Unpredictable weather patterns, increasingly powerful and devastating tropical storms, rain fall and floods, increasingdroughts with food shortages, risingsea levels: poor populations are especially hard hit due to their geographical location and their lack of means to prepare for and adapt to changing climatic conditions. Furthermore, the effects of climate change are triggering regional migration flows in many places. There are already more than 20 million “climate refugees”.
By adopting the Paris Agreement in December 2015, the international community undertook to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius at most. The rich countries have pledged to allocate $100 billion annually, starting in 2020, for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change in developing countries. Given its climate footprint, its historical share of responsibility for global warming and its economic strength, Switzerland is expected to contribute about 1 billion Swiss francs (roughly $1 bn) per year. In May 2017, however, the Swiss Federal Council quoted a pledge of only about half that amount, between $450 and $600 million per year from 2020 (at the expense of development cooperation, whose budget is to be cut yet again). This contribution is to be supplemented by private-sector funding, though the Council said nothing about how this funding is to be mobilized.
As a member of the “Klima-Allianz”, a network of over 70 Swiss NGOs, Helvetas calls on Swiss policymakers and administration to significantly augment their climate-policy ambitions both in terms of international commitments and the reduction of CO2 emissions reduction in Switzerland itself. Financial commitments must not be borne by development cooperation, but must be met by means of additional financing instruments based on the “polluter pays” principle. Poor and exposed communities must be empowered to cope with the adverse impacts of climate change and humanitarian crisis situations, e.g. by means of climate-sensitive farming methods, drought-resistant seeds, reforestation, terracing and creating irrigation ponds. The Federal Council should advocate for 50% of the internationally available climate funding to be used for adaptation measures and for the benefit of primarily poor and particularly exposed countries and communities in the South.