Warm greetings for the New Year! May hope, peace, and harmony be the highlights of this year!
The last quarter of 2023 had many ups and down, but I would rather focus on all that went right – let’s begin the year with hope!
COP28, the highlight of the last quarter, was a historic, ambitious COP, with the announcement of operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund on the first day, to which rich countries including the UAE, UK and Germany made significant contributions at kickoff. This gives hope that South Asia’s most climate-vulnerable communities may benefit.
Civil society had been pushing for reducing fossil fuel dependency for over several years now, and CAN’s call for a ‘fast, fair, forever’ move away from fossil fuel dependency, saw huge traction. Almost 200 countries at COP signed the final agreement to “transition away from fossil fuels”. It was a ‘moment’ for climate rhetoric and it’s particularly significant that fossil-fuel-rich states signed up.
The importance of restoring biodiversity, ecosystem integrity, and ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation and also resilient food systems as an adaptation solution, was recognised as important and urgent, and was included in the final text at COP.
Finance and technology transfer are crucial levers to enable developing countries achieve their climate goals, and South Asian nations have pushed for clear timelines and accountability mechanisms to ensure equitable access to these funds.
With climate litigation on the rise, where oil corporations and rich governments are being penalised for violation of rights based on climate change, there is hope for developing nations. For over a century, poor countries such as those of South Asia have borne the brunt of the excesses of rich countries and powerful conglomerates.
Rapid rise of renewables and breakthroughs in low-carbon technologies have generated positive tipping points which offer hope for the future. The transition to clean energy is happening worldwide, and in the region, and it’s growing.
Hope is however not without challenges…
The last quarter of 2023 began with a huge void left by the passing of our dear friend, philosopher, guide, Climate Champion Prof. Saleemul Huq. He was our guiding light in all climate movements, and he is greatly missed.
The Loss and Damage Fund has grey areas: overseen by the World Bank, no agreed-upon definition of what is loss and damage, with miniscule amounts pledged so far to cover any significant losses and damages, a moot question comes to mind – who will really benefit, and how?
Despite the pledge to transition away from fossil fuels, there is no clear call for a fossil-fuel phase-out this decade; also, a lack of new financial commitments for developing countries to transition away from fossil fuels and adapt to climate impacts.
The challenges will continue to dog us, but while our goal of 1.5 C is relevant, let us not lose hope – let’s ride the crest of successes, and brace ourselves for more challenges, and continue to work through them. There is still hope that we are at a real tipping point of meaningful action for nature, for people, and for the climate.
To solidarity and strength and keeping 1.5 alive!
Professor Saleemul Huq, co-founder of Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA), left us on October 28, 2023.
A leading authority on climate justice, professor at the Independent University, Bangladesh, an advisor to the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group of the UNFCCC, IPCC author, one of the most strident voices for the climate impacted communities from the South, Prof. Huq’s passing has left a huge void and the deep sense of sadness and loss and being orphaned, has been felt by the entire South Asian region.
In his passing, we at Climate Action Network South Asia, have lost our mentor, friend and guide who managed to push rich countries to commit to establishing a loss-and-damage fund to help poor countries deal with the impacts of climate change at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh. This fund he said was long overdue to the poor vulnerable countries least responsible for climate change, and suffering on account of the historically high carbon emitters. And the win didn’t come easily – it was a result of a 30-year-long campaign. If he was still with us, Prof. Huq would have rejoiced at the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund at COP28, and would have fought even harder to ensure that adequate ‘promised’ finance was available to the Fund.
Queen Elizabeth II bestowed the Order of the British Empire on him in 2022 for his efforts.
Rest in Peace, Prof. Saleemul Huq. Your legacy lives on through us!
In honour of Prof. Saleemul Huq, CANSA organised a memorial service on 6th November 2023. It was attended by his family members, his close friends and fellow compatriots from the global climate change space, and a large number of his colleagues and family from the South Asian regions, whose greatest champion he was.
The CANSA website has a special page dedicated to Prof Huq, and the rich tributes paid to him:
The quote from Sanjay Vashist below, paid tribute to Prof. Saleemul Huq’s efforts which led to operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund at COP28
UNEP’s Adaptation Gap Report 2023: Underfinanced. Underprepared (2 Nov) found that progress on climate adaptation was slowing when it should be accelerating to catch up with these rising climate change impacts.
Sanjay Vashist, Director CANSA, responded to the report, that: “Developing nations should be concerned – despite the urgent need to accelerate and scale-up international public adaptation finance to developing countries, these flows have declined. Since 2020, the adaptation finance gap is likely 10-18 times as great as current international adaptation finance flows…. Almost all South Asian nations are caught in a loop of climate-induced disasters and consequent economic losses; despite ready adaptation plans, they have neither received adequate assistance nor compensation from the rich and historically polluting countries…”
In the run-up to COP, three webinars were held in the months of October and November for CANSA members to help understand how COP28 worked, how to prepare for COP and roles of different stakeholders. Details of the webinars were as follows, and a recording of each is available (https://cansouthasia.net/can-south-asia-at-cop-28/). The webinars, conducted by Nakul Sharma, had a good attendance, and participants gave excellent feedback regarding the content of the webinars.
Pre-COP28 Session 1
Functioning of COP, Context & Objectives of COP28, & suggested topics/priorities for CANSA members.
Pre-COP28 Session 2
Regional panel discussion on topics for negotiation, priorities of CAN, and recommendations, on CANSA’s position
Pre-COP28 Session 3
Role of Non- State Stakeholders. Linking the COP negotiations with Cities, Governance Institutions, Municipal authorities.
COP28, Nov 30 to Dec 12, 2023, Dubai, UAE, was seen as a crucial moment in the face of the urgent climate crisis and IPCC’s recent warning on the need to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Amidst challenges like the COVID-19 aftermath and geopolitical tensions, an inclusive, transparent, and results-oriented COP becomes imperative.
Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) at COP28 prioritized on key regional strategies, including Loss & Damage, Just Transition, Climate Finance, and Ecosystem Conservation.
CANSA recognised the urgency to address these priorities at COP28, to steer the world towards ambitious climate action, uphold principles of equity, and ensure a sustainable future.
CANSA organised 6 side events and 1 video film screening.
Localising Climate Action through Innovative Solutions and Community Participation | 2 December 2023
This event was organised to showcase on-ground experiences on Locally Led Adaptation from Asia, Africa, and Latin America through an interactive session that will have a combination of brief presentations, short power talks, and a panel discussion followed by an open house.
Click here for details
Urban Climate Policies: The Importance of Subnational Actors | 3 December 2023
The objective of this panel discussion was to “To use COP 28 as a political space and opportunity to advance strategies of urban climate policies at International level”
Click here for details
Climate-Induced Migrant to Resilient Community | 4 December 2023
Enabling Just Energy Transition in South Asia – Challenges and transformational opportunities | 6 December 2023
Reimagining Climate Finance and Action in South Asia: Strategies, Challenges, and Opportunities| 8th December, 2023
This event was organised to put a spotlight on climate finance approaches and strategies that work for vulnerable communities of South Asia. It aimed to serve as a crucial platform for discussing and exploring opportunities of innovative climate finance strategies within the South Asian context.
Click here for details
Three Short Films on Climate Change from CANSA, CAN EECCA, CAN Europe | 11 December 2023
To catch glimpses of CANSA members and events at COP28, check out the link:
Dan Church Aid, Nepal
Wishing our new member from Nepal a very warm welcome to the CANSA family!
1. New cities, old predicaments: Role of planning in climate mitigation
– Arshiya Syed
2. Rethink Guwahati’s building bye-laws for net-zero carbon future
-Barasha Das and Harish Borah
3. As climate-related ailments worsen, Dhaka hospitals fail to serve the poor– Sadiqur Rahman
4. Addressing water inequity in Dhulikhel is critical for environmental justice-Kushal Pokharel and Chhatra Karki
5. How the lack of rights worsens climate events for Delhi’s informal workers -Hrushikesh Patil and Sejal Patel
6. Pakistan’s women struggle to make voices heard in Climate Change conversations -Zofeen T Ebrahim
The stories have been compiled and published as a document, which was released at a COP28 Side Event on Urban Resilience and Climate Change.
To download a pdf copy of the document:
National Reports on Climate Change and Urban Resilience in South Asia can be downloaded at:
The three reports were also released at a COP28 Side Event on Urban Resilience and Climate Change.
Urban Climate Resilience and Development in Pakistan: National Policy Paper
SDPI and CANSA
This report delves into the intricate relationship between urbanization, climate change, and resilience-building in Pakistan, against the backdrop of South Asia’s burgeoning urban population. With Pakistan’s rapid urban growth and the increasing frequency of climate-related disasters, it is imperative to comprehend the complex interplay of these factors. The report outlines the significant urbanization surge in South Asia, particularly in Pakistan, where the urbanization rate is the highest.
Climate Change and Urban Resilience in Nepal:
Looking through the Lens of Urban Poor
CEN & CANSA
While Nepal is one of the least urbanized countries, it is ranked among the rapidly urbanizing countries in South Asia. It has witnessed a dramatic rise in urban population from 17.07 percent to 66.08 percent. In this report, selected cases of urban poor are analyzed against the national policies and plans on climate change conventions, and recommendations made for building the resiliency of urban poor in the Nepali cities.
Climate Resilient Urban Development in Bangladesh: Policy Gaps and Recommendations
CPRD and CANSA
This policy paper analyzes and briefly overviews Bangladesh’s overall urban development and adaptability to climate change. With an emphasis on the state of urbanization in Bangladesh, essential components of urban development, the effects of climate change, the political landscape, and action plans at the national and sectoral levels.
Question of Cities – CANSA Fellowship 2023-24
The six essays in this volume are, at once, specific to the place and people in them but also resonate with the universal or macro concerns about how devastatingly and unequally climate change unfolds in cities. They range from making new cities in ecologically unsustainable ways to the need for green buildings.
Climate Action Network (CAN) #WorldWeWant Campaign on Climate Impacts and Solutions is an example of how collective action by communities affected by the climate crisis can be used to serve as a clarion call for governments to address multiple and compounding crises to protect their citizens for a safe and resilient future. These three compelling, locally-produced, short videos show how decades of inaction on the climate crisis are impacting people, but also how communities are using grassroots solutions in both developing and developed countries to find answers.
Inadequacy of the newly operationalised Loss and Damage Fund a Huge Disappointment for South Asia
Climate Change and Gender Justice – COP28 talks empty rhetoric without means for Implementation
Dubai Disappoints | COP28 fails to make history
Deccan Herald | 14th December 2023
COP28 offers climate action a lifeline but no finish line
The Third Pole | 14th December 2023
CoP-28: At UN climate summit, nations agree to ‘transition away from fossil fuels’
The Telegraph India | 14th December 2023
Fossil fuels’ death-knell sounded at COP28 held in oil-rich UAE; Al Jaber takes credit for keeping 1.5ºC target alive
DownToEarth | 13th December 2023
Option in Global Stocktake draft opens possibility of including India, China in list of historical emitters of greenhouse gases
DownToEarth | 10th December 2023
Developed countries need to deepen emissions cuts to meet global climate goals, say experts
Mongabay | 10th December 2023
COP28: Kolkata, 100 km from the Sundarbans, demands loss and damage fund support in Dubai
DownToEarth | 10th December 2023
Kolkata flagged at ongoing global climate summit COP28
The Telegraph India (My Kolkata) | 09th December 2023
Global reports raise climate concern for vulnerable population of Sunderbans
The Telegraph India (My Kolkata)| 07 December 2023
‘Michaung is clear signature of climate change’
TheNewIndianExpress | 05th December 2023
Coal concern has prohibited India from signing global pledge on renewables and energy at COP28
DownToEarth | 04 December 2023
Wealth belongs to individual, resources to society: Dr Suleri
International The News | 25 November 2023
Call for sustainable production to promote social justice
Tribune | 24 November 2023
Reactions as UN releases 2023 Adaptation Gap Report
Enviro News Nigeria | 02nd November 2023
Rich countries need to ‘step up’ funding for adaptation as climate risks grow, warns UN report
euronews.green | 02nd November 2023
Civil society network hails Guterres’ visit to Nepal
myRepublic | 31st October 2023
Obituary: Saleemul Huq, climate voice of the Global South
DownToEarth | 29th October 2023
Mobile tableau near top pujas spreads awareness about climate change
The Telegraph India (My Kolkata) | 27th October 2023
India’s climate discourse needs local narratives
qrius.com | 3rd October 2023
‘It is high time India has a law that recognises climate migrants’
DownToEarth | 1st October 2023
Eco-Village Development in South Asia – Our Results | 18 December 2023
The webinar was organized to discuss on Improvements of village life with eco-village development, latest result from four model villages in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka and Climate mitigation effects of eco-village development in practice, Climate adaptation effects of eco-village development in practice.
Promoting Inclusive Climate Action and Resilience Building in South Asia | 23 November 2023
Intersectional Perspectives on Mainstreaming Gender, Disability, Indigenous & Local Knowledge Systems in Climate Action
Local Solutions for Climate Adaption Evidences for Policy Making | 4 October, 2023
The webinar was jointly organized by CANSA and partners of the Eco Village Development project – INFORSE South Asia, Grameen Shakti in Bangladesh, Center for Rural Technology in Nepal, IDEA in Sri Lanka, and INSEDA in India. The project is coordinated by DIB, Denmark, and is funded by CISU, Denmark. In the current webinar, the implementers of local solutions would share insights and learnings in engaging with climate issues and the local solutions delivering adaptation co-benefits.
Global Day of Action for Climate Justice
Adarsha Samajik Progoti Sangstha (ASPS) organised a rally, human chain and discussion meeting on the Global Day of Climate Justice, by forming local NGO alliance at Netrakona district. The demand was that development projects that harm the environment should be discarded and plans that address the needs of climate change victims should be prioritized. People were suffering due to lack of climate justice. Climate justice and compensation should not have to rely on grants and access to them is a civil right, said a rights’ activist. “Victims come from marginalised households, making it difficult for them to take adaptive measures against climate change impacts. However, climate justice is crucial and developed nations should come together to ensure it.”
IYCN Interacted with Shri Bhupender Yadav at COP28
A dynamic 7-member youth delegation of the Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN), made a significant impact at the 28th UN Climate Change Conference – Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai. Comprising individuals from diverse backgrounds including policy, engineering, mathematics, communications and social science, the delegation exemplified the unwavering commitment of Indian youth towards a youth-led climate-resilient development. IYCN co-hosted Climate Action Forum in partnership with Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), Dasra, and India Climate Collaborative. Climate Action Forum was an exceptional gathering of Indian Diaspora leaders, innovators, policymakers, and influencers, all dedicated to advancing sustainable solutions and advocating a greener future.