Decade-long flagship programme on Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods (CEL) launched; EbA South lauded by several ministers at the Forum

Marrakech, 14 November 2016- Speakers at the High-Level Forum on South-South Cooperation on Climate Change (SSCCC) at COP 22, top officials from UN and government agencies emphasized on the growing importance of South-South cooperation for the effective implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement.

They further commended China’s role in reinforcing and boosting South-South cooperation (SSC).

The Forum was hosted by the Governments of China and Morocco, and the United Nations. It was co-organized by the United Nations Southern Climate Partnership Incubator (SCPI) Initiative and UN Environment’s International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP).

It brought together top UN and government officials and ministers from more than a dozen countries.


“We need to promote South-South Cooperation more,” said Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative on Climate Change Affairs, China, calling on international organizations to act as “bridges.” Global South should enhance exchange to share best practices and communicate policies with each other so as to complement each other. Xie called for developing countries to cooperate globally, and turn challenges into opportunities to progress together.

“China’s initiative to spur South-South cooperation is acknowledged and much welcomed. The South-South cooperation is “not in opposition to North-South or South-North cooperation. We want to assure that countries of the South are taking charge, that they have much to share and much to bring to each other”, said Salaheddine Mezouar, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Morocco and COP22 President.

Dr David Nabarro, Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change, UN, thanked China for its leadership and generous support to advance South-South cooperation and “for bringing together action on climate and action on sustainable development in such a decisive way.” Speaking about SCPI, initiated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, he said it’s about making connections, leveraging knowledge, reviewing and identifying best practices to help achieve more.

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC said South-South cooperation has the potential to make significant contribution and is rapidly becoming an integral component of international cooperation on climate change.

Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility (GEF) mentioned that South-South cooperation can drive implementation rapidly forward, and it is important to seize this opportunity.


Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director, UN Environment, in the presence of several ministers, heads of UN and government agencies announced CEL: a major South-South initiative by UN Environment and China, and led by UNEP-IEMP.

Aiming to seize the ‘power of integration’ of the SDGs, CEL is supported by China and designed to assist countries in the Global South with effective delivery of the SDGs and climate targets, while improving the livelihoods of their people and protecting their ecosystems.

It’s the poor in developing countries who are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change on the ecosystems they depend on to for food, shelter and livelihoods,” said Ibrahim Thiaw, “That is why I am delighted to announce the new 10-year programme on Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods along the Silk Road. It will not just benefit national targets, it will benefit real people.”

“It will not only cement China’s commitment to global leadership in tackling climate change and the environment, but also our shared determination to generate even more results through South-South Cooperation.”

Ministers such as those from Mauritania and Seychelles also extended their unstinted support to CEL.

“I express our support and our interest in the flagship programme on Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods by UN Environment”, said Amedi Camara, Minister, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mauritania.

Wills Agricole, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Seychelles said “The programme will bring significant benefits to countries like Seychelles, particularly through the work of the Chinese Ecosystem Research Network (CERN) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), which are already supporting capacity building in our country”

Jian Liu, Director, UNEP-IEMP said “This flagship programme is a testimony of our determination to make a real impact and provide long-lasting assistance in improving livelihoods through ecosystem conservation and restoration, while responding to the impacts of climate change.”

“It will support integration and scaling up of SSC”.


The GEF-funded project ‘Ecosystem-based Adaptation through South-South Cooperation’ (EbA South), implemented by UN Environment and executed by the National Development Reform Commission of China (NDRC), received appreciation and acknowledgement in the Forum’s distinguished dialogue, particularly from ministers of the countries where the project is piloted.

“EbA South project is an example of successful South-South cooperation”, said Amedi Camara, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mauritania. He commended the project for coupling on-the-ground action with long term research.

Wills Agricole, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Seychelles praised EbA South role in enhancing resilience and reducing vulnerability, and stated it is an example of “innovative partnerships” in South-South cooperation.”

Bishwa Nath Oli, Secretary, Ministry of Population and Environment, Nepal highlighted that the project is an example of SSC with “concrete results.”

The importance of ecosystem-based adaptation for countries in the South was also emphasized by Zahid Hamid Khan, Federal Minister for Climate Change, Pakistan.“EbA is on Pakistan’s priority list for addressing climate change”, he said.

UN Environment’s new SSC initiative CEL will help build momentum to upscale and replicate successful initiatives like EbA South. Through SSC, CEL has the potential to ‘lead by example’ and inspire other countries of the Global South for achieving their climate targets.