Development cooperation

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Ploumen to attend UN climate change conference in Marrakech

On 15 and 16 November, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liliane Ploumen will be in Marrakech to attend the UN Climate Change Conference. This conference follows on from the 2015 Paris summit and will focus on implementation of the agreements reached there.

‘Last year, we agreed some very ambitious goals,’ says Ms Ploumen. ‘Now’s the time to show how we plan to achieve them. For example, it’s important that countries provide better information on the action they are taking, including on climate finance. The international community has agreed to spend $100 billion a year on climate finance. Countries will need to show how they plan to do that, and whether they are on course.’

Ms Ploumen’s programme for the conference will focus on the position of women and the poorest people. She also wants to devote more attention to the role companies can play in preventing climate change. ‘The Netherlands’ message is clear,’ she says. ‘Without the business community, we won’t reach the Paris goals. That is why we’ve brought along a delegation of Dutch companies to show how they are contributing to cleaner energy and can mitigate the consequences of climate change.’

On Tuesday 15 November – Gender Day at the Marrakech conference – Ms Ploumen will attend several events focusing on the position of women. Women in developing countries are especially vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. In many of these countries, they are responsible for putting food on the table, which will become more difficult as their plot of land becomes parched and yields fewer crops. Studies also show that more women than men are the victims of floods and other natural disasters. So it is even more essential for women to have a say in the international climate negotiations. The Lima work programme on gender was therefore adopted in 2014 to strike a better gender balance among negotiators on climate issues.  The Netherlands supports this programme, and has provided funding to enable women from developing countries to attend the Marrakech Climate Change Conference as members of their countries’ delegations. Ms Ploumen will be attending a debate on continuation of the Lima work programme. She will also talk to a number of women entrepreneurs and take part in the high-level panel discussion on women’s role in tackling climate change.

On Tuesday, Ms Ploumen will take part in a panel discussion on land rights. Studies show that enhancing land rights for local people helps prevent climate change. On the same day, she will speak at a side event co-hosted by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation on the role of technology and industry and will take part in a discussion on funding developing countries’ national climate plans. ‘It’s often the poorest people in the poorest countries who are hit hardest by climate change,’ she says. ‘In Mozambique, smallholders can hardly make a living because their crops can’t survive in the ongoing drought. In Bangladesh, floods are threatening the lives of 35 million people. So it’s a very good thing that these countries’ governments are now drafting action plans to prevent this happening. But they need support in carrying them out. And that’s why it’s an important theme at the Marrakech conference.’

On Wednesday 16 November Ms Ploumen will be taking part in a discussion on women’s rights, organised by Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The minister will also have talks on a Dutch partnership  with China and a number of African countries to support bamboo cultivation by African farmers. By growing bamboo, farmers can earn a better income and help prevent deforestation. In addition, Ms Ploumen will speak at a meeting of the Africa Palm Oil Initiative to call for more sustainable palm oil production. The production of palm oil is currently one of the main causes of deforestation. The Netherlands is working with major producers like China and Indonesia to promote fully sustainable palm oil production worldwide.