Reflections from Lima COP20: Legally binding deal urged

Reflections from Lima COP20: Legally binding deal urged

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Civil society leaders from Asia, Africa and Latin America have urged government delegates attending the UNFCCC Cop-20 in Lima to consider the urgency of a legally binding climate deal while super typhoon Ruby is about to thrash on the Philippines.
UNFCCC (United Nation Framework for Climate Change Convention) COP (Conference of Parties)-20 began in the capital city of Peru on December 1 and it will continue till December 12.The civil society leaders also urged the global leaders to consider intergenerational equity ensuring zero percent discount on fossil fuel by respecting human rights, particularly of indigenious people.
They raised the demands at a press conference held in Lima at the media centre of UNFCCC CoP-20 on Friday, according to a message received here on Friday afternoon.
Civil societies from MVCs (Most Vulnerable Countries) and LDCs (Least Developed Countries) organised the press conference titled ‘Expectation from COP-20 in view of MVC and LDC interest: A civil society perspective’.
Moderated by Tetet Lauron of Ibon International from the Philippines, the press conference was addressed, among others, by Mrinal Kanti Tripura of BIPNetCCBD of Bangladesh, Tania Guillén from Centro Humbold of Nicaragua, Asha Sitati from Kenya, and youth activist from Bangladesh Risalat Khan of Avaz, a global campaign organisation.
The press conference was organised by a coordination body of Bangladeshi climate activists and climate alliance namely BAPA, BIPNetCCBD, CDP, CCDF, CPRD, CSRL, BCJF, FEJB and EquityBD in COP-20, led by Jahangir Hossain Masum of CDP and Md Shamsuddoha of CPRD at Lima.
Risalat Khan read out a written statement on behalf of the group that expressed worries about loose coordination and leadership among the delegation, especially among MVCs and LDCs.
Marinal Kanti Tripura of BIPNetCCBD and Maleya Foundation of Bangladesh, representing IPCCSD and IIPFCC, demanded the recognition of the role of indigenous people in adaptation and mitigation.
Tetet Lauron reminded the global delegation about the Super Typhoon Haywanhit Philippines during Warsaw Climate Conference (COP-19) and now another typhoon Ruby to landfall during Lima COP-20 is signaling an urgency of legally binding climate deal.
She also urged the global leaders to take step to stop anymore climate related death.
Day Three
Meanwhile, Serena Boccardo and Edoardo Quatrale, Youth Press Agency reported on Thursday
Bridging the gap between scientific knowledge and community awareness is one of the challenging tasks of COP20. The common feeling is that often scientific results are so complex and difficult that there is a strong need for training and translation: not only amongst civil society, but also media representatives, politicians and the academic community. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is aware of these difficulties, which is why it is pushing for a better dissemination of its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), including via their most recent initiatives, the launch of a new website and Wednesday’s side event, where diverse stakeholders gave their feedback.
A crucial issue is that the AR5 is not translated in local languages, and this deeply undermines a comprehensive understanding of it, especially in non-English speaking countries.
“Scientific brain drain and shortage of financial resources are often the main causes of an inadequate preparation of our national focal points” says John Kekana, national representative for the Republic of South Africa. The dissemination process should start from politicians, then. A good practice in this regard has been the launch of national outreach two weeks before the release of the AR5 report. According to Kekana, this practice was “very instrumental in building capacity” among civil servants, as well as among media representatives in South Africa. At the end of the debate, a politician expressed his concerns about how the Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) Mechanism could affect underground water networks. A clear example of lack of knowledge of engineering procedures, since CCS, being a gas storage mechanism, is an in-depth process that in no way can affect pollution.
Tom Harrisson, Goldsmiths College, University of London
At a side event on Wednesday The Green Climate Fund (GCF) announced triumphantly that they are open for business and very nearly fully operational. The long awaited financial flows will be available by June next year at the earliest, providing the National Designated Authorities (NDAs) – the bodies designated to administer funds – have passed the accreditation process and have submitted applications by mid January 2015. The UNFCCC’s stated target of matching the political parity of adaptation with mitigation is certainly reflected in the GCF, as the funds have been split 50/50 for these two approaches. Crucially, of the 50 per cent allocated to adaptation, half of it is to go to Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries and the African Group.
Within the mitigation funds, NDAs can apply for a $15 million “readiness fund” in order to improve infrastructure, such as smart grids, to attract private investment. Furthermore, NDAs who have already been accredited by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Adaptation Fund or the Directorate General for Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid of the European Commission (EU DEVCO) can have their proposals accelerated under the fast track stream.
However it was revealed today that Japan used what was meant to be climate finance to fund a coal plant in Indonesia, prompting a letter signed by 250 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to the GCF board demanding it make it clear in its policy that it will not directly or indirectly fund “fossil fuels and other harmful energy projects or programmes”.
With the question of how this was allowed to happen left unanswered, I moved onto the IPCC’s side event on its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and its use by a range of stakeholders. Messages were restated: human induced climate change is undeniable; lack of short-term action will be very costly in future, nothing new there. However Nebojsa “Naki” Nikicenovic of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis seemed to suggest in his presentation that, having run the numbers, the recently announced US-China deal could be in line with a 2°C target.
Still reeling from this revelation, Shell’s David Hone went on to steal the show with his presentation, in which he at once acknowledged the achievements of AR5 but stated that a massive up scaling of carbon capture and storage (CCS) would be essential to achieving the 2°C target. With so many highs and lows, Lima is going to be tricky one.
Day Two
Daniele Saguto and Chiara Zanotelli, Youth Press Agency
Among the many side events today, we were amazed to find an unprecedented level of enthusiasm towards a great example of synergy between knowledge, expertise and concrete proposals in problem solving: the Technology Mechanism. This mechanism was established in 2010 at COP16 in Cancun, with the aim of creating a network of all the stakeholders committed in the implementation of enhanced action on technology development and transfer, to support action on mitigation and adaptation. This instrument has a policy soul, the Technology Executive Committee (TEC), and an implementation one, embodied by the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN).
The main idea of the project is to provide helpful Technology Needs Assessments (TNAs) and corresponding Technology Action Plans (TAPs) to all countries willing to use these tools. TNAs identify, prioritise and highlight technology needs, while TACs address specific barriers, identify targets, strategies, budgets and responsible stakeholders for prioritised technologies. Technology application has always been an enduring and complex process, of fundamental importance, in order to produce a complete assessment and to ensure political, economic, ecological and social factors are all considered.
This all-encompassing mechanism managed to coalesce into a well-structured network with all the essential components – presenting itself as an open system that invites contributions from stakeholders, from both the private and public sectors. Another interesting element is that the process may include the consideration of a variety of approaches – linking relevant factors such as development and transfer of hard and soft technologies – and spur progress on other factors such as knowledge, diversity and employment. Having a broad scope, it has all the credentials to succeed in its mandate if countries trust it, both in submitting the requests and accepting the linkage between the Technology Mechanism and the Financial Mechanism under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
being elected as youth representative for the Netherlands just three weeks ago, this past Thursday I found myself on a plane to Lima, Peru to attend the 10th Conference of Youth (COY10) and the COP20 climate negotiations. The COY opening ceremony, with speeches from UNFCCC Executive-Secretary Christiana Figueres and the Peruvian Minister of the Environment, had one clear message: get together, work hard, and learn from each other. Make sure your voice is heard!
Not knowing what is ahead can be scary, and on my way to the first day at the COY10, I felt small and intimidated. On day two we started working on our Declaration of Youth in small groups, mine consisting of young people from France, Taiwan, Barbados, Peru and many other places. We were educators, activists, representatives and students; but mostly we were all concerned citizens. We got the chance to share our experiences, our worries, our success stories and our ideas. And because of all our differences, we were able to create a statement on education that is innovative and diverse; and can be used by our governments, as well as each other.
At the end of COY10 on Sunday I felt strong and empowered, and had connected with young people from all over the world. I was no longer just one person fighting against climate change, instead I now had an entire army next to me. In just those three days, we managed to prepare a Declaration of Youth that has inspired us all to work even harder. And we promised each other the following: “We, as the youth present at COY10, will share our knowledge and information of sustainable development, climate change and climate policy, and the environment with our peers and communities both formally and informally. We will share our experiences and lessons learned, as well as our educational tools, as teachers and as students.”
Day One
Cristina dalla Torre and Luciano Frontelle, Youth Press Agency
“We must put adaptation at the same level as mitigation”. Those were the words of Christiana Figueres at the opening session of COP20. This relates to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which states that with the current rise in temperature, there have been visible effects on the health of the planet. The gap between the causes of the climate change and its effects is tightening, meaning that impacts are becoming more and more real. One of the impacts that is already being felt is that of food shortages, due to the impacts climatic changes are having on agriculture.
But today at COP20 we didn’t just have speeches on this issue, we also had an action. Fast for the Climate, which aimed to raise awareness about the effects of climate change on food and the lack of ambition to cope with them. This action gathered people at the central court at lunch time, sitting around a table with empty dishes. The message that participants wanted to deliver was that they were voluntarily fasting to remember those that are forced to, due to food shortages.
Both speeches and real examples of action play a positive role in the COP, since in their own way they can both lead to decisions being taken at the Conference. By that we mean that public opinion demands to see governments reach an agreement that tackles the challenges of climate change in an ambitious way, and addresses the effects that are already being felt but that have so far been ignored.
This first day has much to teach us about the fact that even though the topics at the centre of the negotiations are very complex and positions are controversial, there are people that in many fronts are working to take us out of the comfort zone and lead to the future that we need. – Outreach, Newsletter of the Stakeholders’ Forum

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