Helen Clark: Speech at the Dialogue with Civil Society on Local Climate Action in Africa

I am delighted to join this high-level Dialogue with Civil Society on Local Climate Action in Africa, which is to recognise the work of civil society and communities from African countries. My thanks go to the Small Grants Programme (SGP) for organising this event.

The Paris Agreement’s focus on nationally appropriate actions calls for local lessons and innovations to be integrated into national-level policy formulation and for successful community-led approaches to be identified and scaled up.

Yet, despite the unique knowledge which local communities have, and despite the recognition given to their role in the Paris Agreement, often they remain marginalized from decision-making. This must change: grass-roots civil society organizations are often best positioned to bridge the gap from local to national to global decision making, and to help communities implement bottom-up solutions. They must be actively supported.

The recognition of African communities and civil society organizations by international initiatives like “Initiatives Climat” and “Momentum for Change” at this forum brings much needed visibility to their work, and emphasizes their important role in implementing the Paris Agreement.

It is encouraging that other countries and organizations, including those represented here today such as Morocco, Switzerland, Canada, and the UNFCCC, share this goal and are working to bring local voices to the highest levels.

UNDP, in partnership with others, is directly supporting many civil society organisations and local communities on climate change work. We promote integrated solutions to the climate change challenge, and to manage disaster risk. UNDP is also committed to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment across all areas of its work and to building both into our programming.

The Small Grants Program (SGP), which is funded by the GEF and implemented by UNDP, supports our work with civil society organisations on climate change. Through the SGP and other financing, we can support local climate action and associated improvements in living standards.

The civil society and community representatives we are recognizing today were initially supported by the SGP. Their projects enable women to play more active roles in their communities and improve their livelihoods. For example:

In Morocco and Uganda women were trained on recognising climate change impacts and putting in place adaptation measures.

In Chad, women who previously did not have access to land advocated for and gained access to degraded land for cultivation. After receiving training, they recovered the land and improved their livelihoods.

UNDP looks forward to strengthening its partnerships with local communities and civil society to implement the global agendas around the world.

Source: United Nations Development Programme .

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