A Quest for Legal Clarity: What the International Court of Justice's upcoming advisory opinion means for climate action
On March 28, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a historic resolution asking the International Court of Justice (ICJ)—the UN's principal judicial organ—to provide an advisory opinion clarifying what governments' obligations are under international law when it comes to tackling climate change.
The resolution—sponsored by the small island state of Vanuatu—was adopted by consensus and has drawn praise by media outlets, international law and environment experts, and environmental advocates for its potential to provide much-needed legal clarity in this field.
"Climate justice is both a moral imperative and a prerequisite for effective global climate action," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, praising UN member states for adopting the resolution. "The climate crisis can only be overcome through cooperation—between peoples, cultures, nations, generations. But festering climate injustice feeds divisions and threatens to paralyze global climate action."
The UNGA resolution notes the disparity thus far between the measures governments have outlined in their nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement and the actual cuts to greenhouse gas emissions required to stay within that agreement's temperature limits. It also refers to the need for greater efforts on climate change adaptation.
Under the resolution's terms, the ICJ has been asked to consider not only what states are legally required to do, under international law, to avert further climate change both now and in the future, but also to assess the "legal consequences under these obligations" when governments, both through what they do and fail to do, "have caused significant harm to the climate system and other parts of the environment."
This latter request asks specifically that the court consider what this harm has meant for both current and future generations, as well as for those countries who, by virtue of their "geographical circumstances and level of development, are injured or specially affected by or are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change."
The UNGA resolution comes at a pivotal moment for the international climate community, as governments, civil society, academia, and private actors all prepare for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change's 28th Conference of the Parties (COP 28) this November. This climate COP will seek the culmination of the first Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement, showing how close the world is to achieving that Agreement's objectives and how much work remains.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which recently wrapped up its Sixth Assessment Cycle, has already confirmed that the world is far too close to the 1.5°C limit under the Paris Agreement—while indicating that there are proven options available for averting the worst impacts of climate change, so long as governments and other stakeholders act now.
On May 8, 2023, in the BOUN'S Hotel conference, in Yaoundé, a workshop was held to launch the process of drawing up the Cameroon Country Investment Plan (CIP) on the nexus of transboundary transhumance, protected areas, peace and security, and development. Please download the final communiqué of the workshop...
Geneva and Yaoundé, 26 May 2023. The Ministry of Economy, Planning and Land Planning of Cameroon (MINEPAT) and CAFI are launching two Calls for Expressions of Interest today to all relevant implementing organisations concerned, representing a maximum of 60 million US$.
WWF is supporting the Government of Cameroon in her effort to restore more than 12 million hectares of degraded landscapes in the country. In 2017, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife committed, on behalf of the Government of Cameroon, to restore 12,062,768 ha of degraded landscapes under AFR100 and the Bonn Challenge by 2030. Of these, 80% are in the three northern regions of Adamaoua, North and Far North; with the remainder in the high plateau, Centre region, vast forest and coastal areas (Mangroves).
As part of our ongoing commitment to promoting transparent and accountable governance of climate and environmental funds, we are pleased to invite you to two upcoming online sessions. These sessions will offer valuable insights, strategies, and best practices for combating corruption, and reinforce our collective efforts to create a more sustainable future. We hope you will join us for these important discussions.
International Day for Biological Diversity, celebrated each year on 22 May, is an opportunity to not only acknowledge the crucial role healthy biodiversity plays in the survival of the planet but also to assess the nature crisis. With the theme ‘From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity,’ this year’s Day follows the historic adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework by 196 nations at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Montreal, Canada, in December 2022.
Bukavu, May 10, 2023 – The Kahuzi-Biega National Park (PNKB) is deeply saddened to announce the death of its ecoguard Alain Lukinga, born in Kakongya on June 12, 1989, who sacrificed his life for the protection of the PNKB in an armed clash in Cibumbiro between the villages of Kajeje and Lukananda in the Mudaka groupement, in Kabare territory in South Kivu.
From April 19 to 20, 2023 a workshop for the development of a national investment plan for Nigeria on transhumance and related topics was held in Abuja, NIGERIA. This workshop, funded by the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) Facilitation of the Federal Republic of Germany, aimed to...
The SWM Programme is the first international initiative to tackle the wild meat challenge by addressing both wildlife conservation and food security. It is an initiative from the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), funded by the European Union with co-funding from the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM) and the French Development Agency (AFD).
In a bid to boost indigenous people and local communities’ (IPLC) engagement in wildlife protection around Lobéké National Park in Southeast Cameroon, Lobéké Management has signed social pacts with 34 Bantu and Baka communities in the Park. Thirty-four social pacts were signed between the communities and the Lobeke Management in December 2022, with each pact corresponding to a community project worth FCFA 300,000.
This report highlights the impacts of direct as well as indirect deforestation through mining. It presents for the first time ever the deforestation embodied in the consumption of products and showcases the extensive deforestation potential that artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) can have on forest ecosystems.
A new toll road in Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province is under construction to improve access to the interior of Borneo, including to the nation’s new capital city, Nusantara. Construction of the road, however, poses immediate environmental risks, as the route cuts through a forested area with high conservation value that connects the Sungai Wain protected forest, coastal mangroves, and Balikpapan Bay. Prior to road construction, the integrated forest and coastal ecosystem supported populations of orangutans, sun bears, proboscis monkeys and Irrawaddy dolphins. Conservationists say the construction of this toll road belies the Indonesian government’s claims that the development of the new capital will be green and sustainable.
The tobacco industry causes a fifth of Zimbabwe’s forest loss. What is being done to minimise this? At the beginning of this century, the Zimbabwean government embarked on an audacious land reform programme, ostensibly to correct the injustices suffered by local people when the land was colonised. The controversial programme saw an estimated 170,000 black Zimbabwean families – mostly small-scale farmers – taking over agricultural production from about 3,000 white-owned farms.
SAN MARTÍN, Peru (AP) — The Cordillera Azul National Park on the eastern flank of the Peruvian Andes takes in a sweep of Amazon rainforest, mountains and waterfalls in a territory about the size of Connecticut, so precious that tens of millions of dollars in carbon credits have been sold in a program that supporters said would protect its trees.
To fight climate change and biodiversity loss, the new law obliges companies to ensure products sold in the EU have not led to deforestation and forest degradation. While no country or commodity will be banned, companies will only be allowed to sell products in the EU if the supplier of the product has issued a so-called “due diligence” statement confirming that the product does not come from deforested land or has led to forest degradation, including of irreplaceable primary forests, after 31 December 2020.
A number of reports have found that an Indonesian government program to establish large-scale agricultural plantations across the country has led to deforestation. More than 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) of forests, including carbon-rich peatlands, have been cleared in Central Kalimantan province for the so-called food estate program, according to a spatial analysis by the NGO Pantau Gambut. Last year, the NGO Kaoem Telapak detected 100 hectares (250 acres) of deforestation in food estate areas in North Sumatra. Villagers whose lands have been included in the program have also reported an increase in the severity of floods since their forests were cleared to make way for the food estates.
Press release 3 May 2023 | The German government will make two billion euros available for the Green Climate Fund (GCF). German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced the commitment at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin today. This makes Germany the first major donor to announce its contribution for the upcoming pledging conference for the Green Climate Fund. The conference will take place in Bonn on 5 October and will be chaired by Development Minister Svenja Schulze. The Green Climate Fund is one of the largest climate action funds of the world. The creation of the fund was an important objective of the developing countries, which have an equal say in how funds are spent on climate mitigation and adaptation projects in developing countries.
With GEF and LDCF support, Nespresso, IUCN, and TechnoServe are working together to promote more sustainable and resilient coffee farming practices in South Kivu. Antoinette Shabanyere’s 1,800-tree coffee farm in the South Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is at the forefront of efforts by local communities to adapt to climate change.
The Second Consultation Meeting (CM-2) for GCF’s second replenishment (GCF-2) was held on 27-28 April. Hosted by GCF and moderated by Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, the replenishment facilitator, the two-day virtual meeting convened over 100 current and prospective contributors where they received updates on GCF and discussed matters related to the replenishment process.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Country Representative, Suze Percy-Filippini is impressed with the progress made by the department of Forestry in the implementation of the Forest Farm Facility –FFF Program in the Choma District of Southern Province.
This case study forms part of a series of six case studies on mobilizing internal finance within Forest and Farm Producer Organization (FFPOs) prepared by forest and farm FFPOs for the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF). It describes the Jwa Ngwaane Community Cooperative Credit Union, established by the Kassena Nankana Baobab Cooperative Union (KANBAOCU) through the mobilization of 96 Village Savings and Loans Associations.
The African Regional Exchange, a three-day workshop co-organized with CIFOR-ICRAF, the Kenya Forestry Research Institute and the Kenya Forest Service, brought together farmers, bankers, governments, and development partners from across Africa to discuss ways to ensure smallholder farmers have access to the finance they need to improve and scale up sustainable forest and farm management practices.
This agrobiodiversity case study (No.6) from Zambia is the sixth of six case studies prepared by forest and farm producer organisations (FFPOs) for the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF). It describes the actions of the Choma District Tree Nursery and Growers Association (CDTNA). CDTNA represents 111 members, either individual nursery growers or collective enterprises that furnish diverse tree seedlings for forest and agroforestry restoration projects across Southern Zambia.
Oyéoussi Charles Balogoun is the Africa Representative of the NGO Panel under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The Civil Society Panel (CSO Panel) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) represents nearly 500 organisations accredited to the Convention. Charles Balogoun is also the Global President and Chairman of the Board of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Afrique Espérance. He answers ENVIRONNEMENTALES’s questions on the state of desertification in Africa.
A common vision of sustainable finance is being developed in Central Africa. The project is at the heart of an international forum scheduled for 8 and 9 May 2023 in Douala, Cameroon, under the theme « Trajectories towards sustainable finance ». An initiative of the Bank of Central African States (BEAC), in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Sustainable Banking and Finance Network (SBFN).
Delegates to the Sixth Meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development emphasized the need for forward-looking, high-impact initiatives involving all relevant actors, to enable the structural transformations Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) needs to “resume and sustain the path to 2030.”
Kenya loses 2–2.4 percent of its gross domestic product annually due to the effects of climate change, such as drought and floods according to according to a 2018 Kenya National Bureau of Statistics study. Droughts alone cost the country 8 percent of GDP every five years. Arid and semi-arid rangelands (ASALs) occupy over 80 percent of Kenya’s landscape, and are home to about 36 percent of the total human population, and seventy per cent of the nation’s livestock and 90% of wildlife. Livestock's contributions account for 80 percent of household incomes in arid lands, and 65 percent in semi-arid lands.
Sitting at the forefront of the climate crisis, forest and farm producer organizations (FFPOs) have a vital role in supporting smallholder resilience and attaining climate change and biodiversity goals. Together, their members have a transformative potential to achieve sustainable development and respond to climate change at scale.
WASHINGTON, April 18, 2022 -- The Biden-Harris Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service today announced $31.1 million for 15 projects funded through the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) that, with partnership support, aim to reduce the risk of severe wildfires, support local economies, create jobs and enhance forest and watershed health in eight states. These funds were made available through a combination of funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and annual appropriations.
The Board of Directors of the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) has announced the appointment of Eliane Ubalijoro as Director General of CIFOR-ICRAF and Director General of ICRAF. Ms. Ubalijoro is the first African woman to hold the position of Director General of a CGIAR research centre and Director General of two centres in the 60-year history of the CGIAR.
Mambomé Trésor, an indigenous Baka man of Mambele village near the Lobeke National Park is able to use the Sapelli smartphone to collect data on natural resources important to Baka; report illegal practices and document cases of human-wildlife conflicts.
Annual peatland fires in Indonesia affect ecology, air quality, nutrient distribution of the soil, and human health. A modeling study finds that under current climate change projections and with rapid deforestation in Borneo, fire risk increases by the end of the century. The findings show that deforestation is a significant factor in fire risk. While local governments can’t control global climate change, they work to stem forest loss and invest in reforestation of tropical forests and revitalization of peatlands to mitigate fire risks in the future, researchers say.
As of 30 April 2023, 44 per cent of the assessed contributions for the year 2023 had been paid to the CMS Trust Fund, which amounts to €1,426,924. The total unpaid contributions as of 30 April 2023 amount to € 3,506,882 (€ 1,779,787 for 2023 and € 1,727,095 for prior years).
Climate change is already posing a threat to the development of the poorest countries and its impacts will make it far more difficult for them to achieve progress in future. So climate action and development policy are bound up closely with each other. Without external support, developing countries and emerging economies are often not able to afford the measures needed to achieve their national mitigation targets and to adapt to the consequences of climate change.
The GEF’s adaptation support for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) is delivered through the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF). The LDCF is the only multilateral fund that focuses exclusively on the unique climate adaptation challenges of LDCs and is embraced by LDCs as their own. The fund has a strong track record of supporting LDCs to address adaptation priorities over more than two decades. It delivers targeted support to the world’s most vulnerable countries, and their people and ecosystems.
18/04/2023 A major meeting this week brought together farmers, bankers, governments and development partners from across Africa and beyond to discuss ways to ensure smallholder farmers, the backbone of the region’s food system, have access to the finance they need to improve and scale up sustainable forest and farm management practices.