Blog Posts

My Banaban Experience

Pelenise Alofa
Kiribati Climate Action Network

The Resettlement of the Banabans
Fiji is the hub of the Pacific.  Our flights always almost have to stop over in Fiji for connections. While traveling through Fiji, I spent time with the Banabans, a minority race in Fiji.  These people were resettled in Fiji in 1945 because the British Phosphate Corporation was mining phosphate on their island, Banaba. The rights to mine were given by illiterate Elders; no one at that time could read or write, so they were given fraud. Banaba today is almost completely mined, just over 1/10 of the island is left and most of the island is inhabitable. In simple terms: the people were displaced or resettled to Fiji because the British, Australians and New Zealanders (co owners of the company) valued money over the lives of human beings. There are negative and positive impacts of the resettlement of a total population of people. One of the negative impacts that the Banabans faced was their loss of fishing rights. The Banabans are fishermen by trade and culture.  They love the ocean and fishing is a game they enjoyed. The resettlement in Rabi, Fiji, took away this right because the seas and ocean are owned by the Tui Cakau (Fijian Chief) and the Banabans have to buy licenses to fish. This is the Fijian right that the Banabans cannot take away from them, and the Banabans will always appreciate the kindness and hospitality of the indigenous Fijians.  

Today, I relate CC negotiations to the experience of my own people, the Banabans.  If nothing is done and the people get resettled, it is because CC negotiations is not about humanity, but economic development (money). The pursuance for development by most developed countries is not about sustainability for everyone, but the conspiracy by the few rich people.

The Banaban Elders & Landowners Association
The Banabans requested support and we worked together to establish an NGO called the Banaban Elders & Landowners Association. I wrote up their constitution which was submitted to the Ministry of Labour & Development in Fiji for endorsement.  It was a privilege to be chosen as their Advisor and we meet every time I travel via Fiji. All this was done on voluntary basis. Note the name of the NGO. It’s the Banaban Elders. According to the Banaban culture, the Elders are leaders and most respected group in society.  We have a political group, but culturally, it is the Elders that have the final word.  The issues involved in this NGO are:  children, youth and women’s development, climate change, good governance, economic sustainable development, care for the disabled, education and health, and culture and identity preservation. We distributed our constitution to the different regional organizations based in Fiji to know that our island does have an NGO working with the community.

The first workshop that the Banaban NGO attended was on climate change that was organized by  Today, the Banaban Youth is preparing for the national campaign in September 24. Their activity is to plant trees and to involve our politicians in the campaign. We will be doing this in Kiribati as well.

In addition, the Fiji Council of Social Services provided short-term courses for members of our NGO on elderly care, childcare, micro finance, and sewing. More than ten of our youth graduated from these courses last week. It was a great opportunity for many of our unemployed youth to build skills that could help them find jobs locally or overseas and also to provide support to their own families.

Furthermore, we organized three other workshops:  virgin oil making, paper making, and flower and jewelry making. Many of our women are smart and skilled in handicrafts, but do not have a market.  So during my two weeks stay in Fiji I was able to secure a shop for them in a town, Suva, and we have also secured markets for them in NZ, US, Nauru and Kiribati.  The introduction of marketing calls for planting of commercial trees and this is related to CC adaptation. We will work on looking for funds towards this project.  The Banabans have indeed crossed boundaries and are learning to do marketing to sustain their family income.  It has been great working with the Banabans in Fiji.

Related Member Organization: 

My Kiribati Experience

Pelenise Alofa
Kiribati Climate Action Network

The Kiribati Climate Action Network (KiriCAN), which is comprised of many youth and women groups in Kiribati, is the first CC NGO established in Kiribati. KiriCAN was originally organized by the Pacific Calling Partnership based in Sydney, who is our working partner today. For the last three years, we have been busy doing awareness-raising, adaptation, negotiation and conference participation. We believe that CC is cross-cutting and does not have boundaries, so we work together with governments and opposition leaders. I do most of the international campaigns and negotiations while my colleagues do the national ones.  Our ground team is wonderful and enthusiastic. Every month we have an international media team visiting Kiribati to report our stories. All media is welcome because we believe that our voices should be heard far and wide and must reach the whole world. We also learned that not all media is to be trusted!

KiriCAN has had the privilege to attend LDC, CommonWealth, Pacific Forum and regional meetings speaking on behalf of the Pacific people on CC issues and has attended three UN Climate Talks (COPs). Furthermore, KiriCAN has also had the privilege to participate international campaigns. The first international campaign was done in Australia and NZ (our closest neighbours) and the message was  “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  We also went on a tour of Europe: Belgium, Spain and Austria and spent a short time in the US.

One of the highlights of the KiriCAN activities in Kiribati was our involvement with the Tarawa Climate Change Conference held November 2010 organised by the government.  KiriCAN organized a two days workshop prior to the conference and organized a rally/march in support of the Kiribati government during the conference. More than 1000 people from NGOs and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) turned up to support this rally. This was funded by WWF, and PIANGO (Pacific Islands Association of NGOs).
Today, the KiriCAN Youth participating doing the Water Harvesting Awareness (Adaptation) programs around Tarawa being funded by NZAid and we continue to visit the outer islands to conduct CC Awareness. It’s been great and satisfying working with grassroots and seeing the joy when you show that you care for their wellbeing and development. I could never trade this occupation for something else.

Related Member Organization: 

My Bonn, Germany Experience!!!

Pelenise Alofa
Kiribati Climate Action Network

It was my first time in Germany!  My first experience (frustrating) at the airport trying to find my way to my hotel in Bonn.  My first experience with the CAN International Southern Capacity Building at the UNFCCC. It was also my first experience to be robbed. Mona Matepi (Cook Islander) and I bought ice cream and later when I looked for my purse, it was gone.  Someone had pick pocketed me while shopping! Well, there will always be the first time for everybody but Bonn was a multiple of first experiences for me.

But not all is gloomy…..Bonn, was actually the beginning of exciting experiences. Our first meeting with the lovely young people in the SCB team was wonderful and exciting. Each person came from different parts of the Global South and each was able to take up his/her responsibility with enthusiasm and professionalism.  It was not my first time attending CAN-International sessions, but it was my first time to be involved with CAN-International as a participating member.  Things began to fall into perspective and to make sense.  During the previous CAN-I sessions I’ve attended…I was always confused when people gave reports because I did not know the procedures.  I was thankful for the opportunity to attend as a Southern Capacity Building member.

Yes, the UNFCCC could be very confusing and frustrating. It was like being in a marketplace (too much fuss and bustle), but everyone does one business: negotiation. But thanks to the advices and counsels provided by Gaines (during orientation) and the CAN-I Secretariat things became more clear.

I was supposed to do REDD+ and Capacity Building.  I ended up following most of the Capacity Building because, deep in my heart, I know that this is the key issue to help my people in the Pacific.  Working with Mona, Mamady and Pat was extremely valuable and rewarding. Pat is a well-experienced leader who knows the ins and outs of the Capacity Building issue.  I realized that Capacity Building (CB) was not treated as a major issue, but integrated into almost every other Climate Change (CC) issue. We ended up drawing a plan of action calling that CB should be developed in each CC window, and that funding should be spent on building capacity in developed and developing countries to meet local mitigation and adaptation needs.

Could Capacity Building lead to our Survival in the Pacific?
The impacts of CC have been seen and felt in our islands for many years, but our relationship to CC was not known.  When our coastal lands were eroded and line of trees fell, when our well water became saltier, when sea water intruded into our gardens, when it rained too much at the wrong time of the  year, when there was drought for too long, when our fishes got washed up dead on our shores, when the king tides swept over the island like a tidal wave, we wondered, do we need science to explain CC to us? We live in it day by day. Actually, today, it is part of our lives and we learn to adapt to the impacts as they come. In fact, we have stronger evidence or and stronger voices today to support us at the negotiation arena. We provide the facts of the impacts of CC while science explains the causes and effects and how they are related.
But CC is not just the science, the cause and effect.  It also involves negotiations, commitment, passion and time.  Most Pacific islanders have the passion and time, but not the negotiation skills. The lack of negotiation skills stems from a culture of sharing. We share the fruits of our land freely, thus land ownership is very important to us. Our survival depends on our lands and oceans, which provide our livelihood. We do not sell anything to our neighbors because selling is contradictory to sharing. The reality is that we lack the negotiation skills because negotiation goes beyond the boundary of our culture. The only negotiation we know is based on trust. We want people to trust us and vice versa. But alas, we are waking up to the fact that we live in a global village where everyone thinks differently and lives by different values. We are taught to give from the heart, but today we are in a world that sells, bargains, gambles, negotiates, etc.  What’s more, we are negotiating on a major crucial issue…the survival of our people. It is scary, terrifying and mind-boggling! It’s like jumping to the moon to bring it down to earth! Do we stand a chance to survive? I am sure we can, if we take capacity building seriously…by learning the skills of negotiations at a global level and integrate capacity building in every aspect of CC.

The Laughing Corner – A typical Kiribati Negotiation or Business Deal
I will try to explain a business or negotiation humor conducted in a typical Kiribati style. As I explained earlier, negotiation or business (selling) is not part of our culture.  An expatriate family was ready to leave Kiribati permanently after serving in the islands for four years so decided to hold a garage sale before leaving. This was completely new to the islanders but nevertheless, many people went to buy all the second hand things for sale. At the end of the day, two women came along to buy, but there was nothing left except two cats (ex-pat’s pets) and according to the ex-pat, one of the cats was pregnant which means, whoever buys it will make money by selling the kittens. One of the ladies spent her $50 on the two cats and carried them home.  Her husband was anxious to see what she bought but was very angry when he found that she bought two cats. He was upset because their house was already full of cats and dogs and having a pregnant cat would make it worse.  And furthermore, they cannot sell the kittens because no one sells animals (pets) in the islands.

Why did the lady buy the cats?  Simple answer, she wanted to help. She was shocked that the expat family was selling their goods including animals, which mean that they were really, really in need of money. The I-Kiribati was ready to help by buying everything including their pets even though they did not need these. The motive for buying was not to acquire and to accumulate goods, but rather to help someone who was in need. Do you think that we islanders have a chance at international negotiations with this attitude? Talk about cross culture!!!

Related Member Organization: 

Strengthening ASEAN

Wanun Permpibul
Head, Energy and Climate Change Programme
Renewable Energy Institute of Thailand Foundation

The second week in Bonn is over.  So many things to share with CANSEA members, comprising colleagues from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, particularly on the issues related to ASEAN.  For me, it would be progressive to see ASEAN’s common position on legal status of the climate agreement after 2012, mitigation efforts from key ASEAN countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, finance and technology for both mitigation and adaptation actions.  Although, members in ASEAN have social and political differences, they do share some of the concerns on climate change. 

They are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change especially in the coastal and marine sector, human settlement, water resources, etc.  Because of these, they need long-term resources to help with adaptation.  On the other hand, their level of emissions is not small and is increasing.  They need to show to their people how they are going to reduce their emissions, especially from the energy sector.  Different studies indicate a vast potential of renewable and alternative sources of energy that can meet increasing demands of energy while meeting sustainable development in the long run, including solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, biogas and particularly energy efficiency and savings.  False solutions, particularly large hydro and nuclear, are not only unsustainable and are not the answer to the climate crisis, but they would also reduce and limit the adaptive capacity of communities and their citizens in maintaining their livelihoods under the changing climate.  ASEAN must take climate issues as their priority and integrate it into the development policy and needs to take actions on climate change, both mitigation and adaptation. 

What seems to be possible as the starting point is to use the existing platform of ASEAN Climate Change Initiative (ACCI) to engage all members and get them to agree on a common position and a clear agenda for negotiations, based on the common interests and concerns, leaving behind what is considered each national interest that cannot come to a common position.  Strengthening ASEAN’s engagement in the climate change negotiation as a strong bloc is necessary.  I think in CANSEA we will have to advocate more to influence the ASEAN position on climate change. 

Voice of voiceless is to be heard!

Manjeet Dhakal
Clean Energy Nepal
Policy and Advocacy Officer/ Act. Program Director

Regardless of whatever the outcome was Copenhagen was successful in making a historical gathering of a large number of participants among the UNFCCC COPs. On a freezing Copenhagen streets, people from around the world demonstrated and urged world leaders to limit developed country emissions and to compensate on their past actions. But a small group of powerful people inside the Bella Centre betrayed everyone by letting us down and to compromising our future. At that point, I remembered a slogan hung up during climate negotiation "Don't negotiate with our future". Science has already proven that human activity is the cause of the climate change problem through increased emissions of greenhouse gases in recent decades. And now I feel like, I have to pay the debt of my grandfather and my grandchildren will be taking even more burdens in the future. So, I just wonder what kind of world are we really planning to building?  

Youth interventions at UNFCCC meetings always excite me. They often starts it with, "My name is _ _ and I am XX years of age and I will be YY years old in 2050". I have noticed timid expression with discomfort on the faces of many delegates who always evoke on false number of commitment for second commitment period of the Kyoto protocol and those who come to negotiation just for the weekend. I wonder what kind of world they have envisioned for the coming days?   
Cancun was a milestone on climate change discourse; it has brought us hope that was merely drowned by Copenhagen results. But again, Cancun is not the end; rather it was a beginning of another chapter. The first page of this new chapter was flipped in Bangkok in April, which was not that encouraging and the next page at Bonn recently in June  and again made everyone nervous. Now the question is how many Bonn, Bangkok and another COP do we need for an international climate treaty? It seems very difficult for developing countries to continue this endless discourse.  In the recent Bonn meeting, around 100 countries had less than five delegates and 20 of them had only single delegates and these 20 were the most vulnerable countries. In these negotiations, where is the voice of those voiceless that are already badly suffering? On the other side, five major developed countries and around 100 developing countries have equal number of delegates. Now anyone can imagine the outcome and also the possibility of getting another treaty like Kyoto, which has real essence at least to be optimistic about.   


Mexico is leading and being aggressive in addressing Climate Change

Sandra Guzman
Program Director Air and Energy
Mexican Center of Environmental Law (CEMDA)

Mexico has been considered one of the most active players in the process of international negotiations on climate change in recent years. In Poznan, Poland during the Fourteenth Conference of the Parties (COP14), Mexico committed to cut its emissions to 50% below the 2002 level by 2050, while the government noted that Mexico’s emissions might be reduced to 30% below the 2000 level in 2020. Also under the discussion of the Copenhagen Agreement Mexico announced the reduction of 51 millions of tones in 2012 . These goals, which have been held by different actors, are aspirational; that is, they are subject to a number of conditions being met.

One of the major constraints that the Government of Mexico has highlighted is the financial constraint. According to the Mexican government, the aspirational goals will be met only provided that they receive international financial support to do so. According to the government, Mexico has sufficient political will but not the resources necessary to make the fight against climate change a reality in the country.  

Mexico and many developing countries noted that the fulfillment of their goals depends on having access to international financial resources. However, for many students of the subject it has become clear that while the flow of such resources is necessary, the strengthening of national structures, development of plans and programs, cooperation, collaboration and coordination among stakeholders at national level is equally vital if you really want to advance in the field.

In the case of Mexico, it is clear that large amounts of money are required to invest in strategic sectors. However, the problem is not always a lack of resources —sometimes the fault lies instead in the management of existing resources.  Some researches  have raised a number of ways in which Mexico could achieve compliance with measures to reduce emissions and thus reduce the vulnerability to which it is exposed.

Because of that, I decided to work on this. For Mexico financing is one of the key elements for the transition from a highly polluting economy to one that is low-carbon and sustainable. But not only that, in Mexico, investment in and promotion of adaptation action is now an urgent priority, as several states are already living the impacts of the climate change (Tabasco, Oaxaca, Veracruz, etc).  Mexico must promote a financial system to attend to the full suite of climate problems that it is facing now.

In this sense the activities that I have been developing in the international negotiation have help me to understand the better way to help my country and to help the world. This Southern Capacity building program has been an excellent experience to share with colleagues from other southern countries our concerns and necessities in our region. In my point of view participating in this process gave us more details about the effects of the climate change in the world, and also gave us the opportunity to learn about the solutions that the countries are discussing, even in the backdrop of slow, frustrating, uncertain, and a really tiring negotiation process. It is exciting to now that we can participate as a civil society and that we can push for the creation of a solid and constructive perspective to take all of these information and put it in practice in our countries. Our job is basically to try and make things happens in the international level and again try and influence the national policy making process. We also need to consider other things such as legal framework and other important tools to make things happen back home.

With this experience I intend to strengthen the actions I am implementing within my country as Director of the Air and Energy Programme, including:

A.    International Negotiations of Climate change (2007-currently): This Project has as a goal to follow the Mexican roll in the negotiation, to evaluate the congruence between the national and the international policy in this matter, achieving:
➢    Building communication channel with high level decision makers on public policy and legal framework, such as the Mexican delegates of the United Nations (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Ministry of Energy, Treasury, etc.) networking with legislative actors (Special Committee on Climate Change in High and Low Chambers, Environment Committee, etc.) networking with international organizations (Environmental Defense Fund, E3G, World Resources Institute, Oxfam International, Greenpeace International, etc.), as well as with academic institutions such as Technology of Monterrey, National University of Mexico, the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, among others, such as International Foundations.

B.    Climate Policy project (2008-currently work): This project has as a goal to promote a long-term national policy on climate change and a low carbon growth path. Some of the activities that I already undertook were:
➢    Promotion, analysis and enforcements of legal instruments (Law for the Use of Renewable Energy and Energy Transition and its regulations, General Law of Climate Change, etc.).
➢    Promotion, analysis, discussion and participation in public policy instruments such as the Special Programme of Climate Change (PECC Spanish version) and the Special Programme of Renewable Energy and Energy Transition. Creating a observatory to guarantee the compliance of these instruments.
➢    Analysis of the public policy and legal barriers to attend climate change with the National Ecology Institute in Mexico (current research).
➢    Consolidation of a dialogue on climate change with the Federal government and the legislative sector towards Cancun and beyond, for the fulfilment of the goals to reduce emissions in the Country (30% in 2020 and 50% in 2050).
➢    Consolidation of a social dialogue to promote a national policy on climate change.
➢    Promotion of a public policy package for the expansion of sustainable transportation in Mexico, including aspects such as the creation of a standard vehicle efficiency, public transportation such as Bus Rapid Transit systems (BRT's) and the introduction and use of clean fuels, mainly.

C.    Climate Finance: Financing the Changing without changing the climate (2009-current project):
➢    Creation of a network for the promotion of a financial architecture for climate change in Mexico with the participation of 15 organizations.
➢    Elaboration of an analysis of the Federal budget for climate change in 2011 achieving the assignation of 300 millions of pesos from the legislative power.
➢    Elaboration of a proposal text for the international negotiations in Cancun about the creation of the Green Fund including gender perspectives, a transparent system to ensure the use of the resources and a criteria methodology to invest in sustainable technology.

D.    Media Positioning: This project has as a goal the media positioning of our agenda to promote the sustainable development and the combat against climate change in Mexico involving media to make press , with this project we achieved:
➢    Transparency in the Mexican climate national policy, and the inclusion of the civil society in the discussion.
➢    Information dissemination about the importance of the sustainable mobility, the distribution of clean fuels, the publication of a vehicle efficiency standard, the use of renewable energy, and the energy efficiency as a tools to combat climate change.


Finding Myself in Finance

Mahlet Eyassu
Climate Change Program Manager
Forum for Environment

Being a Southern Capacity Building fellow for the second time is a very big advantage for me. When I was one of the SCBP fellows last year I have acquired a lot of knowledge on how negotiations are undertaken and also CSOs role in the process. Even though the Bonn session in June was the second meeting for this year, the real work started only this time as the previous meeting was all about fighting about the agenda. Most of the first week of June looked more like the Bangkok session as Parties started their discussion on the agenda, which was dealt in Bangkok. As of 2011, in addition to being one of the SCBP fellows, I have a new role that is co-chair of the finance-working group in CAN. One of the greatest benefits of being a SCBP fellow is the experience of getting to know other fellows from different parts of the world and also learn about their works in their respective countries. Additionally, the different experience sharing sessions organized by the coordinator with people who have been in the process for a long time has helped me to understand the process more and also learn from them.

In the two weeks time I have been co-coordinating the finance-working group with a fellow from the SCBP program as well. The finance group has been very active in arranging different bilateral meetings with key countries’ delegates such as Norway, Australia, Bangladesh, Argentina, Japan, Malawi and also representatives from the Technical Support Unit of the Transitional committee that designs the Green Climate Fund.  With regard to the finance section in CAN’s Durban Expectation and the negotiations I have given a presentation at CAN’s side event and a press briefing. Since I did both the presentation and press briefing in these negotiations for the first time, I believe I have gained much experience in the preparation and also in the presentations. Additionally I also gave a short update on the negotiations at the end of the first week to GCCA that is shared in their website.  As this was the first meeting for this year as a SCBP fellow, I have taken every opportunity to learn more from others and also the process. I feel that I have gained more experience and will be continuing my engagement between the sessions so that I am more prepared for the upcoming sessions.


Climate Change – a test of our civilization

Isaac Kabongo
Executive Director
Ecological Christian Organisation (ECO)

Survival is becoming a myth in some parts of the World.

Climate change is a multidimensional problem and it needs to be addressed from many different points of view: economical, environmental, scientific, and political. There are so many different interests that need to be satisfied and agreed upon, and this usually takes a lot of time. Climate change is specific problem that doesn't give us much time for action. Time is really a key factor that will determine the success of any climate agreement. In Bonn, parties didn’t exhibit and appreciate the fact that time is not our best ally. That is why they could afford to waste almost a week to agree on the agenda. My participation in the UNFCCC Bonn Climate change conference taught me a number of lessons:
a)    Those severely affected by climate change will have to wait for some time until legally binding agreement is reached.
b)    Climate change is one of the most complex challenges in human history; it is therefore a multidimensional problem.
c)    The political dimension should be taken seriously because it determines the nature and time of the agreement. Politicians carry great responsibility on their shoulders
d)    Sacrifice by parties could be made, the factors to enforce that sacrifice seems not to be clear to all of them.
e)    Science is already playing and will continue playing a pivotal role in influencing climate change future decisions and agreements.
f)    If nothing is done in the near future, climate change will affect civilization reached by humankind in the last centuries.
Unless we act now, we are going to face catastrophic consequences caused by climate change. You also need to appreciate the fact that “the one who predicts catastrophe is not the one who causes it”.  I will not be responsible for the cost of inaction and failure to appreciate the magnitude of the challenge at hand. That is why in the spirit of partnership and development, we have decided to work together as CSOs (civil society observers) to influence climate change decisions both at national and international levels. World citizens need to put aside all the differences that exist between countries and turn new climate deal into reality. But this has to be done as soon as possible, because impacts of climate change are becoming stronger and stronger. Climate change doesn't care about recession and condition on financial markets around the world, and as we wait for economies to recover global warming is strengthening its impact even further.


Lawyers can't, can we?

Lina Li
Shanshui Conservation Center

I landed in Maritim Hotel- first time here building on previous mixed (both sweet and bitter memories) COP experience in Copenhagen and Cancun, with two big questions in my head:
1. How can we pursue the extension of Kyoto Protocol, the second commitment period of the ('KP CP 2')?
2. How can we avoid a 'gap' between the first and the second commitment period?

After doing some homework of reading the secretariat technical paper and other relevant lectures, I thought, “aha, lawyers seem to already offer some answers!”
We have a basket of choices among a treaty, two protocols, amendment plus a protocol, COP decisions, or political agreement; we also have provisional arrangements to deal with the gap (considering ratification would most probably take beyond 2012).

To further explore the full answers, I joined in the legal working group of CAN.
The two weeks of the climate talks were filled with energy and deliberations to dig into the legal group's work -- intensive meetings and discussions within the working group and beyond, plenaries, contact groups, informals, rumors in corridors, bilaterals, media relations and briefings...It turned out that lawyers can't answer my questions, simply because they are political in nature rather than simply legal; the choices are in the hands of the politicians and negotiators. And we can and should make them make the right ones.

What is the right choice? KP CP2!
What's so good about it?
- the top down architecture that hold parties accountable
- the quantitative emission reduction targets
- the rules and infrastructure of institutions for MRV
- flexible mechanisms for cost effective solutions

The list could go quit long here, bearing in mind it is way far from a perfect system!

And an even more powerful answer is to see what would happen if we don't have a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol?
To quote a respectful experienced colleague who has followed the negotiations for over a decade, “everything in the negotiation will probably shut down and it is the END of the game.” This might sound a little scary and it actually is! If we lose the regime, it will take us another many decades to get another one!

Being in the negotiations seeing countries finger pointing to each other and sticking to their own interest (some are poorly self-defined), I am constantly reminded that we are living in an imperfect world. But that's not stopping us from making the best out of it and building for a better one. We just need a bit more wisdom and bravery. By we, I mean everyone here in Maritim- especially those wearing pink country representative badges!
This CAN Southern Capacity Building fellowship, as expectedly cool, exiting and challenging as it is, really gave me a wonderful two weeks in Bonn, with chances to observe, learn and OWN the participation and CONTRIBUTE to influence the UN climate talks. With my knowledge growing, I am also able to share more with my Chinese colleagues, and transfer the knowledge and experience here to the policy-working group of CCAN.
Bonn is the start point as SCB fellow, while a long way to go, I will keep on tracking my topics, working with my colleagues in the legal working group of CAN, interacting with other SCB fellows and the experts we've met, and more importantly, I will keep up the policy work (for both domestic climate legislation and policies, and international works e.g. COP 17 and Rio +20) together with other Chinese NGO colleagues, building our capacity, and enhancing our impact.

LULUCF…hoo Wow!!!

Mamady Kobele Keita
Climate change team leader
Guinee Ecologie

During the June session in Bonn, I have been working on Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) and it’s amazing to see how most of the participants consider this issue. You are likely to hear  “Hoo wow, LULUCF?”, “this is not our concern”, “no it’s for Annex 1 countries only”, “I have a limited knowledge on the issue”, “ if you know more about it, please help me to understand”, “it’s definitely too complicated for me”, “ I have no idea about it”. This “staying far from LULUCF” does allow parties to understand the issue and accordingly take responsibility for their parts.

Why is CAN-International paying close attention to LULUCF and why should non-Annex 1 parties be interested in the LULUCF issue? Because under the current provisions of the Kyoto Protocol, Annex 1 parties can hide their emissions from forest management, thus earning more credits while emitting at least 400 Mt of CO2 annually. Just like in other sectors, all emissions should be accounted for and all related consequences addressed.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is clear on the issue in the following provisions:
Article 3, paragraph 1:  “The Parties should protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Accordingly, the developed country Parties should take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof.”
Article 4, paragraph (a): …Parties shall (a) Develop, periodically update, publish and make available to the Conference of the Parties, in accordance with Article 12, national inventories of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of all greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol, using comparable methodologies to be agreed upon by the Conference of the Parties”

Although inviting Annex 1 parties to reduce their overall emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 5 per cent below 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008 to 2012, the Kyoto protocol limits direct human-induced land-use change and forestry activities to afforestation, reforestation and deforestation, excluding in the same time activities related to forest management.

The LULUCF working group within CAN-International has summarized the issue:

•    LULUCF is a set of rules determining how Annex I Parties account for emissions from their land and forests.
•    Currently it is mandatory to account for afforestation, reforestation, and deforestation, while it is voluntary to account for forest management, grazing land management, cropland management, and revegetation.
•    In the first commitment period, the voluntary nature of accounting is being exploited by Annex I Parties to obtain credits without accounting for debits. In the second commitment period, Annex I Parties are trying to change the rules to avoid accounting for increased emissions. Either way, LULUCF is being used to falsely exaggerate emission reductions.
•    Reports and analysis by the European Commission, the Stockholm Institute, the Postdam Institute, UNEP and CAN’s own analysis have all highlighted that LULUCF rules are playing a significant role in undermining Annex 1 mitigation efforts and contributing to the “Gigatonne Gap” between ambition in this process and what the science requires for addressing climate change.
•    LULUCF could, however, be a source of real mitigation action.

As you can see, it’s really important for all parties, especially non-Annex 1 parties to fully consider this issue and keep following it. During the last Bonn session, our group wanted parties to consider the introduction of a paragraph on review process in future agreed documents. We really expect for Durban to see LULUCF rules that increase accountability and strengthen the level of ambition of developed countries so that forestry and land use sectors deliver emissions reductions. This will only be possible when non-Annex 1 parties take their responsibility on the issue and act in the way that allows a review in the LULUCF accounting rules. Otherwise, the second commitment period, starting in 2013 and called by these non-Annex 1 parties, will not deliver as expected.