European Union External Action

European Union and Timor-Leste sign USD 5.5 million Financing Agreement to help rural communities fight the negative effects of climate change

24/01/2020 - 04:06
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The European Union's “Global Climate Change Alliance +” (GCCA+) improves people’s livelihoods while fighting climate change. In Timor-Leste the GCCA+ programme will promote the take-up of rural climate-smart practices, including reforestation by rural groups, especially women.


The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation H.E. Dionisio Babo Soares and the European Union Ambassador H.E. Andrew Jacobs signed a financing agreement to support action to combat the effects of climate change in Timor-Leste. The signing ceremony took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was also attended by the Secretary of State for the Environment H.E. Demétrio de Amaral de Carvalho.  


Through its Global Climate Change Alliance + (GCCA+) programme, the EU will provide USD 5.5 million over 5 years to help rural communities to adapt to the realities of climate change.


Direct beneficiaries of the initiative are Timorese farmers who will receive support to improve climate resilience of subsistence farming.  Support will also be given for reforestation by social enterprises and rural groups, especially women, and will enhance management and monitoring capacity for reforestation process. 


The EU-funded programme will assist the Secretariat of State for Environment (SSE) to establish an internationally credible, transparent, sustainable and participative carbon capture/sequestration reward system in Timor-Leste, providing a strong economic incentive to maintain and grow forests. This will include provisions for robust carbon measurement and reporting for Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF). 


H.E. Dionisio Babo Soares, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation said: “"I am expecting that, with the projects financed under the European Development Fund, mainly the “Ai ba Futuru” project which is actually implemented by GIZ, and which is supporting planting up to 3 million trees, that in addition to that, this project, GCCA plus, which was officially signed by the government today, will continue to improve the climate resilience of subsistence farmers and address the interrelated challenges such as poverty, gender inequality, climate change impact and deforestation."


Andrew Jacobs, Ambassador of the European Union to Timor-Leste said “Climate change is a reality that is jeopardising the livelihoods of subsistence farmers in Timor-Leste. The GCCA+ programme will help them to adapt crops and growing techniques to mitigate against the negative effects of climate change. It will also help upgrade reforestation techniques and maximise the potential for women to benefit from forestry.  I'm delighted that the programme will also support the further development of carbon-trading in Timor-Leste. This has the potential to bring major economic benefits while at the same time promoting forest conservation and reforestation." 


The Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) is a flagship initiative of the European Union helping the world’s most vulnerable countries to respond to climate change. It started in just four countries with pilot projects in 2008, and has become a major global climate initiative funding close to 70 projects of national, regional and worldwide scope in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific.


GCCA+ commitments total EUR 750 million for the period 2007-2020. 


GCCA+ supports actions in more than 60 countries, of which 37 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and 39 Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The EU GCCA+ supports these countries with the implementation of commitments (the Nationally Determined Contributions/ NDCs) resulting from the Paris Climate Agreement, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the new European consensus on sustainable development.

Timor-Leste is one of the world’s vulnerable to natural disasters. The country’s mainly rural population faces increasing temperatures, extreme rainfall events and rising sea levels that threaten to exacerbate flood, storm and landslide risk, negatively impacting food security. Deforestation is also a major concern: as a result of destructive conversion for agricultural purposes, overexploitation of valuable species and use of wood as a domestic fuel by 90% of the households, it is estimated that forest cover has decreased by almost 30% between 1990 and 2010. In the five-year period 2013-2018 the European Union funded the first GCCA+ programme supporting Timorese farmers to adapt climate change through the diversification of farming products and starting agroforestry to fight land degradation.

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