Azadeh Farajpour-Javazmi, Alumna of Göttingen & Scientific Associate at FAW/n – Research Institute for Applied Knowledge Processing
Climate protection is a question of survival for humanity as we know it today. The limits of Earth’s capacity are being reached faster and faster. The extreme and sudden changes of climate patterns adversely affect the world. Many studies have shown that the volume of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), e.g. CO2 influences this issue in a strongly negative way. The industrialized countries have been the primary emitters of GHG emissions for a long time and are consequently held responsible for climate change, though China is by now the greatest emitter. Yet the main victims are the people in developing countries: 100 million people in coastal and drought areas are at risk due to heat and rising sea levels. Since their livelihood is threatened, up to 140 million people could be displaced from their homes due to climate change by 2050, according to World Bank. At the same time, 600 million people in Africa still have no access to electricity.
To this extend, climate change is closely linked to development policy and programs. What is needed is therefore a robust implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 that is compatible with climate protection. Economic growth for development must be organized to be climate-neutral or even climate-positive. In fact, climate protection measures are particularly more effective in developing and emerging countries than in industrialized countries. However, there is hardly a chance to implement the SDGs by 2030 (at best by 2050). Also, the present politics will not lead to a climate-neutral economic growth in developing countries.
The partner countries in the Global South require extensive support but the developed countries are not able and not willing to finance the process. Therefore, along with development cooperation programs such as the Marshall Plan with Africa launched by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), influential partners in politics and state, economy and business as well as society and NGOs need be won to provide the necessary resources, in particular financially. In other words, significant voluntary contributions of non-state actors are needed to effectively complement government efforts. Privately-funded, high-quality GHG emissions compensation projects can effectively support partner countries in climate protection and their development (through extensive ecological, social and economic co-benefits). They are a crucial element with which climate change will be mitigated and development can simultaneously be achieved.
With these considerations in mind, the BMZ launched the Development and Climate Alliance in autumn 2018. The aim of the alliance is to promote development and simultaneous climate protection. It seeks to shift public attention on international development and climate protection efforts. In addition, it is an institutionalized platform for non-governmental engagement, in particular for the private sector. The members voluntarily compensate CO2 emissions in high- quality projects in developing countries, e.g. afforestation, reforestation and humus formation in agriculture. One example is projects on preservation of mangroves. Mangroves bind up to 5 times more CO2 than other forests and protect the neighboring lands against flooding. Sadly enough, one third of mangroves worldwide are already destroyed. These projects generate jobs and source of income for those looking after the mangroves. These kinds of projects inherently yield enormous social and economic co-benefits, thereby enabling prosperity for many people. Looking ahead, the members of the alliance can hopefully contribute to a better future.