UN to honour 13 projects during Marrakech climate talks


Thirteen game-changing initiatives from around the world were announced today as winners of the United Nations ‘Momentum for Change’ climate change award.

Winning activities include:

* A Google-led project that could catalyse the rooftop solar market for millions of people across the United States

* An ingenious net that harvests fog from the air to provide drinking water for people on the edge of Morocco’s Sahara Desert

* North America’s first revenue-neutral tax that puts a price on carbon pollution

* A project that has established the first women-specific standard to measure and monetize women’s empowerment benefits of climate action

Other winners include the EU’s largest crowd funding platform for community solar projects and a project in Malaysia initiated by Ericsson that uses sensors to provide near real-time information to restore dwindling mangrove plantations.

Further winners are a company that provides solar systems to homes and businesses in rural Tanzania through an innovative financial package and a Swedish city that became the first in the world to issue green bonds, enabling it to borrow money for investments that benefit the environment.

The Momentum for Change initiative is spearheaded by the UN Climate Change secretariat to shine a light on some of the most innovative, scalable and replicable examples of what people are doing to address climate change. Today’s announcement is part of wider efforts to mobilize action and ambition as national governments work toward implementing the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities underline how climate action and sustainable development is building at all levels of society from country-wide initiatives to ones in communities, by companies and within cities world-wide,” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said. “By showcasing these remarkable examples of creativity and transformational change, along with the extraordinary people behind them, we can inspire everyone to be an accelerator towards the kind of future we all want and need.”

Each of the 13 winning activities touches on one of Momentum for Change’s three focus areas: Women for Results, Financing for Climate Friendly Investment and ICT Solutions. All 13 will be showcased at a series of special events during the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, Morocco.

The 2016 Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities are:

Women for Results

* Rural Community Leaders Combatting Climate Change | India: This project has built a rural distribution network of 1,100 women entrepreneurs facilitating access to clean energy, water and sanitation products and services in several communities.

* The W+ Standard | Nepal: This project established the first women-specific standard to measure and monetize women’s empowerment benefits of climate action.

* Women’s Empowerment for Resilience and Adaptation Against Climate Change | Uganda: This activity has established women-led groups that pool their savings into a fund, from which they borrow and invest into climate friendly, income-generating activities.

* Women-Led Fog Harvesting for a Resilient, Sustainable Ecosystem | Morocco: This project introduced a technological innovation inspired by ancient dew-collecting practices, providing accessible potable water to more than 400 people.

Financing for Climate Friendly Investment

* Crowdfunding for Community Solar Projects | The Netherlands: The largest crowdfunding platform in the EU for community solar projects, offering solar companies a platform to source investments for their projects.

* Gothenburg Green Bonds | Sweden: The Swedish city of Gothenburg was the world’s first city to issue a green bond to borrow money for investments that benefit the environment and the climate.

* Off Grid Electric | Tanzania & U.S.A: This project provides accessible and affordable solar systems to homes and businesses connected to an expensive and unreliable grid, or to those who have no grid access at all.

* Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax | Canada: British Columbia is home to North America’s first revenue-neutral carbon tax, covering more than 70% of the province’s emissions. Every dollar generated by the carbon tax is returned to British Columbians in the form of personal and business tax measures, making it revenue-neutral.

ICT Solutions

* Climate Right | Sweden: This project enables people in Uppsala to track their climate impact through their choice of food, mode of transport and way of living, encouraging them to live in a climate friendly way.

* Connected Mangroves | Malaysia: Ericsson combines cloud, machine-to-machine and mobile broadband to help the local community in Selangor restore mangrove plantations.

* Project Sunroof | USA: This project, introduced by Google, enables tens of millions of potential solar customers from across the U.S. to evaluate if their home is suitable for solar and how much they could save on electricity.

* Mapping for Rights | Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Peru: This initiative of the Rainforest Foundation UK supports forest peoples to counter harmful extractive industry and advocate for legal reforms by equipping them with low-cost technologies to map and monitor their lands, and making this data available on an online platform.

* SOLshare | Bangladesh: The world’s first ICT-enabled peer-to-peer electricity trading network for rural households with and without solar home systems.

The 2016 Lighthouse Activities were selected by an international advisory panel as part of the secretariat’s Momentum for Change initiative, which operates in partnership with the World Economic Forum Global Project on Climate Change and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative.

“The momentum for change we collectively reached in Paris has driven us to a new phase in the global climate change agenda – one focused on implementation, inspiration and scaling up of climate action globally. This is reflected in the 2016 Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities, which serve to inspire similar action, ensure multiple approaches and the means to deliver on climate protection, environmental consciousness and social responsibility. With a record number of applications – more than 475 – this year, our Advisory Panel had a difficult time selecting the best of the best,” said Teresa Ribera, Chair of the Momentum for Change Advisory Panel.