Reflection on Youth Forum in Indonesia Pavilion, COP21

Reflection on Youth Forum in Indonesia Pavilion, COP21

Spot me at Youth Forum in Indonesia Pavilion, COP21

Spot me at Youth Forum in Indonesia Pavilion, COP21

While I was still in Malaysia preparing for COP21, I received a short email from Adrian and Lastrina asking if I am keen to share my climate initiatives and experiences for the coming Youth Forum event organized by Indonesian Pavilion in COP21.

Well, the moment I say “Yes” is the day I am glad I did it.


Coffee, Climate and People

Coffee, Climate and People

Coffee, Climate and People

Coffee, Climate and People

I have decided to attend one of the session they organized that is related to Coffee and Climate. I am not a coffee lover but I am curious of how climate change may impacts coffee’s life-cycle?

I decided to grab some of their booklets to read. Based on Coffee Barometer 2014 report prepared by Humanist Institute for Co-operation with Developing Countries (HIVOS), coffee is ranked as one of the world’s most valuable agricultural commodities with 80% of coffee produced in the world is traded internationally amounts to USD 33.4 billion and retail sales may sum up to USD 100 billion.

Apparently, Arabica and Robusta (please learn the difference) are two most commonly produced coffee beans in the world where Arabica are commonly grown at high altitudes in Latin America [including Brazil] and Northeast Africa [accounts for 60% of world production] and Robusta, commonly grown in humid areas at low altitudes in Asia, Western and Central Africa and Brazil [currently encompasses up to 40% of world production]. Four countries dominated the global coffee production, Brazil (35%), Vietnam (15%, world’s largest Robusta coffee produce), Indonesia (9%) and Colombia (7%).

Coffee production provides livelihood for 20 – 25 million farming families. The Barometer report stated coffee is cultivated in more than 80 countries in Central and South America, Africa and Asia. Well, not to be surprised these are the regions the developing countries which are prone to climate-induced disasters.

According to recent research published in Journal Plos One, by 2050, yields of Arabica bean – which accounts for 75 percent of the coffee produced worldwide – in some countries are expected to fall by up to 25 percent. Whereas Uganda produces both coffee beans are also at threat with reduction of suitable land to produce the specific climate growing coffee beans. Coffee needs an annual rainfall of 1500-3000mm. The ideal temperature range for growing coffee is 15-24 degree Celsius for Arabica coffee and 24-30 degree Celsius for Robusta. With the increasing global temperature predicted by IPCC, these coffee beans are facing more heat stress and water shortages.

Sustainability of coffee are becoming one of the dominant factors of brand choice other than consumer’s taste and price quality considerations. This can be verified via the implementation of voluntary standards systems (VSS).  The Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA) study confirms that certified coffee and cocoa farms, perform better economically and their farmers are better trained and pursue more environmentally friendly practices in comparison to non-certified farmers. But the success rate depend on local context and the entry cost can be challenging for small holders.

In all coffee producing countries, 70% coffee producers are small scale farmers. They face particular challenges in building their livelihoods from agriculture and in overcoming poverty. Generally, these coffee growers are:-

  • Not Well Organized
  • Lack of Market Information and Bargaining Power
  • Low and Volatile Prices for their Green Beans
  • Increasing Production Costs (rising prices of fertilizers, transportation, abour, discourage entrepreneurial activity and necessary long term investments in their farm)

Addressing climate change in the coffee sector and overcoming poverty require enhanced cooperation and communication between various stakeholders (companies, donors, farmers, researchers). Interestingly, in 2010, “The initiative for Coffee & Climate (C&C)” has initiated holistic projects focusing on how coffee production can be improved while simultaneously increasing the coffee resilience of growers in coffee- producing landscapes. They have pioneered four pilots in various regions including Guatemala, Vietnam, Tanzania and Brazil with reaching out to more than 4,000 farmers. These initiatives are also supported by some of the top ten coffee roasters that dominate almost 40% of the coffee consumption in the world; including three largest transnational corporations – Nestle, Mondelez and DE Master Blenders 1753.

Written by: Jolene Journe T.

High Level Meeting on Climate Resilience

High Level Meeting on Climate Resilience

This is Maldives. One of the 48 Island Countries that are prone to climate-induced disasters. They are small and fragile. Inhabited with 345,023 people. Adapted from Google Map.

Maldives: One of the Small Island States that are vulnerable to climate-induced disasters. They are small and fragile. Inhabited with 345,023 people (World Bank, 2013). Image Adapted from Google Map (2016)

It was yesterday’s High Level Meeting on Climate Resilience that sparked my interest of wanting to understand climate change impacts on small islands, least developed countries (LDCs) and African Countries and the importance of Paris Agreement to these countries.

“We are learning from our failures. Most of our initiatives come from our hard lessons. Politically and physically. More towards physical i.e. climate induced disasters.” says, Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

According to IPCC and other scientific studies, climate change impacts are growing and heavily affecting small islands and least developed countries. For instance the islanders are suffering from sea level rise, salt-water encroachment onto their fertile soil, ocean acidification, depletion of marine food source, coral reefs’ destruction and many more.

On the other hand, least developed countries such as African continent are experiencing huge challenges in the area of water, agriculture, health, coastal and preservation of biodiversity due to the impacts of climate change.

“As a Pacific Island nation, we are forced to adapt to climate change not by choice but necessity. For us, capacity building is our priority challenge. Talk about being climate resilience. What does climate resilience mean to the small island? Resilience means to build better livable island. How are we going to adapt to this while we are eroding. What we are facing already since 2011 to 2015 is the warmest period on the record. This year is the hottest weather ever.”says, Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa.

He further explained his concern over the sea-level rise. According to third conference of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Samoa, it is reported there is an estimation of sea-level rise up to four times the global average and this continues to be the most pressing threat to their environment and socio-economic development with annual losses at the trillions of dollars due to increased vulnerability.

In the meeting, Samoa and other island nations agreed to support Paris agreement if they recognize the vulnerability of the islands and warrant protection.

For small islands and LDCs, Paris agreement is essential as these are vulnerable countries with minimal resources compared to most of us living on the land that are thousand times larger. Aiming for ‘1.5 degree Celsius’ is crucial for them to ensure survivability of their people. Tuvalu countrymen put high hope on Paris agreement. If there is no global action today (in reference to Paris Agreement), 75% of its people would want to leave Tuvalu. (There are only 9,876 people inhabiting in Tuvalu! source: World Bank, 2013).

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt’s president defends Africa’s interest on climate change. The cost of putting Africa to low carbon growth is no less than $USD 12 billion dollars a year until 2020. African continent lacks the means and resources that will boost their economic development. Hence, Africa emphasized the urgency of adaptation with due consideration of huge challenges in this regard where, adaptation is part of global responsibility.

During this high level meeting, Netherlands agreed to contribute directly of Euro 50 million to climate resilience projects for small island states and LDCs whereas German has contributed Euro 1 billion worldwide on climate resilience projects.

Written by: Jolene Journe T.

The Declaration on Agricultural Diversification

The Declaration on Agricultural Diversification

On 7th December 2015, The ceremony of “The Declaration of Agricultural Diversification” was held at Paris in conjunction with Paris COP21. The ceremony was graced by The Honourable Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, former Prime Minister of Malaysia and YABhg Tun Jeanne Abdullah with an aim to address one of the most pressing issues to humanity – food security.

The Honourable Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, former Prime Minister of Malaysia and YABhg Tun Jeanne Abdullah officiated the Declaration of Agricultural Diversification

The Honourable Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, former Prime Minister of Malaysia and YABhg Tun Jeanne Abdullah officiated the Declaration of Agricultural Diversification

The event was a success and it was also graced by several honorable mentions including Dr. Sayed-Azam Ali, CEO of Crops for the Future (CFF); Dr. Trevor Nicholls, Chief Executive of Centre of Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI); Dr. David Molden, director general of International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development; Dr. José Joaquín Campos A. Director General of Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) and Dr. Setta Tutundjian, Director of Partnerships & Knowledge Management, International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), UAE.

It was 11,500 thousand years ago, we were once the hunters and foragers of the earth. We evolved and moved to an agricultural way of living that lead us to industrialization and green revolution. All these advancement lead to the unprecedented growth of human population and global greenhouse emissions that were projected to increase beyond the “safe limit” of 2 degree celsius targeted by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Food security is a pressing issue when it comes with climate change. A hotter climate requires more resilient agriculture, food security, enhanced nutrition, environmental sustainability, shared knowledge and poverty alleviation.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda (SDA 2030) has provided a framework for sustainable development via 17 Sustainable Development Goals and many of which relate to agriculture. As yet, there is no plan on how agricultural diversification can contribute to the SDA 2030 for our future climate.

Today, Prof. Sayed Azam-Ali showed us how CFF helps to meet the needs of a hotter world and contribute to SDA which can be done via Global Action Plan for Agricultural Diversification (GAPAD). The purpose of GAPAD is to address the following specific SDGs including:-

  • SDG 2: Zero Hunger
  • SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13: Climate Action
  • SDG 15: Life on Land
  • SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals

As we learn that half of our diet comes from four major food crops including wheat, rice, maize and soybean, we also learn that these food crops are grown in a limited number of exporting countries which rely heavily on the high utilization of fertilizers and irrigation. Monoculture is not the solution to address food security, we need diversification.

In addition, when climate changes, people will look to mountains for food security and biodiversity. Animals and plants are migrating when the earth gets hotter. Mountain provides diverse physiology and endemic crops with huge amount of traditional knowledge. Sadly, these treasures are rapidly being replaced with major staple foods. Hence, there is a need of shifting to higher yields of mountain products starting now.

So far, we have identified half a million plant species on the planet and introduced a diversifying agricultural system that will help to strengthen the climate resilient platform for local markets, consumers and producers.

During the declaration, Dr. Trevor Nicholls has highlighted the importance of having agricultural diversification in Africa and South-East Asia regions as agriculture is their main source of income. The common challenges faced by farmers in these regions include lack of climate smart technologies to address new pests and diseases, and availability of fertile soil and water. For him, diversification is a risk mitigation measure. It diversifies one’s diet, and improves one’s income and reduces climate risks.

Dr. David Molden has also highlighted the importance of agricultural diversification in mountain regions especially Afghanistan, India, Myanmar, Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal and China. The highlands in these regions are the largest reserves of ice and snow which generate freshwater that helps to sustain 1.3 billion people living downstream. Notably, there are 3 to 4 billion people relying on these water sources for food production and diversification of agriculture shows to bring more opportunities for women in the mountains as a new source of income.

After listening to the experts, I wonder if we would still have any opportunity to choose in the future if we want to “Eat to Live or Live to Eat”?

“Today, agricultural diversification should not be seen as a choice but a necessity in the future. Climate resilient farming is the future.” – Dr. David Molden.

“Half of the species in the world have helped our ancestors to survive till now. Feeding the hotter world is very timely. We are convinced the benefits of this declaration, for the world” – Dr. Setta

In the end, I could not agree more with Dr. David Molden and Dr. Setta closing statements.

MYD members in support of The Declaration of Agricultural Diversification with The Honourable Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, former Prime Minister of Malaysia and YABhg Tun Jeanne Abdullah.

MYD members in support of The Declaration of Agricultural Diversification with The Honourable Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, former Prime Minister of Malaysia and YABhg Tun Jeanne Abdullah.

Written by: Jolene Journe T.

Reflection on Leader’s Event

Reflection on Leader’s Event

[30th November 2015, Le Bourget Paris] It is a new start and a new hope to many when 150 heads of state each presented 3 minutes of their country’s statement at “La Loire” Plenary. The statements are presented in support of forming a universal agreement on climate that aims to limit the increase of average global temperature to below 2°C.

For each nation’s full statements made at the Leaders Event, click here.

157 out of 183 INDCs were submitted as of 1st December 2015 and that covers up to 97.9% of the global emissions. There is a significant gap between developed and developing countries to reach a consensus on combating climate change especially in the areas of capacity building, finance, equity, technology transfer, mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage. Hence, there is a need of establishing this Paris agreement where differentiation in equity and responsibility are considered in these areas.

Here are some interesting statements made by several Heads of State that I have jotted down:-

H.E. Mr. Juan O. Hernández, President of Honduras, Central America

Deep condolences to Paris. 50% of our countries are covered by forest. However we are deforesting the tropics. Because of hurricane, we lost 25% of our GDP we also lost 7,000 human lives. Today, El Nino and El Nina show that Climate Change is not an environmental issues but also a hard economic migration. Climate Change is a life and death issue. Due to droughts, we lost many pine forests that bring plague and emergency food aid to 275,000 people who experienced the effect of Climate Change.

“The figures don’t add up. Do you think we are equally responsible? We are not. As far the causes and effects are our concern, we are not equally responsible. It is not clearly defined.”

Our commitment as Honduras is this, we will still reduce our emissions by 50%. In the course of two years our Renewable Energy should increase from 30% to 55%. We want to reduce household wood consumption.

We appeal to the country’s and corporates that emit the most CO2: How much money do you need to satisfy your greed? Enough is enough, Honduras has suffered from your doing.

We need to look into [REDD+] and [Warsaw Loss and Damage] mechanism aspects. We need to implement CBDR and support adaptation. All these must be legally binding. Global temperature should NOT increase more than 1.5 degree celsius. There is no Earth B. We need to ACT NOW.

Her Excellency Ms. Simonetta Sommaruga, President of Switzerland

Switzerland is also directly affected by climate change. Climate change pose a significant threat to Switzerland. We need to limit the increase of global temperature below 2ºC and boost all countries resilient against Climate Change. Paris provides us the opportunity to produce global climate agreement. agreement that requires to be equal, having common rules that will reunite all nations moving towards low carbon societies.

Switzerland supports INDC and 5 years cycle. Climate finance, it is essential. Support countries in need is crucial. We must provide supports to countries who need it. Switzerland announce our intend to reduce 50% of greenhouse emissions based on 1999 by 2030 with the help of international mechanism and standard.

Furthermore, Switzerland more than tripled its public climate finance between 2009 and 2014, and remains committed to mobilising its fair share of the targeted USD 100 billion per year by 2020. Switzerland believes that support for adaptation is important, particularly in the most vulnerable countries. Therefore we have allocated over 50 percent of our climate finance to adaptation.

Switzerland will formalise its entire pledge of USD 100 million to the Green Climate Fund by the end of January 2016 at the latest, and has already made its first contribution. We strongly urge other Parties to do the same. Support for the countries most in need is crucial. Therefore, Switzerland will also increase its annual contribution to the Least Developed Countries Fund by 75 percent and provide USD 6.25 million by 2018.

His Excellency Mr. Antoni Martí Petit, Head of Government of Andorra

The UN are firmly to tackle global issues in global angle. We need to tackle all together. Andorra is a small country. We understand we need to think globally and act locally. Andorra income comes from Eco-Tourism, from snow and all. Climate Change causes less rainfall and more melting ice.

We are now focusing on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Our schools are relying on solar and hydraulic energy which encompasses 10% of our GDP. The government is committed itself to its mobility program, adoption of electric vehicles. Now (as of 2015), 50% of our cars are electric cars. We plan to reduce our carbon emissions by 37% by 2030.  

Andorra is a small country, therefore, we as a small country, we have limited capacity. Andorra wants to be part of Climate Change solution.

“To conclude, if in Paris, we postpone solution, it will be too late. Paris is today, the world is looking to us and the future generation is expecting more of us. We cannot disappoint them”

His Excellency Mr. Abdelmalek Sellal, Prime Minister of Algeria

Climate change just like terrorism knows no border. Algeria been facing terrorism for many years. Climate Change is one of the causes of cross-border crime. During our time in Durban at South Africa, we agreed at Paris we will adopt binding agreement on Climate Change, keeping global temperature below its dangerous margin.

There is no plan B. We have no planet B. Algeria is anxious. Once again, reiterate its determination, to ensure international agreement rooted in fairness today and future, Algeria submitted INDC which reflects their commitment, energy transition based on clean energy including Renewable Energy. Algeria, which has considerable Renewable Energy stocks via development over the last few years, it is also future focused decision, well thought industrial plan. Algeria look forward to work with you to mitigate and adapt Climate Change. Let us make sure here in Paris, we adopt the necessary decision to put an end to this planetary disaster.

Her Excellency Ms. Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile

One day receives rain of 14 years. We have experience highest temperature ever. We have low emissions already. Climate change is not an environmental problem but a social issue and perhaps is the political issues that will gather us to work together for the next few years. We recognize Climate Change is a global issues. We have lengthy coastal that require protection in order to protect largest marine in the world. We also actively invite you to come over and support conservation of marine.
We look forward to ambitious, differentiated, transparent and complete binding agreement at Paris COP21.

Christine Figueres: Paris is the city of light. Paris is the beacon of hope to the world, lighting its way to better humanity.

Christine Figueres: Paris is the city of light. Paris is the beacon of hope to the world, lighting its way to better humanity.

Before the commencement of the Leader’s event. Christine Figueres, executive secretary of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) presented a short speech saying “at Paris, we must capable of standing in solidarity as the eyes of the world are on us. Not figuratively but literally. We must come together in combating climate change and to support developing world in poverty eradication, capture the problem with agreeable milestones and predictable outcomes.” She further highlighted Paris as the city of light. Positively she believes Paris is the beacon of hope to the world, lighting its way to better humanity.

It is my first time at COP but I believe this year would be different. I hope to be able to be part of this golden moment to witness the adoption of Paris Agreement that is workable for both developed and developing countries.

Written by: Jolene Journe T.