The United Nations Convention on Climate Change states that “the Parties shall take full account of the specific needs and special situations of the least developed countries in their actions with regard to funding and transfer of technology” (art. 4, paragraph 9). This served as the basis for the establishment of an LDC work programme by the Conference of the Parties in 2001, and to support flexibility provisions extended to the LDCs under the Convention and the Paris Agreement.
The LDC work programme at the time of the forty-eighth session of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Implementation, held in Bonn from 30 April to 10 May 2018, called for the following actions:
- Strengthening existing—and, where needed, establishing—national climate change secretariats and/or focal points to enable the effective implementation of the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol in the LDC Parties;
- Providing ongoing negotiations training to build the capacity of negotiators from the LDCs to participate effectively in the climate change process;
- Supporting the preparation of national adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs). NAPAs were structured around an eight-step process resulting in a list of discrete projects. Having completed a NAPA would make the country eligible for the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF);
- Promoting public awareness programmes to ensure the dissemination of information on climate change issues;
- Developing and transferring technology, particularly adaptation technology; and
- Strengthening the capacity of meteorological and hydrological services to collect, analyse, interpret and disseminate weather and climate information to support the implementation of NAPAs.
A Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG) was established in 2001 to provide technical guidance and support to the LDCs on the process to formulate and implement national adaptation plans (NAPs), the preparation and implementation of NAPAs, and the implementation of the LDC work programme. It also provides technical guidance and advice on accessing funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for the process to formulate and implement NAPs. At least two delegates per LDC Party are supported to participate in training workshops conducted by the LEG, subject to the availability of adequate resources. Priority is also accorded to the LDCs in other workshops and events organized under the Conference of the Parties (COP) and its subsidiary bodies. See the reports of the LEG to the Subsidiary Body for Implementation here.
The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) was established in 2001 to support the LDC work programme, including the preparation and implementation of NAPAs. It is operated by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). As of April 30, 2018, 51 countries (LDCs and former LDCs) had accessed a total of $1.25 billion for the preparation and implementation of NAPAs, the NAP process and elements of the LDC work programme. The governing instrument of the GCF, approved by the COP in 2011, determines that, in the allocation of resources for adaptation, it takes into consideration the “urgent and immediate needs of developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, including LDCs, SIDS and African States using minimum allocation floors”. The fund aims for a floor of 50 per cent of adaptation funds to be allocated to these countries. See here for more information on the LDCF and its policy and practices for graduating countries.
The LDC Group “supports LDCs to negotiate as a bloc at the intergovernmental negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change sessions, to effectively represent their collective needs”. See also the LDC Long Term Initiatives and the Least Developed Countries Universities Consortium on Climate Change (LUCCC)
At the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit, the LDC Group launched LDC 2050 Vision, a vision for delivering a climate-resilient future guided by the principles of inclusion, participation, justice and equity.
Governed by the LDC group, the UNCDF’s Local Climate Adaptive Living Facility (LoCAL) increases awareness and capacities to respond to climate change at local level, helps integrate adaptation into local planning and budgeting systems and expands the amount of finance available to local governments and their communities for locally led adaptation, through performance-based climate resilience grants. In doing so, LoCAL supports LDCs in reviewing and implementing Nationally Determined Contributions and National Adaptation Plans as well as securing direct access to Green Climate Fund for the further deployment of the mechanism. The LoCAL guidelines were endorsed by the LDC Expert Group to the UNFCCC in 2019. Find out more here.
The European Union’s Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) is designed to help the world’s most vulnerable countries, particularly LDCs and SIDS, address climate change.
Multilateral Environmental Agreements
Certain multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) take into account the special needs of LDCs or give them priority in the allocation of resources. In most cases LDCs are considered along with other categories of countries, in particular SIDS:
- Convention on Biological Diversity and its Protocols
- Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
- Minamata Convention on Mercury
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established in 1992 to help tackle global environmental problems. It administers several funds, helping developing countries and countries with economies in transition to meet the objectives of the international environmental conventions and agreements. The only LDC-specific fund managed by the GEF is the LDC Fund (see above). There are higher floors for LDCs in the allocation of the GEF Trust Fund and the GEF manages a programme for LDC and SIDS on sound management of chemicals and waste.
Sources and further information:
- UNFCCC Least Developed Countries Portal and UNFCCC, Subsidiary Body for Implementation, Forty-eighth session, Bonn, 30 April to 10 May 2018, Item 12 of the provisional agenda, “Matters relating to the least developed countries”, FCCC/SBI/2018/8
- Heather McCRay, “Clarifying the UNFCCC National Adaptation Plan Process”, World Resources Institute, 11 June 2014.
- GEF, “Progress Report on the Least Developed Countries Fund and the Special Climate Change Fund”, 24th LDCF/SCCF Council Meeting, June 26, 2018, GEF/LDCF.SCCF.24/04.
- LDC Group (includes resources for climate negotiators)
- See also, in this portal, information on support for the participation of LDCs in intergovernmental meetings on climate change and environment; and on simplified reporting under the UNFCCC.