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  • Written by IRIN jk/rz

Philippines among countries let down by donor promises on climate change adaptation

Super Typhoon Haiyan Approaches the Philippines, 07 November, 2013. Photo: NOAA.[BRUSSELS] Yet another round of UN climate talks begins today (November 11), this time in Warsaw, occurring against the backdrop of Typhoon Haiyan, which has reportedly killed at least 10,000 people in the Philippines. But two new papers point out that funding promised to help countries adapt to climate change have been insufficient and untransparent.

In fact, from 2010 to 2011, commitments for adaptation finance decreased in the Philippines, according to a joint paper by Oxfam, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). The paper looked specifically at a 2009 commitment made by rich countries - which came to be known as “fast-start finance” - to fund developing countries’ adaptation efforts. Another recent Oxfam paper also showed that rich countries have failed to keep that 2009 promise.

At the opening of the UN talks in Warsaw, Naderev Sano, the Philippines’ climate change negotiator, reportedly announced that he would embark on a voluntary fast until there was action that would protect his country’s future.

Funds short

The 2009 fast-start finance commitment, which called for developed countries to provide US$30 billion between 2010 and 2012, was made at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Copenhagen. At the same meeting, the developed world promised to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020.

A number of think-tanks and academics have since underlined the difficulty of identifying and accounting for this money because of discrepancies in reporting, the lack of a common understanding of what “adaptation” and “vulnerability” mean, and a lack of transparency. 

  • Written by Niamh Griffin

Dublin conference learns how Mongolian herders have developed resilience to adverse climate events

Ms Bayarmaa Baljinnyam’s youngest daughter with the Baljinnyam family goat herd in Mongolia. Livestock in the country was decimated by the climate just over a decade ago. Photo: Bayarmaa Baljinnyam.When drought comes to Mongolia it can spell disaster for a country which counts 15 animals per person on its dusty plains so climate justice is far more than just a phrase for herders.

Risk reductions strategies applied in the Jinst area formed the basis for one of the case studies presented at a hunger, nutrition and climate justice conference in Dublin this week. The conference was exceptional in bringing together communities affected by climate change with key international and Irish decision makers.

Herders like Ms Bayarmaa Baljinnyam face drought linked to an average temperature rise of 1.6°C during the past 60 years. But they are also suffering the effects of increasingly severe ‘dzud’ (winter freeze) seasons which leave animals dead and families without food.

In a study co-authored with researcher Batkhishig Baival from the Nutag Action Research Institute, Ms Baljinnyam looked at the impact of the changing climate on the 2.87m population.

Predominantly a rural economy, Mongolia’s 44m camels, cattle, horses, sheep and goats are key to survival – sold for money and providing milk and skins for everyday use. In an economy in flux following the 20-year transition to the free market from the centralised Communist system, animals should be a point of stability.

So when herders in Jinst were hit with a devastating combination of climate issues resulting in a drop in livestock numbers from 125,185 in 2000 to just 24,104 in 2002, they realised they had to work together to resolve the problems.

  • Written by Niamh Griffin

Women of Timor-Leste finding their own way to pursue equality

A woman collects fish and sipu at sunset in the Dili District, Timor-Leste. UN Photo/Martine Perret. Photo ID 403761. 09/07/2009. www.unmultimedia.org/photo/A greater recognition of work being done by women in Timor Leste is needed by those in the international community according to an expert in gender equality issues at the University of Ulster.

In the run-up to the presidential elections on March 17th, specialist in violence against women in war-torn areas Aisling Swaine said women in the region have made great changes in the ten years since independence.

“The women there are finding a safe way to make change, there is a really strong women’s network,” she said, speaking before a discussion on international humanitarian law.

  • Written by Niamh Griffin

Thailand elections: poverty dominant issue, as nearly 1 in 5 live on a dollar a day

Children playing in a mountain village in Thailand. In spite of strong economic growth - about 4 per cent annually - almost one in five people work for less than the minimum wage and live on about 1000THB (€23/$33) a month. Photo: Flickr/Liv Unni Sødem.Elections are a dry business in Thailand. Sales of alcohol are forbidden from the evening before voting until polls close.

This weekend, Thais vote in a general election shadowed by rumours of a military coup or the return of an exiled politician. The alcohol ban is enforced to lessen road deaths as millions travel home to vote.

“There may even be a coup. It has happened many times in Thailand. We say we are a democracy but in fact we are not at all,” says monk Phra Sang Pen, visiting Dublin to discuss Ireland’s first Thai-Buddhist temple.

About three thousand Thai people live in Ireland. Head of the Thai-Ireland Association, Wichit Isarotaikul has lived in Dublin for 30 years. But he keeps a close eye on the country where many of his family live.

  • Written by Irish Govt Press release

Irish Minister speaks with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

Map of Burma.Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin T.D., spoke today by telephone with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the prominent Burmese pro-democracy leader and Nobel Prize winner.

According to a Department of Foreign Affairs press release today:

The Minister took the opportunity to welcome Daw Suu Kyi’s release after her many years of arbitrary detention by the Burmese regime and assured her of the importance both Ireland and the European Union attach to her continued freedom and personal safety. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi expressed her gratitude for the continued support of the Irish people.

Minister Martin and Daw Suu Kyi had a full discussion of recent events including the extremely flawed Parliamentary elections which took place in November this year, the challenges facing the Burmese people in their struggle for democracy and human rights, and the humanitarian relief efforts following the damage caused by Cyclone Giri in October.

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