Tag: Latin America

Brazil Goes in Reverse

There was rather astonishing news from Brazil this week. A report by the National Institute for Spatial Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais - INPE) reveals that deforestation in the Amazon region has increased by 28% from August 2012 to July 2013. This is the third largest rate of deforestation ever registered.

The real number is surely larger if you take into consideration cloud cover -- and that the bad guys on the ground are getting smarter and cutting the forest in a greater number of ever smaller areas.
Although the Minister for the Environment is trying to put the blame on the States that make up the Amazon region, we are hearing that it’s really the Federal government that  bears the major responsibility.

For years, Brazil has showcased deforestation in these meetings as the main component of its voluntary mitigation commitment/promise. But the new forest law the government pushed through Congress last year included major concessions to the agro-business lobby.

And to be clear, no other sector of the Brazilian economy has contributed to emissions reductions – ever. So greenhouse emissions are on the rise everywhere. The momentum from the very substantial reductions of forest emissions in recent years is being reversed by Brazil’s accelerated economic growth plan and the return of increased deforestation.

Although the Environment Minister emphatically denies that the government has reduced the budget to combat deforestation, the former President of INPE resigned last year out of frustration with the lack of resources and ever-increasing restrictions on investments. Monitoring of the Amazon region will continue, he said, but it will not improve: “The system is full of holes.”

The head of the Brazilian delegation made two important points in a press briefing the other day. First, he said that Brazil would honor its commitment to reduce deforestation because that commitment has now become law. Second, Brazil insists that those developed countries historically responsible for creating the climate problem must take the lead.

So considering all this, here are some questions for Brazil:
• If reduced emissions from deforestation is now a law, who is to be accountable?
• What does Brazil intend to do to reverse this dangerous trend?• Given these developments, what leverage does Brazil have to bargain for more ambition in reducing the mitigation gap in the 2015 agreement and post 2020 implementation?

The world needs Brazil to be a protagonist in the battle against Climate Change.

But it seems that Brazil is stepping back further and further from the front lines and into the muddy post-logging trenches.


Mónica López Baltodano speaks intervenes on loss and damage

I am Mónica López Baltodano and I am speaking on behalf of Climate Action Network.

Last year in Doha, all countries decided that institutional arrangements such as an international mechanism on loss and damage would be established at the climate conference in Warsaw. There shouldn’t be a U-turn on that now and all parties (and let me stress ALL parties!) should come forward and engage constructively here in Warsaw. The International mechanism must be established here with agreement on key functions, while modalities can be detailed in 2014 so that the mechanism can be operationalised by 2015. We have a precedence of Green Climate Fund, wherein the fund was established and the modalities were developed later.

It is important to mention that the proposed International Mechanism on Loss and Damage is not just about developing financial measures to address climate change impacts that cannot be adapted to. It is also about generating knowledge and finding new ways to deal with non-economic losses such as loss of biodiversity, indigenous knowledge, human mobility, cultural heritage, ancestral burial sites etc.

As I speak here, the devastating Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines is sending us a harsh reminder that there can't be any further delay in intensifying our efforts to tackle mounting loss and damage. Tackling loss and damage is about climate justice. Those who are mainly responsible for climate change must act. It is about protecting people, their livelihoods and most importantly their human rights and dignity.

Related Member Organization: 

Instituto de Políticas de Transporte y Desarrollo de México (ITDP)

The Policy Institute for Transportation and Development  Policy (ITDP for its acronym in English), founded in 1985, is an international non-profit organization that promotes sustainable and equitable transportation worldwide.

ITDP has offices in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia and the United States has a team of over 60 employees and is complemented with expert consultants, including architects, planners, transportation specialists and other disciplines.

The organization works with local and national authorities, with the aim of promoting transportation solutions that reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, pollution, poverty, travel times, traffic accidents, and thus, improve the economic development and quality of life in the cities where we operate.

Contact Information: 
Mexico Av 69 Col. Condesa Racecourse
Del. Cuauhtemoc

2014. A year full of challenges, big time!

Enrique Maurtua Konstantinidis
Fundación Biosfera, CANLA

In Bonn GRULAC endorsed Peru’s nomination as COP host for 2014. In the last day of negotiations, Peru’s Minister of Environment himself notified Parties about Peru being the COP 20 presidency. This is great news for Latin America; and the COP will certainly bring a lot of focus on the issues that concern the region.

But 2014 is not just another year, COP 20 will not be a transitional COP, neither something to diminish. Many international climate events will mobilize media attention, people, citizens and politicians to ramp up ambition in the year (2014) countries should present targets on both mitigation and finance. Besides the regular intersessional and ADP sessions, UN General Secretary, Ban Ki Moon, called world leaders to meet for highlighting the urgency of decisions in this matter (in 2014). Venezuela on the other hand proposed to host the traditional ministerial Pre-COP, but they have decided to do things differently and to invite all Civil Society to participate in a non-traditional manner. The list of important events in 2014 concludes with the FIFA World Cup in Brazil ,which will have all attention from all around the world, especially the attention of Brazilians.

With all this happening around Peru as the COP Presidency and with so many milestones to be achieved, there is a very interesting challenge ahead. Finance pledges have to be on the table, and mitigation pledges have to be clear. Also a legal architecture of the new legal instrument should be approved in Lima, Peru by th end of 2014; this is key.

Peru has a good potential as a facilitator, and many coutries are expressing their support, we will have to see how Peru manages the pressure and how constructively countries work to let Peru conduct successful meetings in a year full of expectations.

Related Member Organization: 

Diversity is the word

Photo: IISD

Enrique Maurtua Konstantinidis
Fundación Biosfera, CANLA

Following the Latin America and the Caribbean regions in the UNFCCC negotiations is sometimes difficult. The region has numerous and diverse countries; Brazil and Mexico are large countries that have larger economies and then countries like Haiti and Nicaragua are on the other end of the spectrum, with a big range of middle income countries in between. While Spanish is the main language, Portuguese, English, Dutch, and French are spoken in some countries as well.

Nevertheless, Latin America has always dreamed about Latin American Unity, a very ambitious desire to become one united continent with one voice and one common objective: a better life, but in our own way. And here is where the problem creates division. Being such a diverse continent can not only be interesting, fruitful and rich, but can lead to differentiation and difficulties to find middle grounds and common priorities.

It is not difficult to understand. In the end, it is what happens in any international arena, when different countries want to reach agreement on different issues. But Latin America is different, there is this sort of desire to get unity, because of the history our countries share, the same independence and sovereignty feelings, and this is probably what produces frustration when an agreement is not reached.

But not all is frustration, nor impotence facing a Latin American Unity. In this intersessional, GRULAC agreed easily to endorse Peru's nomination as COP 20 Host and Venezuela's nomination for Pre-COP 20 Ministerial meeting. This issue brought a new air of collaboration for the region, as all parties agreed to truly support each other and give a Latin American flavour to the year 2014. For Latin American countries It is very important to work together, support each other and contribute together to the global work that is being undertaken. What can be more encouraging than promoting climate action in a region that is young, positive and resilient. Hopefully the Latin rhythms, the sun, and the landscapes can inspire everyone to work together for what the world needs to achieve in 2014 on climate action.




[Human Rights] in the CDM


After this weekend’s CDM reform workshop, ECO has new hope for the CDM’s ability to address human rights. For the first time in the history of the CDM, Parties had an open dialogue about the impacts of CDM on human rights. It is important to recall that Parties agreed to “fully respect human rights in all climate change related actions.” The review of the CDM Modalities and Procedures provides a critical opportunity for the CDM to make this a reality. 

A case in point…The Barro Blanco project is a hydroelectric dam that is currently under construction on the Tabasará River in western Panama. Once completed, the dam is projected to flood homes, schools, and religious, historical and cultural sites in Ngäbe indigenous territories, threatening the Ngäbe’s cultural heritage. In addition, the dam will transform the Tabasará River – critical to the Ngäbe’s physical, cultural, and economic survival – from a flowing river to a stagnant lake ecosystem. This will severely affect the Ngäbe’s lands and means of subsistence, and result in the forced relocation of many families.

CDM rules require investors to consult with local stakeholders and to take their comments into account during the registration process. However, the company did not consult the Ngäbe communities regarding the Barro Blanco project and its impacts. In February 2011, the Ngäbe, in collaboration with civil society groups, submitted comments to the CDM Executive Board. The comments documented the Ngäbe’s concerns, in particular the fact that the Ngäbe were not given notice of the consultation process and were never consulted. Despite concrete evidence that the Barro Blanco project violated CDM rules on stakeholder consultation, in 2011, the CDM Executive Board registered the Barro Blanco as a CDM project. 

Now that Barro Blanco has been registered, there is no process that allows the Ngäbe to raise their concerns regarding the project’s social and environmental impacts. Over the past two years, the SBI has been negotiating an appeals procedure that would allow stakeholders to challenge registration decisions under the CDM. However, ECO is dismayed that, as discussions currently stand, this procedure would not provide a means of recourse for affected communities once a project is under construction or operational.

More than 6,500 projects are registered under the CDM, and these projects will be operational for many years to come. ECO calls on Parties to revise the CDM Modalities and Procedures to: establish international safeguards to protect human rights; strengthen requirements on how to conduct local stakeholder consultations; establish a grievance process that allows affected peoples and communities to raise concerns about harms associated with CDM projects; and develop a process to deregister projects where there are violations of CDM rules.

To learn more, join us at a side event on CDM and human rights TODAY at 6:30 pm in Room Solar. You will meet on Monday at 6:30 pm, wWeni Bakama, a Ngäbe activist, and other panelists who will discuss how we can integrate human rights protections in the CDM.

Related Newsletter : 

Now Hiring: COP20 President


Location: Latin America
Duration: one year
Deadline: until suitable candidate is found

The Climate Change International Policy Process is looking for an Active, Positive and Constructive COP Presidency with ambition as high as the Andes mountains, who will facilitate transparent work amongst Parties in 2014 to achieve crucial milestones for a global Fair Ambitious and Binding deal in 2015.

The successful candidate will be part of an multicultural environment and will conduct several meetings throughout the year. The candidate will build consensus among Parties, promoting camaraderie and good will. Commitment to engage actively with Civil Society Organisations is a must.

A proven record of greenhouse gas pollution reductions at home and contributing to a strong global climate regime is a definite plus.

Specific Skills and Characteristics:

·       Constructive attitude

·       Impartial

·       Able to moderate difficult discussions

·       Problem solver

·       Good anger management

·       Ability to overcome obstructions

·       Leads by example

Compensation: The adoration of millions, possibly billions, for contributing to a deal in 2015 to prevent climate change catastrophe. Free subscription to ECO for life.

To apply: send self-nomination to your Corresponding Regional Group ASAP

Related Newsletter : 


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