UNDP is responding to the climate change challenge through the Climate Promise Initiative, by contributing to countries' capacity to make bold pledges under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. A total of 115 countries, including 28 Small Island Developing States, are benefitting from UNDP’s technical and financial support to formulate more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions in the hope of limiting average global temperature rise to a safer 1.5 °C.
On Tuesday 16 February 2021, the UNDP Country Office for Mauritius and Seychelles, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change, and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), launched a high-level dialogue with sectoral policymakers to review the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The review process, supported under UNDP’s Climate Promise Initiative, is scheduled between 16 February to 3 March 2021 and will consist of a series of cross-cutting discussions between various stakeholders including heads of ministries, parastatal bodies, communities and representatives of the private sector.
A Climate Crisis in Small Island Developing States
The Honourable Kavydass Ramano, Minister of Environment, Solid Waste Management and Climate Change, emphasized the need for urgent action noting the findings of the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service which reported temperatures around the globe during the last six years being the highest ever recorded; while 2020 was the joint warmest year along with 2016 (0.6 degrees Celsius above the 1981-2010 average).
Mr. J. Seewoobaduth, Ag. Director, Ministry of Environment, identified the major challenges faced by Mauritius as a Small Island Developing State including climate change, air temperature increase of up to 1.2 degrees Celsius, decrease in rainfall, accelerated sea level rise (5.6mm/year) above the global average (3.3mm/year), increased fish mortality and coral bleaching due to high temperatures, and increase in solid waste and greenhouse gas emission from refrigerants amongst others.
Mauritius’ Climate Ambition
The ambition in Mauritius’ first NDC launched in 2015 was a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emission by 2030. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Moheenee Nathoo, highlighted that the NDCs represent Mauritius’ commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to build resilience to adapt to impacts of climate change. She noted that the first NDC commitments were submitted to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in 2015. Having ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016 and in accordance with Article 4 thereof, Mauritius has to communicate its updated contributions every five years. It is expected that the updated NDCs will be finalized by May 2021.
The UNDP Resident Representative for Mauritius and Seychelles, Ms. Amanda Serumaga, called for collective commitment towards a low-carbon economy to reduce the likelihood of cataclysmic events ensuing from an excessive temperature increase. She highlighted that ambitious NDCs offer the opportunity to transform the short and long-term economic development of Mauritius into a green recovery, which includes nature-based solutions, promotes gender equality and youth empowerment while also being financially sustainable with complementary inputs from Government, private sector, and civil society.
The UNDP Climate Promise Initiative supports 28 Small Island Developing States
Ms. Serumaga reiterated UNDP’s pledge to work as a development partner with the Government and people of Mauritius, to advocate for green recovery and to support the formulation of ambitious NDCs, and assist in the implementation of recommended climate actions. In addition to policy level consultations, UNDP assistance will support the review and alignment to update existing climate targets. This includes the incorporation of new climate change mitigation sectors such as Concentrated Solar Power and waste management, and the National Adaptation Plan will be updated to inform the implementation of the updated NDC. To promote societal ownership and consensus of climate actions, the Climate Promise Initiative will also support awareness and educational campaigns at the national level including through the Mission 1.5 online application.
The Climate Promise initiative is a continuation of UNDP Climate Action programmes that have been ongoing over the last decade. UNDP has contributed towards achieving the targets of 35% renewable energy production by 2025 through the Green Climate Fund Battery Energy Storage System (BESS); and is supporting to enhance coastal resilience through beach profiling, the installation of artificial reefs, and the construction of a coastal wall at Quatre Soeurs.
During the first session, the UNDP Project Coordinator of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) project on Low Carbon Economy, M. Shakil Beedassy, and the Project Coordinator under the Engagement facility project, Mr. Madookur Desha, provided an overview of the UNDP Climate Promise portfolio.