Madagascar holds a pre-COP to prepare for Glasgow

By Mirindra Rakotoarisoa

On the 14th October 2021, a wide range of stakeholders got together in the conference room of the ministry of foreign affairs (with an additional large audience joining online) to discuss Madagascar’s response to the climate crisis.

The event was opened by the minister of foreign affairs, Patrick Rajoelina, who emphasized that Madagascar is a victim of climate change and has contributed little to causing the problem. The UK’s Ambassador David Ashley acknowledged the west's role and responsibilities, & the minimal contribution Madagascar has made to climate change, and that it was suffering its effects, including a climate-related famine in the south. He also laid out the UK government’s four priorities for COP of which one is “trees”: the important role that forests play in sequestering carbon and mitigating climate change.

The Country Manager of the World Bank, Marie-Chantal Uwanyiligira, talked about the latest figures and impacts on climate change that Madagascar is facing and will be facing in the future and spoke about carbon credits and other potential partnership opportunities on mitigation and adaptation.

The Ministre de l'Environnement et du Développement Durable, Dr Baomiavotse Vahinala Raharinirina, then spoke about the impacts of climate change on Madagascar and their objectives for COP26. She presented Madagascar’s proposed contributions and commitments, including GHG emission reductions relative to business as usual & increased sequestration from forest by preserving the biodiversity and reversing the trend on afforested and deforested areas.

After these official interventions, our film “Voices from the Forest: putting local people at the heart of decisions about tropical forest contribution to tackling climate change” was played. This film highlights some of the social challenges of delivering effective and equitable forest conservation and restoration to combat climate change.

Forest4Climate&People team member Mirindra Rakotoarisoa then made an intervention emphasizing the importance of conservation to tackling climate change but highlighting the social challenges of implementing effective and equitable forest conservation. Despite the global, national and regional benefits, forest conservation brings cost and these costs are borne by some of the poorest people. There is the need to go beyond the “win-win” narrative and to ensure a sufficient investment support on local livelihoods. An equitable conservation is more likely to be effective long term.

The event was then followed by a presentation and discussion with amazing panellists. Zo Andrianina Patrick Rakotomavo, Meteo Madagascar, talked about projections on how climate change will affect Madagascar and emphasize on why now is the time to act.

Then, Amélie Yan-Gouiffes from UNDP spoke about UNFCCC COPs and their relevance for Madagascar today and in the future; also on the important role of Madagascar on COP26.

The third panellist is Ando Rajaonarivelo, Ministry of Energy and Hydrocarbons. She presented the prospects for the transition away from fossil fuels, coal and the implementation of the energy transition.

Then, Romy Andrianarisoa, Groupements des Entreprises de Madagascar, talked about the contribution of the private sector in tackling climate change and showed how this sector is a leader in  tackling climate change.

The discussion was then followed by Nanie Ratsifandriamanana’s talk, WWF Madagascar, on Nature Based Solutions. Not only are NbS a cost-effective way to mitigate climate change but they also provide supports to the local livelihoods and economy. She also emphasized the important role of nature in the discussions at COP26.

Finally, Vatosoa Rakotondrazafy, INDRI, talked about the Alamino initiative and demonstrated how successful reforestation will make Madagascar a great climate leader.

The event was followed by a Q&A session and was closed with a speech by Dr Baomiavotse Vahinala Raharinirina, minister of the environment and sustainable development.

The pre-COP was helpful preparation for the delegates from Madagascar travelling to #COP26 in Glasgow.

Publication date: 21 October 2021