COP21 Paris Agreement Recognizes Role of Subnational Levels of Government in Strengthening Resilience to Climate Change
  • December 15, 2015

An historic agreement to combat climate change and unleash actions and investment towards a low carbon, resilient and sustainable future was agreed by 195 nations in Paris on December 12, 2015.

The Paris Agreement aims to strengthen the world's ability to deal with the impacts of climate change, and to limit further global warming.

To reach these ambitious and important goals, the agreement recognizes the key role of subnational levels of government in strengthening resilience to climate change.

“Parties recognize that adaptation is a global challenge faced by all with local, subnational, national, regional and international dimensions, and that it is a key component of and makes a contribution to the long-term global response to climate change to protect people, livelihoods and ecosystems, taking into account the urgent and immediate needs of those developing country Parties that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.” states the agreement.

The Government of Angola, in its capacity as chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) group in the climate negotiations supported the introduction of this text during the negotiations in Bonn that preceded the final round in Paris. 

“My country, in its capacity as chair of the LDCs group in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), recognizes that there can be no adaptation to climate change without involving subnational levels of government in planning and implementation,” said Maria de Fatima Jardim, Angola's Minister of Environment. “This is the case for all countries and Angola is privileged to have the opportunity to strengthen the agreement, that we hope will contribute to a secure planet for our children and grandchildren.”

The Paris Agreement also requires appropriate financial flows to be put in place, thus making stronger action by developing countries and the most vulnerable possible, in line with their own national objectives.

The UN Capital Development Fund has developed a mechanism, called Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility (LoCAL), to enable LDCs to secure direct access the funds like the Green Climate Fund for strengthening resilience through local governments. 

LoCAL — a programme of the LDC's and supported by UNCDF, the EU Global Climate Change Alliance, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Belgian Development Cooperation,
and the Governments of Cambodia and Liechtenstein - is designed to help governments channel global climate adaptation finance to local governments. This enables local governments to cope with the increased cost of building resilience to climate change and natural disasters. This includes support for adaptive land use planning, drainage and water management; implementing resilient building regulations; retrofiing infrastructure; strengthening roads and bridges; and adapting agricultural systems. 

The programme combines performance-based climate resilience grants, which ensure programming and verification of climate change expenditures at the local level, with technical and capacity-building support. It is designed to reinforce existing national and sub-national financial and fiscal delivery systems and uses the demonstration effect to trigger further flows for local adaptation—including national fiscal transfers and global climate finance for local authorities—through their central governments. 

LoCAL is governed by the LDC governments that sit on its board. As of today, 11 Member States have joined LoCAL and sit on its board: Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Cambodia, Ghana, Lao PDR, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger and Tuvalu. At COP 21 discussions took place to sensitise the Government of Angola for LoCAL membership.