Unpredictable Environment Calls for ’Climate-Smart’ Growth

When the United Nations designs projects to assist vulnerable communities in becoming more resilient, the climate problem must be factored in. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is bridging the gap between people and the effects of climate change on their lives. 

Each solution is unique and tailored to the needs of the community. Micro hydropower in Nepal, decentralized water access in Colombia, climate-proofing rural settlements in Rwanda, and more integrated national adaptation strategies in Bhutan are just a few examples. 

Countries are making significant progress toward a more sustainable future as they try to cut their carbon footprints, adapt to climate change, reduce risks, and build more resilient societies. 

In Nepal, the land-energy-agriculture nexus is a major concern. Approximately 80% of Nepalese people rely on land for their livelihood. For both agriculture and the country’s hydropower sector, land degradation, rising temperatures, and reduced river flows are major concerns. 

A US$42 million climate change adaptation project has been intended to provide sustainable livelihoods and enhance food security with funding from the Global Environment Facility’s Least Developed Countries Fund, the Government of Nepal, and UNDP. The initiative is introducing and scaling up integrated watershed management methods and climate-smart agriculture in four key watersheds, led by the Department of Forests and Soil Conservation. Over 120,000 people will directly benefit from the initiative. 

In Rwanda, UNDP is collaborating with the government and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to implement the Ecosystems/Landscape Approach to Climate Proof the Rural Settlement Program of Rwanda. 

The initiative will ensure that the homes and common facilities in the “Imidugudu” resettlement settlements are environmentally friendly. To enhance resilient lives and lessen the demand on ecosystems for fuelwood, rainwater collecting and alternate energy options will be implemented. 

On the subject of energy, the project will employ a range of family energy solutions, including cheaper, more efficient biogas systems, enhanced energy cookstoves, and the use of solar lighting and cooking technologies. The project will help communities build long-term financing and business models for the maintenance and replication of the technology by connecting the dots with the private sector. 

Through a partnership with UNDP and UN Environment, the Rwandan government piloted the concept of Green Villages for the first time. The Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI) took a comprehensive strategy to address Rwanda’s expanding natural resource difficulties while also providing housing, schools, water, gas, and power to some of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable populations. 

Rwanda is putting adaptation first in its NDNationally Determined Contribution and planning processes. As a result of Rwanda’s high vulnerability to climate change, adaptation is a major worry and a top priority for the country.  The country adopted the Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy (GGCRS) in 2011, which”sets out the country’s actions and priorities on climate change relating to both mitigation and adaptation, as well as how these will be mainstreamed within economic planning. 

Ethiopia has a number of adaptation projects in the works, including land management and clean and renewable energy. Communities participate in these initiatives to diversify their livelihoods and apply climate-smart agriculture measures such as encouraging the use of better varieties and crop diversification. Long-term resilience is built through integrated landscape restoration and appropriate management systems. In agricultural and pastoral settings, this comprises soil and conservation techniques, slope stabilization, and water collection, as well as small-scale irrigation and drinking water projects. 

Climate change is predicted to have major and long-term repercussions on Colombia’s fragile and distinctive ecosystems, increase land degradation, and have an impact on water quality and agricultural production. 

A GCF-funded initiative in Colombia is using solar-powered water pumps to improve community access to safe drinking water. 

In Bhutan, UNDP is assisting the National Adaptation Plan, which has a major focus on the water sector, with the help of the GCF. Improved water management and utilization is inextricably connected to energy generation in a country that significantly relies on hydropower. 

Over 1,000 homes benefited from a UNDP-backed initiative that funded the building of a climate-resilient water collection, storage, and distribution system. 

Climate change adaptation efforts like this are taking done on the ground and have a direct influence on local people. However, we must also work upstream. To move at scale with more and more such investments, national stakeholders must embrace system-level activities. 

With the recently formed SCALA programme, UNDP and FAO are collaborating with the government to identify policy goals on land use and agriculture. The SCALA programme, which is funded by the German Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU) through its International Climate Initiative (IKI), assists 12 countries, including Colombia, Ethiopia, and Nepal, in translating their NDCs and NAPs into actionable and transformative climate solutions in land use and agriculture with multi-stakeholder participation. Land, water, agriculture, and energy are all interwoven with these goals. 

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