Mar­cia Le­vaggi moves on from Adap­ta­tion Fund

Jamaica Gleaner - - EARTH TODAY - – P.W.R.

MAR­CIA LE­VAGGI is the fe­male dy­namo, face and voice with which many have come to as­so­ciate the Adap­ta­tion Fund’s (AF) ef­forts to main­tain its ser­vice to de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, in­clud­ing Ja­maica, to bol­ster their readi­ness for cli­mate change.

Af­ter seven years of help­ing to steer the fund, how­ever, the at­tor­ney and ca­reer diplo­mat is mov­ing on.

“It has been a won­der­ful jour­ney,” said the wo­man who will go down in his­tory as the first man­ager of the AF Sec­re­tariat.

“I started in 2009 and the sec­re­tariat didn’t ex­ist. Now I leave seven years, and I think, eight months af­ter I started, with a team that al­though it is small is fully func­tional, well-re­spected, very ef­fec­tive; and which I think has been able to work very well with the board,” she added.

Le­vaggi – who will leave of­fice of­fi­cially on Oc­to­ber 21 to take up her new po­si­tion as direc­tor gen­eral of en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs in the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs of Ar­gentina – is proud of her ten­ure with, and work of, the fund.

“One of the achieve­ments of the fund is that it is a col­lec­tive suc­cess. The board and the sec­re­tariat have worked very well to­gether and been pushed by the civil so­ci­ety to work for the very

best in­ter­est of the fund,” she said.

“I think the three suc­cess com­po­nents of the fund are the board, the civil so­ci­ety – es­pe­cially the Adap­ta­tion Fund Net­work – and the sec­re­tariat, which have been able to work to­gether in achiev­ing what was best for the fund and to build a mech­a­nism that was nim­ble and can quickly reach the most vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties, the ben­e­fi­cia­ries,” Le­vaggi told The Gleaner.

“(To­gether, they have also) been able to pi­lot a very in­no­va­tive way of chan­nelling funds which is the direct-ac­cess modal­ity that has now 24 and hope­fully, in a cou­ple

of days, 25 NIES (na­tional im­ple­ment­ing en­ti­ties) ac­cred­ited and 18 projects im­ple­mented through the direct-ac­cess modal­ity,” she said fur­ther.

“Al­though I think we could do more if we had more funds avail­able, I am very sat­is­fied with what we achieved,” she noted.

The AF has grap­pled for some years now with rais­ing funds to fi­nance projects, fol­low­ing the down­turn in the car­bon mar­ket from which it should have re­ceived much of its fi­nanc­ing, cour­tesy of two per cent of pro­ceeds from projects de­vel­oped un­der the Clean De­vel­op­ment Mech­a­nism (CDM).

Clif­ford Mahlung, former chair­man of the CDM and a re­spected Ja­maican cli­mate change ne­go­tia­tor, had noth­ing but high praise for Le­vaggi while wish­ing her well in her new post.


“She has made tremen­dous strides be­ing the first man­ager of the AF Sec­re­tariat. There have been dif­fi­cul­ties, but her work as man­ager was out­stand­ing,” he said.

“I knew her from she was a ne­go­tia­tor rep­re­sent­ing the gov­ern­ment of Ar­gentina, where she was very stri­dent in par­tic­u­lar on is­sues re­lated to adap­ta­tion; and she brought that knowl­edge, ex­pe­ri­ence and know-how to the Adap­ta­tion Fund and was able to achieve quite a lot. We have seen where sev­eral of the large coun­tries have con­trib­uted money to the fund so that the pipe­line of projects could re­ceive fund­ing,” he added.

“The Adap­ta­tion Fund was the first real ef­fort to fund adap­ta­tion in a direct and ef­fi­cient way and we are all grate­ful to Mar­cia for her work in en­sur­ing that the fund worked in the in­ter­est of the de­vel­op­ing coun­try par­ties, in par­tic­u­lar small-is­land de­vel­op­ing states and least de­vel­op­ing coun­tries,” Mahlung said fur­ther.

Le­vaggi, mean­while, has wished for her suc­ces­sor the same trust in him or her that the board placed in her.

“I think that was key to my suc­cess,” she noted.

And to her suc­ces­sor, she said: “I would ad­vise him or her to con­tinue build­ing on this part­ner­ship be­tween the board, civil so­ci­ety and the sec­re­tariat, and be­ing re­spect­ful of the coun­try needs and try to be true to the man­date of the fund which is ad­dress­ing adap­ta­tion for the most vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.”

Added Le­vaggi: “The fund has, and in par­tic­u­lar through the direct-ac­cess modal­ity, fund projects that are small and medium size, but th­ese are the projects that will al­low other funds to repli­cate and fund big­ger in­ter­ven­tions at scale. So this ro’e is very im­por­tant for paving the way for the Green Cli­mate Fund to be­come the trans­for­ma­tional fund it is sup­posed to be.”

Since 2010, the Adap­ta­tion Fund has com­mit­ted US$354.89 mil­lion to sup­port 54 con­crete, lo­calised cli­mate adap­ta­tion and re­silience projects in 48 coun­tries, with more than 3.6 mil­lion direct ben­e­fi­cia­ries.


Mar­cia Le­vaggi

Clif­ford Mahlung

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