BRIEFS By Nan McCurdy Record Investment in Water and Sewage in 2020 2020 will again be a record year in investment in water and sanitation projects, both urban and rural, of nearly US$115 million. ENACAL President Ervin Barreda told INFORME PASTRAN, “Never before in the history of Nicaragua has any government been able to execute up to 41 projects simultaneously with an investment of this magnitude.” With this budget ENACAL will finish 11 drinking water systems in Bilwi, Bluefields, Acoyapa, Santo Tomás, El Rama, La Esperanza, Rivas, Catarina, Niquinohomo, San Juan de Oriente and Cusmapa, benefiting 38,000 families. “Additionally, we are going to finish eight sewage systems in Bilwi, Acoyapa, Santo Tomás, Masaya, Juigalpa, Barrio La Primavera, Condega and Totogalpa, benefiting 39,000 families. “We will start 11 new drinking water projects in Jinotepe, León, Nueva Guinea, Nandaime, Altagracia, Moyogalpa, Tola, San Juan del Sur, Quilalí, Wiwilí and Las Sabanas, reaching 94,600 families,” said Barreda. This year ENACAL will start 15 sewage projects in Chichigalpa, El Viejo, El Rama, La Esperanza, Nueva Guinea, Rivas, Nandaime, Bluefields, Catarina, Niquinohomo, San Juan de Oriente, Tola, Altagracia, Moyogalpa and San Juan del Sur, benefiting 41,000 families. (Nicaragua News, 1/8/20) Improvements in Health in 2019 On Jan. 8 the Ministry of Health presented the 2019 National Health Indicators for Women and Children. The report states that maternal mortality decreased 13% in comparison to 2018; infant mortality fell 6.5% and neonatal mortality 4.7%. Vertical transmission of HIV from mother to child decreased 83%; uterine cervical cancer mortality was reduced 9.7%; and breast cancer 27.4%. Health Minister Carolina Dávila said, “In 2019 we made significant progress in improving health indicators. This was due to the Family and Community Health Model that Nicaragua is implementing throughout the country”. (Nicaragua News, 1/9/20) Ensuring Food Security The Ministry of Agriculture (MAG) presented the 2020 Work Plan designed to guarantee national food security and access to healthy and safe food. The Plan contemplates the development and strengthening of the Strategic Production Model through creative entrepreneurship in a social, family and associative economy; continued promotion of sustainable agricultural production and strengthening of national and international trade in agricultural products. Minister Edward Centeno said, “This year the institution will be implementing a series of actions aimed at developing agro-ecological production in order to guarantee better living conditions for the population.” The Work Plan is part of the Food and Nutritional Sovereignty and Security Model that the Nicaragua Government is implementing throughout the country. (Nicaragua News, 1/10/20) Nicaragua Prioritizes Protected Areas The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA) announced that US$2 million will be invested in 2020 in protected areas of the country. MARENA Minister, Sumaya Castillo explained that with support of the Nicaragua Tourism Board (INTUR), the Production, Consumption and Commerce System, and Guardabarranco environmental movement, municipal staff members will be trained on care of wildlife reserves and ecological parks. Castillo noted that “for the Nicaragua Government our protected areas are a priority in the fight against climate change, this is why we will be emphasizing the practice of sustainable tourism and commerce in our natural reserves.” (Nicaragua News, 1/9/20) Growth in Free Trade Zone Exports The Export Procedures Center (CETREX) reported that, in 2019, Free Zone companies generated US $1.7 billion in sales, representing a 5% growth in comparison to 2018. Alfredo Coronel, vice president of the National Free Zones Commission explained that textile companies were the main exporters, representing 11.96% growth over 2018. (Nicaragua News, 1/10/20) More Support to Small Businesses The Ministry of Family Economy (MEFCCA) announced that the “One Nation, One Product” project will be providing technical support to 50,000 small creative businesses nationwide for the development and implementation of business plans, as well as funding to participate in national and international business fairs and access to digital marketing platforms. This initiative is part of the Creative Economy Model that the Nicaragua Government is implementing throughout the country. (Nicaragua News, 1/10/20) Nicaragua Supports Affordable Housing The first week of January the Nicaragua Institute of Urban and Rural Housing (INVUR) presented its Institutional Work Plan for 2020 whose main objective is to implement the Social Housing Fund that provides incentives and technical support to 2,500 families for affordable housing. INVUR Director Olivia Cano said, “The government is committed to build decent affordable housing for families in high risk living conditions. Over the past thirteen years 130,000 homes have been built restoring the rights of Nicaraguans to decent housing.” (Nicaragua News, 1/13/20) More Support for 500 Small Coffee Growers The Ministry of Family Economy (MEFCCA) is supporting 500 small coffee growers in Nueva Segovia, Madriz, Matagalpa and Boaco departments by allocating US$88,521 for the purchase of pulping machines and electronic scales. The financing is part of the Strategy for the Development and Transformation of Coffee Growing that the Government is implementing in support of sustainable development of the sector. (Nicaragua News, 1/9/20) Potable Water for Rivas In January, the Nicaragua Water and Sewage Company (ENACAL) began work on the potable water and sanitation system in Rivas department, benefiting 10,100 inhabitants. The US$4,565,577 project is being financed by Nicaragua’s Emergency Social Investment Fund (NUEVO-FISE) and the European Investment Bank. (Nicaragua News, 1/10/20) Food Security on the Atlantic Coast The Ministry of Family Economy (MEFFCA) presented the results of the Support for Increase of Productivity, Food and Nutrition Security Project on the Nicaragua Caribbean Coast (PAIPSAN-CCN) which found that in four years production of bananas and plantain grew by 151.15%, basic grains by 26.12% and vegetables by 147.5%. The Nicaraguan government, with support from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), spent US$33.9 million benefitting 74,130 inhabitants in both autonomous regions of the Atlantic Coast. (Nicaragua News, 1/13/20)
NICARAGUA'S MESSAGE AT THE COP 25
By Dr. Paul Oquist Translated by Tortillaconsal.com [Editor’s Note: Nicaragua’s message to the Nov. 11-22, 2019 UN Climate Change Conference, COP25, seems particularly relevant as our first blog of 2020 due to the fires still raging in Australia, Time Magazine’s naming of young climate change activist Greta Thunberg as the Person of the Year, and the growth around the world of grassroots “Extinction Rebellion” actions. Nicaragua represents the perspective of countries which contribute the least to the production of greenhouse gases, but are most vulnerable to their climate changing effects.]
December 11th 2019
Dr. Paul Oquist Kelley Minister-Private Secretary for National Policies Presidency of the Republic of Nicaragua
Madam President Your Excellencies, Ministers Special Guests
The President of the Republic of Nicaragua, Comandante Daniel Ortega Saavedra, and Vice President Compañera Rosario Murillo Zambrana, send their greetings and best wishes for the success of this COP, aimed at achieving a higher level of commitment and climate action.
Common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capacities are not political positions but objective historical and contemporary realities. To maintain that we are all historically responsible for climate change would be tantamount to saying that we all participated equally in the Industrial Revolution, as well as in the massive accumulation of capital resulting from it. This was when most of our countries suffered at that time the yoke of colonialism and neocolonialism, as well as the slave trade and the exploitation of slave labor, which also contributed to the historical accumulation of those responsible.
To maintain that we are all equally and universally responsible for greenhouse gas emissions today, is equivalent to saying that the 100 countries with the lowest emissions that account for 3% of the total, have the same responsibility as the ten countries with the highest emissions that account for 72% of the total. At the same time, it is equivalent to saying that most countries with less than one ton of CO2 equivalent per capita have the same responsibility as countries with 18 tons or 16 tons per capita.
My country, Nicaragua, contributes 0.03% of total global emissions, with a per capita of 0.63 tons. Despite our negligible level of responsibility, we are actively working on mitigation and adaptation, as well as loss and damage, because we love Mother Earth, and we are concerned about the future of our country and the world. Nicaragua has gone from 25% renewable energy in 2007 to 62% in 2018, while electricity coverage has expanded from 54% of households in 2007 to 95% in 2018. We are committed to the 30×30 initiative to restore 2.8 million hectares degraded due to a historic, active agricultural frontier. We have committed in the Forest Carbon Partnership to capture 11 million tons of CO2(e) [carbon dioxide equivalent] over the next five years. We are also adapting a dry corridor to the new reality of climate change.
This effort has been in the context of average annual economic growth of 4.7% between 2011 and 2017, the third highest rate among the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, accompanied by great social advances. These include the reduction of the maternal mortality rate from 92.8 per hundred thousand in 2007 to 34.1 today, and the reduction of the infant mortality rate from 29 to 12 per thousand children born. Chronic malnutrition in schools was reduced by 66%. General poverty was reduced from 47.9% to 24.9%, and extreme poverty from 17.3% to 6.9%. Very important in this world, the GINI measure of inequality in consumption went from 0.41 to 0.33. Nicaragua. In 2007, Nicaragua ranked at 90 in the Gender Gap Index of the World Economic Forum in Davos, rising to the rank of number five in 2019, only below the Nordic countries. The indigenous and Afro-descendant population of the Caribbean Coast and Upper Wanki River or Coco, achieved the delimitation and titling of 37,800 square kilometers of their ancestral lands, in 23 territories, each with its own territorial government and control of its own resources.
However, Nicaragua, like 35 other countries around the world, has seen its capacity to respond to climate change and to achieve sustainable development goals undermined by coercive, unilateral, extraterritorial and illegal measures, which even criminalize third parties that do not comply with the illegal measures. Only sanctions approved by the United Nations Security Council are legal in international law. The international system of bank transfers is key to the de facto imposition of these illegal, unilateral, coercive measures that violate the human and legal rights of individuals, organizations and entire countries. There are also covert actions of destabilization of governments and attempts at coups d’état, some successful and others not. In the Middle East, several countries have been invaded or bombed in wars of aggression. The Nuremberg court ruled that this type of war is the supreme violation of international law and human rights, because it contains within it the sum of all the evils of war. Even countries suffering the consequences of climate change see their ability to respond to the future shattered by catastrophic disasters and the lack of international compensation mechanisms. All these phenomena have affected the respective response capacity of developing countries.
Our Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement are incomplete, because they do not include an effective mechanism to finance response and recovery of losses and damages. Mitigation reduces the risk of loss and damage; adaptation reduces the impact of specific threats of loss and damage; loss and damage themselves, are the end result of the very climate change we are seeking to minimize. Thus, we propose that the concept of losses and damages be elevated to the same level as mitigation and adaptation, in order to receive resources.
The President of Nicaragua, Comandante Daniel Ortega Saavedra, in his message to the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, stated that the only equitable and effective way to finance losses and damages is for the countries and corporations that have caused the problem and benefited from the use of carbon to accumulate capital to compensate countries that suffer the consequences of climate change without having caused it, in the proportion of their responsibility. We have the data from 1880 to date, both for countries and for corporations. Some people think this is a very radical proposal, but it is not. The concept that whoever causes damage to another must then compensate the other for the damage caused is called tort in common law. It is also in the Napoleonic codes and in Sharia law. So too, all ethical systems, and all religions of the world, contain the concept. However, the term most despised and feared in these negotiations is the word “indemnification”. The developing countries need enormous financial resources for the future, to face mitigation, adaptation and losses and damages. In Copenhagen in 2009, funding of USD 100 billion per year starting in 2020 was proposed and reiterated in successive COPs. We should not accept as part of the US$100 billion accounts of past expenses, we cannot finance our projects with them. Nor can we accept that the market mechanisms of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement replace the US$100 billion annually. We must not accept the postponement of the date after having already waited 10 long years. What is needed from 2020 onwards are new, fresh, liquid resources with equal access for all developing countries. To guarantee these requisites, if these funds appear, they should be channeled through the financial mechanisms of the Convention, namely the Green Climate Fund, the GEF, the Adaptation Fund, and the Least Developed Countries Fund. The year 2019 will be remembered like 1848, 1871, 1968 and 1989, as a year when the street became important in world politics. Climate change is one of the drivers of this phenomenon in many countries, with youth on the front line. The 16-year-olds marching in the streets today will be 18 years old in two more years, and no one will speak of that youth as passive, disinterested and apolitical. A highly motivated voting youth can change the correlation of political forces in many countries, being decisive in countries now evenly split between opposing forces.
There is still a year before COP26 in 2020 but you see neither a working group advancing the US$100 billion a year nor a road map. Only Secretary General Antonio Guterres has asked President Emanuel Macron of France and Prime Minister Andrew Holness of Jamaica to investigate the issue. If the US$100 billion annual commitment in 2020 is broken, this could be termed the Fraud of the Century. In reality, much more is needed and US$100 billion has to be just a starting point. The US$100 billion myth has the aggravating factor that it reduced climate change spending and action in the critical decade of 2010 to date, and now we are suffering the consequences. What we cannot do at this time is to have another Lost Decade of financing and action on Climate Change.