It has been a couple of days since the approval of the historic climate agreement in Paris. Weary but hopeful negotiators are returning to their countries and may already have started de-briefing their respective governments.
Pundits, critics, supporters and deniers will all at this point be poring over every detail and iota of the text of the agreement and will be prognosticating over issues such as its enforceability, implementation, and financing scheme, among other things.
But there is one detail of the agreement that is not receiving as much attention as it should: we have accepted the reality of a future warmer world.
In the best case scenario, if we can keep emissions in check, it would be a world with global temperatures that would be at least a 1.5°C warmer than in pre-industrial times.
Whether you are from a developed or developing country, this is your new normal. The implication is that you will have to respond to this evolving climate regime.
This is an “equal opportunity impact” to which everyone will have to adapt. That said, there is a major differential affecting the capacity and ability of countries- and even regions to respond to this new climate regime.
The challenge is particularly acute in highly vulnerable countries such as Haití, with very low adaptive capacity. Adaptation planning and implementation will have to be scaled up to meet the demands of the new climate era.
For this reason, Haití and the Inter-American Development Bank agreed on the implementation of a program, aimed at reducing economic losses and increasing agricultural production that seeks to improve climate risk management in selected watersheds throughout the country.
The IDB has been sharpening its efforts to incorporate the assessment of climate risk into its operations. It stands to reason that as these assessments are incorporated into projects, mitigatory measures similar to those of the recently approved agriculture program will have to be applied.
Thus Haití will be paving the way for other countries and demonstrating how climate risk mitigation measures could be implemented. Moreover, the country is demonstrating the strong sense of innovation and creativity which will be required as we respond to climate change.
The other interesting aspect of this program is the mix of climate financing. The Haiti program is funded by both the Bank and the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and serves as an example of the type of collaboration and leveraging that will be needed if we are to meet the global goal of providing$100 billion per year in climate financing by 2020.
For Haití, the project is just one part of the ongoing effort to respond to climate change impacts.. It may seem small given the magnitude of resources and efforts that will be needed as we live in a warmer world, but as they say in Haití “Piti, piti, wazo fe nich li” (little by little the bird builds its nest).