COP26 Roundtable: Highlights from One Young World's first global climate action session

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In the months leading up to COP26, One Young World is ensuring the voices of young leaders of all backgrounds and sectors are meaningfully taken into account. One Young World has, in partnership with UK COP26 Youth Advisory Group member Will Ferrell, launched a series of monthly roundtable sessions, each focused on a key aspect of the climate crisis.

The outcomes of the sessions are consolidated by Will and relayed in monthly convenings chaired by Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, President for COP26.

Image: Text reads "FINANCE; ENABLING GRASSROOTS, FRONTLINE COMMUNITIES"

On Wednesday 31 March, One Young World hosted the second roundtable session which centred around access to gender-responsive climate finance and activating grassroots, frontline communities in climate solutions.

The global discussion included Ambassadors based in India, Qatar, Guyana, Ireland, United Kingdom, Kenya and Colombia.

Key Learnings:

Identifying the main challenges:

  1. There is currently an inequitable distribution of funding for and distrust of developing countries. This leads to a challenge of representation as financial decisions are being made about communities by people that don't live there nor truly understand their needs.
  2. There is no set definition of climate finance given by the UNFFFC. Not having a concrete definition gives governments an excuse to be non-committal about their contributions.
  3. There has been a noticeable climate finance rollback, particularly over the past year. Governments are quoting climate finance as a monetary number to distract from how low contributions are as a percentage of their overall wealth.
  4. Some sectors are receiving a lot more funding than others. For example, it is easier to measure the impact of mitigation than adaptation, so mitigation projects are seen as being much more attractive propositions.
  5. Climate enterprises often regress land rights for Indigenous communities.

Recommendations

  1. Transparency and monitoring of climate finance contributions are vital. Clear reporting which shows where finance is going and robust impact measurement both serve to incentivise funders.
  2. Developing countries must be given more autonomy. Donors should be on the ground or otherwise actively listen to and address the needs of the communities that they're funding. Funders should initiate different streams of funding as the financing needs of developed countries are very different from the financing needs of developing countries.
  3. There is a lot of potential in a fund-to-fund model as opposed to a bottom-down approach, as grassroots and lower-rung innovators are very good at distributing funds to where they are most needed.
  4. There should be more focus on governments making concrete commitments and contributions towards the 100bn pledge.
  5. Priority should be on financing nature-based solutions - these are currently chronically underfunded, yet they sustain livelihoods.

Previous Sessions

Gender and climate

The first roundtable session was hosted on Wednesday 24 February and concentrated on the intersectionality of gender and climate.

The session was attended by eight One Young World Ambassadors from around the world, who together represented a diverse range of backgrounds, from those leading grassroots organisations to those working in the corporate sector.

The key learnings from the session have been compiled below:

Identifying the main challenges

Limited access to funding:

  • International climate finance - only 5% goes to less-developed countries.
  • The application process is opaque and there is a lot of bureaucracy involved.

Land ownership issues:

  • In many rural communities, women aren't on civil society databases so aren't aware of opportunities for funding, support etc.
  • The majority of the land is owned by men or else is community-owned. This is prohibitive when women apply for funding, even though they are often the de facto managers of the land and farms.

Women are most impacted and least represented:

  • The impact of extreme weather events (access to clean water, nutrition) disproportionately affects women.
  • In many communities, women are tied down to families and less mobile when there are climate / agricultural issues.
  • Yet in government, financing, and even at COP, men are much more widely represented.

 

Recommendations

Improved access for women farmers:

  • Governments focus should be on the better mapping of women farmers.
  • Ministries need to be aware of land ownership issues and ensure policies are more inclusive. There are lots of broad solutions about funding, but if land ownership issues remain, the funds will not reach their intended audience.
  • Long-term - Countries should address cultural issues that prevent the transferral of land ownership to women.

More pressure on the private sector:

  • The private sector needs to be held to account to ensure they're hitting targets. Greenwashing needs to be called out.
  • More focus needs to be on the private sector, ensuring they're hitting targets.
  • The Private sector must provide further funding for communities that require it whilst ensuring the conditionality attached to these funds are not prohibitive and do not create unnecessary red tape for applicants and their intended recipients

Ensuring fair representation:

  • Men vastly outnumber women at COP at all levels. The UK government should push countries to send a more diverse range of delegates.
  • Long term benefits - women are statistically more likely than men to vote on green initiatives.

Improved education / better marketing:

  • Climate change has been the worst branded campaign in history - it is still referred to as simply an 'issue'. Rebranding needed to show how critical it is on a local, national and global level.
  • Climate education should become a core part of national curriculums.

Contributors:

Will Farrell

 

Will Farrell

(Session Lead)

United Kingdom

Youth Advisor, COP26

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Madhav Datt

 

Madhav Datt

India

Founder & President, Green the Gene

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Neeshad shafi headshot

 

Neeshad Shafi

Co-Founder & Executive Director

Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar LLC (G)

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Siddhant Sarang

 

Siddhant Sarang

India

Founder, Youth Frontliners

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Aisling McCaffrey

 

Aisling McCaffrey

Ireland

Associate Director, Financial Services Advisory

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Unelker headshot

 

Unelker Maoga

Kenya

Founder, Konservation

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Xiomy headshot

 

Xiomara Acevedo

Colombia

Director, Fundación Barranquilla+20

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Isha headshot

 

Isha Kulkarni

India

Fellow, RMI India

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Jennifer Griggs

 

Jennifer Griggs

United Kingdom

Capital Markets & Advisory Division, Credit Suisse (Energy & Infrastructure)

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Abhinav headshot

 

Abhinav Khanal

Nepal

Co-Founder & Executive Director

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Noriah Katungwe

 

Noriah Tadala Katungwe

Malawi

Founder, Livingreen Ventures

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Tracy headshot

 

Tracy Smith

Guyana

Project Manager & Guyana's National Focal Point to the GCF, Office of the President

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Jordan headshot

 

Jordan Lewis

United States

Brand Manager, Dove Men+Care at Unilever

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Clarena Amatha headshot

 

Clarena Amatha

Kenya

Founder & CEO, TransFarm Ventures

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Natalie Johnson

 

Natalie Johnson

Switzerland

Senior HR Business Partner, Novartis

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If you are a One Young World Ambassador and you would like to be included in a future session, please email Abbie via [email protected].