriculture, land-use planning and land tenure; directed agricultural activities towards tens of thousands of hectares of savannahs; and improved the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people.

 

The announcement at COP26 concludes months of discussions between CAFI donors and DRC Ministers, in which national civil society was fully involved. In a communiqué, Guy Kajemba, National coordinator of the umbrella civil society organisation “Groupe de Travail Climat REDD+ Rénové” declared: "We welcome this renewed partnership. It will help us closely monitor commitments taken, including the steps that will lead to a responsible and progressive lifting of the moratorium, the publication of contracts in all sectors linked to the use of land and the commitment taken by President Tshisekedi to cancel all dubious contracts of forest concessions. We are particularly encouraged by the mobilisation of all sectors committed to protect our High Value Forests and peatlands.”

 

TWELVE CONCRETE OBJECTIVES OF THE DRC-CAFI LETTER OF INTENT 2021-2031

 

  1. High value forests, peatlands and community forest concessions are systematically incorporated into land-use plans, with the aim of maintaining the important role they play. 
  2. The proportion of unsustainable wood energy (e.g. charcoal) for cooking is halved in the main urban centers by 2030 (note: 97% of Kinshasa 13 million inhabitants use fuelwood daily for cooking and consume over 17 million tons of wood per year, mainly sourced in an unsustainable manner).
  3. No agro-industrial concessions will be allocated in high value forests and peatlands.
  4. Transparency in natural resources governance is enhanced through the legal review of existing agriculture, logging, mine and oil concessions, the cancellation of illegal ones, as well as the publication of all contracts (linked to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative - EITI)
  5. Transparent allocation procedures are followed for agriculture and logging concessions.
  6. Forest governance is improved through stronger control and an ambitious 5 million hectares target of community forestry, doubling the original national target, along with a legal and regulatory framework adopted to protect the rights of indigenous peoples. The signature of the Decree lifting the moratorium will be adopted only after the realization, on the basis of a consultative process, of the geographical programming of future allocations.
  7. In line with the global 30 x 30 commitment, the DRC commits 30% of the country to be under various forms of protection status by 2030 while respecting the right to free prior and informed consent and  ensuring the voice of marginalized communities are heard. This includes areas that communities themselves dedicate to protection through a local-level zoning process they lead.
  8. Eight million hectares of degraded lands and forests will be restored, as per the pledge of the DRC under the Bonn Global Challenge on restoration of degraded and deforested landscapes
  9. The new and innovative tenure law and policy are adopted by end of 2022 and implemented, with the deployment of a decentralised tenure information system that include community-level tenure registries.
  10. New social and environmental standards are defined and adopted to reduce the impact of mining and oil investments on forests and biodiversity, with reinforced measures in high value forests and peatlands. Any activity incompatible with conservation objectives in Protected Areas is banned.
  11. A national population policy that is rights-based, evidence-informed and gender responsive is adopted by 2030 to promote a demographic transition that stimulates economic growth and reaches development objectives.
  12. A model of forest-friendly special economic zone is piloted to support a low-deforestation green economy, and takes into account high value forests, peatlands and land planning processes.

 


28 Oct 2021

Geneva, 28 October 2021: The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) are to announce at COP26 a new United Nations Coalition Fund to significantly improve the collection of essential weather and climate data and boost the international response to climate change.

 

The Systematic Observations Finance Facility (the SOFF) will plug the data gaps that undermine our understanding of past and current climate, as well as our capacity to predict and project future climate scenarios. This, in turn, weakens international efforts to prepare for and respond to extreme weather events such as floods, hurricanes and drought.

 

To respond to the explosive growth in the demand for weather and climate data to support essential services needed by all sectors of society, last week 193 Member countries and territories of the World Meteorological Congress approved an integrated package including a Unified Data Policy, the Global Basic Observing Network (GBON), and the SOFF, to dramatically strengthen the world’s weather and climate services.

 

“If you don’t have observations, then you are not able to provide good forecasts”, said Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General. “We have major data gaps in our observing systems in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific islands and some parts of Latin America. Those countries are not able to provide high quality early warning services because they don’t have enough input data for the forecast models.”

 

Over the next ten years, the SOFF will build capacity in 75 Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries to enable them to generate and exchange essential weather and climate data, in compliance with internationally agreed standards of GBON.

 

The SOFF will have life-saving impact in the most vulnerable countries to climate change, where decades of progress can be wiped out by a single extreme event. However, the benefits of SOFF will be felt everywhere; countries across the globe will have access to improved weather forecasts and climate services at a critical time when impacts of climate change are intensifying everywhere.

 

According to Achim Steiner, Administrator of UNDP, the SOFF is a win-win for all. 

“Extreme weather and climate events are now increasing in frequency, intensity and severity as a result of climate change. Vulnerable communities are amongst the hardest hit. To help address this, they need access to the very best of technology to adapt to the effects of climate change and reduce risk.”

 

Weather and climate observations enabled by the SOFF are essential if the world community is to realize fully the 162 billion US dollars annually in socio-economic benefits of weather and climate prediction.

 

According to a recent World Bank report, the potential global disaster management benefits enabled by the SOFF are estimated at 66 billion US dollars per year and improved economic production resulting from better planning is estimated at about 96 billion US dollars annual. Weather-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, water, energy, transportation, construction and insurance will see the greatest benefits.

Recognising the value of the SOFF, countries are already providing indications of financial contribution. These will be unveiled at the event in Glasgow on 3 November.

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP, emphasises that this new mechanism is vital if the planet is to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.

“As we look towards a planet potentially hurtling towards 3°C at the end of the century, we need to step up climate action dramatically and this must be underpinned by the best available science and data. The Systematic Observations Finance Facility is key to achieving this.”

 


14 Oct 2021

The United Nations and partners are launching a new flagship financing instrument — known as the Complex Risk Analytics Fund (CRAF’d) — to provide data in support of all stakeholders in crisis anticipation, prevention and response.

In 2021, 250 million people require urgent international support.  Driven by climate change, conflict and now the COVID-19 pandemic, that number is 40 per cent higher than two years ago.  Yet, data is most scarce in the fragile settings where people are most at risk.  Only 51 per cent of data for major emergencies is complete.  Gaps in data capacity make humanitarian, development and peace operations less effective than they could be.

CRAF’d is a milestone on the path to more coherent financing for data in fragile and crises settings.  Complementing the World Bank-hosted Global Data Facility, it will boost the most critical data investments to spur anticipatory action before disasters unfold.  By pooling investments, CRAF’d will unlock better data, insights, decisions and support for the most vulnerable.  Targeting $15 million to $25 million in annual investments, the initiative will connect diverse partners in an open ecosystem, anchored in shared principles.

At the CRAF’d launch — attended by over 100 leaders from Governments, the European Union, international financial institutions and regional, local and non?governmental organizations — Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed hailed CRAF’d as a trailblazer for the more inclusive, networked and effective multilateralism envisioned in Our Common Agenda.

“With data-driven insights, we unlock pathways to the Sustainable Development Goals for those most at risk of being left behind,” she said.  “If we invest multilaterally, we optimize impact by creating scale and minimizing fragmentation.  That is what CRAF’d is about.”

World Bank Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships Mari Pangestu said:  “Bridging the data divide is critical to support poor and vulnerable people hit hardest by crises, from COVID-19 to climate change, and chart a course for green, resilient and inclusive development.  We look forward to continue working closely with the United Nations and partners to maximize the value of data for people and planet.”

Inspired by the Secretary-General’s Data Strategy, CRAF’d is the result of a joint design process championed by Germany, Netherlands, United States and the United Nations family, as well as Niger, Nepal, Uganda and other partners across the globe.  Administered by the United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office, CRAF’d will become fully operational in early 2022.

The fund’s acronym CRAF’d (pronounced “craft”) signifies the shared commitment to foster excellence in the use of data for the common good.

For more information, please download the CRAF'd one-pager and visit www.crafd.io.


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