Ploumen: climate agreement must focus more on world’s poorest

According to development minister Lilianne Ploumen, negotiators at the Paris Climate Change Conference must reach solid agreements to protect the world’s poorest from the consequences of climate change.

‘It’s poignant that those who contribute least to climate change are the people it hits hardest,’ said the minister. ‘Millions of people in developing countries run the risk of falling victim to droughts, flooding and other natural disasters. And the risk to women is even greater. Figures show that significantly more women and girls die or are injured in floods than men, and their health deteriorates more quickly than men’s during food shortages.’

Ms Ploumen believes that the climate agreement must not only focus on reducing emissions. It should also include measures for increasing the resilience of these vulnerable groups. ‘There are so many solutions, like helping farmers cultivate weather-resistant crops or planting forests in coastal areas to hold back the water and allow the local population to earn money from fish farming.’

The Netherlands already does a great deal to support developing countries in the battle against climate change. Since 2010 the Dutch renewable energy programme has already provided almost 17 million people in these countries with access to green energy like solar panels and clean cookstoves. Ms Ploumen wants this number to reach 50 million by 2030.

The Netherlands is also helping protect people in developing countries against the consequences of climate change, like droughts or flooding. Today Ms Ploumen announced that she was making an extra 50 million euros available to do this. This money will go to Partners for Resilience, a coalition of disaster relief, development cooperation and conservation organisations.

‘These organisations will work with the local population in countries like Mali and Ethiopia to see which climate issues they will face in the years ahead and how to tackle them,’ said the minister. ‘This could include solutions like hurricane warning systems, or training in irrigation technology. The most important thing is for local people to contribute and help find solutions. Flawless plans are no good if they don’t work in practice.’

Tomorrow the minister will be on the main stage at the Paris conference to present the Delta Coalition. This partnership aims to increase the safety of the 250 million people who live in river delta regions. It is a joint initiative by the Netherlands, Colombia and Japan, with nine other countries – Bangladesh, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Mozambique, Myanmar, the Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam – ¬acting as partners. The coalition will share knowledge, lobby for greater focus on the vulnerability of delta regions and cooperate on practical implementation. In May 2016 the coalition will adopt its work programme at an international conference on climate adaptation in Rotterdam.

While in Paris, the minister will also officially launch Climate Investor One, a new investment fund that will help businesses invest in renewable energy in developing countries. The fund is an initiative of the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO). It aims to generate one billion dollars of private investment for medium sized, renewable energy projects such as windfarms, solar energy and hydropower in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

‘Worldwide, over one million people still have no access to electricity,’ remarked Ms Ploumen. ‘So there is still a lot of work to be done. And the good thing about this fund is that it doesn’t just help locate financing, it also actively seeks out good ideas and helps turn them into financeable project proposals. Our ultimate aim is to reduce emissions by 1.7 megatonnes. That’s the equivalent of over half a million fewer cars on the roads.’