Highlights and images of main proceedings for 15 November 2016



IISD Reporting Services - U.S. Center - Marrakech 2016

IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB+ meeting coverage, has provided digital coverage of selected U.S. Center events every day, during the Marrakech Climate Change Conference - November 2016.

The following side events were covered on Tuesday, 15 November 2016:

Photos by IISD/ENB | Mike Mizurakis
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Innovative Adaptation: How African Leaders are Tapping State-of-the-Art US Climate Science and Data to Build Resilience
Organized by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)

The event was moderated by Dan Irwin, NASA.

Carrie Thompson, USAID, highlighted data-sharing collaboration initiatives between NASA and USAID to provide geospatial technologies to developing countries, such as the Climate Services Partnership and SERVIR Global, which are initiatives to help developing countries to use satellite information for managing climate risks. She explained how these initiatives help to transform data into actionable information for policymakers, farmers and other stakeholders.

Birama Diarra, National Directorate of Meteorology, Mali, highlighted efforts to harness data science for enhanced climate resilience. Noting reduced rainfall in the past decades, he emphasized the importance of strengthening capacity for decision-making and adaptation. He underscored the value of involving diverse stakeholders and communicators in the implementation of data science.

Issifou Alfari, Regional Center of the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), highlighted the organization’s efforts to enhance food security, improve water management, and combat desertification across Sahelian and West African countries. He underscored the importance of a global approach, including: dissemination of information; study of potential impacts; inventory of best practices; and evaluation of technical benchmarks.

Jesca Eriyo, East African Community (EAC), presented on climate change preparedness in East Africa. She explained that adaptation is more important than mitigation as a priority in her region. She drew attention to areas of cooperation between the EAC and USAID, such as trade, industrial development, food security, environment and energy. She highlighted challenges for adapting to climate change in the region, such as weak institutional capacity and lack of data.

Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (ICRC), pointed to a North-South academic collaboration that has enabled a record of extreme events around the world to be transmitted to ICRC within two weeks.

During discussions, participants addressed, inter alia: use of numerical models to predict and forecast precipitation in Eastern Africa; support for renewable energy entrepreneurs and startups in Africa; updating of the timeliness and accuracy of information gathered by national meteorological services in Eastern Africa; and mechanisms for and challenges of information dissemination.

Panel (L-R): Birama Diarra, National Directorate of Meteorology, Mali; Jesca Eriyo, EAC; Issifou Alfari, CILSS; and Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, ICRC

Ashley Allen, US State Department, introduced the panel on innovative adaptation.

Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, ICRC, said that the Red Cross is composed of a network of 17 million volunteers in over 190 countries.

Moderator Dan Irwin, NASA

Carrie Thompson, USAID

Issifou Alfari, CILSS, consulting with Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, ICRC, during the panel session.

Birama Diarra, National Directorate of Meteorology, Mali, called for increased training for climate expertise and data quality control in the application of climate data.

Participants during the event

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Addressing Climate through Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Energy
Presented by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, USDA, noted the vital role that agriculture and forestry play in climate change, as both a source of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and a potential carbon sink. He highlighted the USDA’s Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry programme, which partners with farmers, land owners and businesses to reduce US GHG emissions. He underscored the opportunities of the agricultural and forestry sectors to increase resilience and productivity.

William Hohenstein, Director, USDA Climate Change Program, highlighted the Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry programme as an important contributor to the US Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) commitment of 26-28% GHG emission reductions. He emphasized the USDA’s role in reducing emissions and storing carbon. He said that the programme’s objective of 220Mt CO2eq emission reductions would contribute 2% towards the US NDC.

Further elaborating on the specific Building Blocks of the programme, Bianca Moebius-Clune, USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), underscored the goals of the Soil Health building block. She noted that implementation of regenerative soil health management systems will sequester carbon and rebuild soils to increase agricultural productivity.

Dana Ashford-Kornburger, USDA-NRCS, underlined the principles and goals of the Nitrogen Stewardship building block. She outlined how the USDA will reduce emissions by 7 million metric tons of nitrous oxide by 2025, and will enroll and maintain 64 million acres of cropland and pasture land under nutrient management plans. She also called attention to potential co-benefits in improved water quality and fertilizer efficiency.

Fred Petok, Rural Development Energy Programs, USDA, emphasized the goals of the Livestock Partnership building block, noting the objective to install 500 anaerobic digesters on dairy, pork, and poultry farms in the US.

Emily Wimberger, California Air Resources Board, underscored the importance of the California agricultural sector in addressing US emissions. She noted that California has prioritized Climate Smart Agriculture programmes, investing US$180 million in public funds since 2014.

During discussions, participants addressed, inter alia: the impact of methane flaring; the potential of soil for carbon sequestration; regulatory and financial processes necessary for methane capture; and the potential impact of the US federal government transition on the Building Blocks programme.

Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, USDA, emphasized the importance of private-sector partnerships to the success of the Building Blocks programme.

Emily Wimberger, California Air Resources Board, stated that California has the fourth largest food production sector, with US$47 billion production in 2015.

William Hohenstein, Director, USDA Climate Change Program, stated that the Building Blocks programme must demonstrate real and durable benefits.

Noting that NRCS is working with other agencies to reduce nitrous oxide emissions by 7 million metric tons of CO2eq by 2025, Dana Ashford-Kornburger, NRCS, explained that mitigation efforts should focus on, among others, corn-producing states, and providing technical assistance to producers.

Participants during the event

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Promoting the Central Role of Women in Clean Energy Entrepreneurship and in Addressing Climate Change
Organized by wPOWER Hub

The event was moderated by Linda Davis, wPOWER Hub at the Wangari Maathai Institute, who highlighted that 1.3 billion people still lack access to affordable reliable electricity.

Dwight Bush, US Ambassador to Morocco, underscored that inefficient lighting and cooking methods contribute to nearly four million annual deaths globally from respiratory illnesses, affecting women and children in particular.

Wanjira Mathai, Director, wPOWER Hub, stressed that clean cooking stoves have co-benefits addressing 10 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. She emphasized the importance of having the right partners to engage in a common agenda on advocacy for women.

Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, UN Environment, underscored the need to adopt a human rights and social justice approach when addressing the role of women in the clean energy revolution. She highlighted major barriers to women’s entrepreneurship in Africa, such as ownership and control of land. She explained how these barriers can hinder women’s access to wind and biomass potential on the land.

Bridget Burns, Women’s Environmental and Development Organization (WEDO), stressed the importance and central role of women in renewable energy policymaking. She cautioned against transitioning from dirty energy jobs mostly held by men to clean energy jobs maintained by men, without providing opportunities for gender inclusion. She observed that the evidence of the links between gender equality and climate change are overwhelming.

Rudy Gharib, Power Africa, stressed the importance of bringing men into gender inclusion discussions and panels. She observed that Memorandum of Understandings and Letters of Intent between global partnerships are increasingly focusing on renewable energy and gender inclusion. She also highlighted that decisions about innovation, entrepreneurship and education need to include women.

Panel (L-R): Wanjira Mathai, Director, wPOWER Hub; Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, UN Environment; Bridget Burns, WEDO; and Rudy Gharib, Power Africa

Wanjira Mathai, Director, wPOWER Hub

Linda Davis, wPOWER Hub, highlighted that 600000 deaths in Africa annually can be attributed to household air pollution from the traditional use of solid biomass.

Bridget Burns, WEDO, noted that lack of access to land and justice for women can represent extreme barriers to involvement in the renewable energy revolution.

Rudy Gharib, Power Africa, underscored that change is slow but that change is coming in women’s empowerment.

Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, UN Environment, called for promoting women’s entrepreneurship in the context of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Dwight Bush, US Ambassador to Morocco

Amanda McCarty, NOAA, presented the panelists.

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