Tag: USA

Avaaz

Avaaz—meaning "voice" in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages—launched in 2007 with a simple democratic mission: organize citizens of all nations to close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.

Avaaz empowers millions of people from all walks of life to take action on pressing global, regional and national issues, from corruption and poverty to conflict and climate change. Our model of internet organising allows thousands of individual efforts, however small, to be rapidly combined into a powerful collective force.(Read about results on the Highlights page.)

The Avaaz community campaigns in 14 languages, served by a core team on 4 continents and thousands of volunteers. We take action -- signing petitions, funding media campaigns and direct actions, emailing, calling and lobbying governments, and organizing "offline" protests and events -- to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform the decisions that affect us all.

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Avaaz
857 Broadway, 3rd floor
10003 New York , NY
United States
New York US
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SustainUS

SustainUS is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of young people advancing sustainable development and youth empowerment in the United States. Through proactive education, research, and advocacy at the policy-making and grassroots levels, we are building a future in which all people recognize the inherent equality and interdependence of social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

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SustainUS Washington , DC
United States
District Of Columbia US
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The Benefits of Public Participation

There isn’t much reason to praise the United States these days, so ECO is pleased to report that the US got it right in yesterday’s SBI contact group.  Echoed by supportive interventions from Mexico, the EU and Bangladesh, the United States highlighted that enhancing observer participation is not for the benefit of the observers, but rather is to benefit the Parties and the entire UNFCCC process.
Today, the SBI Chair is continuing contact group discussions on observer participation.  We appreciate the emphasis he has placed on this matter as demonstrated by his willingness to chair the contact group himself.  
Moreover, the Chair’s management of the contact group was a model for the implementation of one of the most important measures necessary to make civil society participation more meaningful.  Observers were given not just the opportunity to make one intervention, but were able to participate in the give-and-take of the discussion on an equal basis with Parties.  This kind of opportunity to provide input directly and in real time is vital to ensuring relevant, useful public participation.  
It is important to build on this progress.  The SBI should call on the Secretariat to implement new practices that ensure real-time access to negotiations and negotiators.  For example, open contact groups and other negotiating sessions should be the rule, not the exception.  Civil society should have immediate access to proposals and other documents that are necessary to make relevant input.  Observers should have substantially enhanced opportunities for oral interventions and written submissions should be included in MISC documents along with Party submissions.  And civil society must be able to use varied tools, including non-violent demonstrations and stunts, to put the spotlight on inadequate or inequitable developments in the negotiations.
These kinds of new rules and practices should be developed through a process that involves stakeholders as equals.  This means not only soliciting input at the outset, but also giving civil society the opportunity to review and comment on proposed new rules and practices before they are implemented.  
Finally, the SBI should avoid creating mechanisms that look like enhanced participation but really aren’t.  Some have proposed creating a few high-level panels through which NGO input would be directed to the COP or other UNFCCC bodies.  This would be an unwieldy process at best resulting in watered down input that would almost certainly come too late to be useful.  Similarly, while a pre-COP NGO dialogue might result in some interesting general input, it cannot be a substitute for real-time direct input into the negotiations.  That is the heart of real public participation benefits.

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Opening Moves

Cancun should deliver a substantial package of decisions that provides a clear framework for climate action. Such a package will move forward toward a legally binding agreement and put positive pressure on countries to go beyond their current quite inadequate pledg­es and commitments. The Cancun package must progress both the KP and LCA tracks and secure agreements on all building blocks, namely mitigation/MRV, finance, adaptation, REDD, technology, the legal form, the sci­ence review, and a road map for South Africa and beyond.

This means all countries must do their fair share to secure success in Cancun. And so ECO would like to take the liberty of identi­fying some opening moves that key countries should make so that Cancun starts on a con­structive note, open negotiating space for the coming two weeks, and deliver outcomes that will set us on the pathway towards the ambi­tious, global treaty we need.

ECO supports the United States objective of increasing the transparency of mitigation actions by developing countries, but it must be part of a broader framework that includes greater transparency of developed country actions on both mitigation and finance. And so instead of pressurizing others, the US should announce its willingness to increase the transparency of its own actions. The draft decision text being circulated by the EU call­ing for more detailed information in Annex 1 national communications would be a very good way to start. Making it clear that sup­porting enhanced transparency for everybody includes the US itself will make adoption of a balanced package of decisions here in Can­cun much more likely. Just say yes!

ECO expects the European Union to speak out much more clearly in favour of a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, so that a constructive dialogue between de­veloped and developing countries leading to a legally binding agreement from both tracks can be achieved. To provide further support for the Kyoto Protocol the EU should also help close the loopholes in its own position on AAU surplus and LULUCF. Those helpful moves on the Kyoto track can be bolstered by the EU championing the establishment of the UNFCCC climate fund.

China should take a more progressive role in the international negotiations instead of just continually reacting to provocations from others. That way, China can building strongly on its domestic momentum for low carbon and clean energy development. For Cancun, this means China should now put forth its own views on the form international consultation and analysis should take, as well as challenge the US to clearly commit itself to proper MRV, along with other developed countries.

Japan must show more flexibility about the second commitment period of the Kyo­to Protocol. Upfront rejection will create an unconstructive atmosphere for the entire negotiations. Kyoto was the product of hard negotiations, not only for the specific targets, but also for a top-down approach so that ag­gregate emission reductions are driven by the science. ECO hopes that Japan still remem­bers the sleepless nights in Kyoto and knows that while the Protocol is not perfect, there is still a lot to be proud of. More openness on Kyoto will signal that it acknowledges that the Kyoto architecture is important to a vast majority of Parties and opens the way forward for securing a stronger global architecture.

India should help broker a solution to the dilemma of international consultation and analysis by tabling its own ICA proposal, un­equivocally stating that it will work towards creating a rule-based system of multilateral governance within the UNFCCC and ensur­ing transparency and accountability. Another constructive move will be to support efforts to identify substantial and innovative sources of public finance for the new global climate fund.

Brazil could come forward as a champion for the creation of a fair climate fund in Can­cun, supported through innovative sources of public funding, which fully funds not only mitigation but equally so adaptation. Brazil also should come forward as a leading coun­try fighting for responsible and transparent LULUCF accounting rules to help reduce and close the Gigatonne Gap.

It’s time for Mexico to play a more crea­tive role in its welcome efforts toward trust-building in the COP 16 presidency. Mexico is well positioned to spur Parties to tackle the issues that could otherwise drive the negotia­tions into deadlock: legal form, the road map on crunch issues post-Cancun, the Gigatonne Gap, the science review and more.

Russia has an AAU surplus of 6 billion tonnes of CO2 that is creating grave uncer­tainty for the negotiations, carbon markets and the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol. It’s time for clear statements from Russia that it will not sell its AAU surplus from the 1st commitment period. That kind of good political will can go a long way to ensuring progress can be made in Cancun on dealing with AAU surplus, and give a big boost to closing the Gigatonne Gap.

ECO hopes this list of substantial but manageable first moves will help clarify the middle game on the Cancun chess­board and lead to a solution that makes everyone a winner.

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CAN Submission: Cancun building blocks- Summary, October 2010

Cancun Building Blocks: Essential steps on the road to a fair, ambitious & binding deal outlines the balanced package of outcomes from Cancun, and the benchmark by which CAN’s 500 member organisations, and their millions of supporters, will judge the Cancun negotiations.

These building blocks were chosen not only because they provide a pathway for preventing catastrophic climate change but also because they pave a road which can be travelled, even taking into account political constraints. 

Success in Cancun will require meaningful progress in each area, agree­ment to work toward a legally binding deal in both tracks, including an indication that the Kyoto Protocol will continue, work plans agreed on each key area, and a long term vision for future negotiations.

Cancun Building Blocks include:

  • Agree a shared vision that keeps below 1.5o C warming, links it to the short and long term actions of Parties.
  • Establish a new climate fund along with a governance structure that is transparent, regionally balanced and ensures the COP decides policies, programme priorities and eligibility criteria. Agree on a process to se­cure sufficient scale and sources of finance.
  • Establish an adaptation framework along with its institutions, goals and princi­ples and a mandate to agree a mechanism on loss and damage.
  • Put in place a technology executive committee and provide a mandate to agree measurable objectives and plans.
  • Agree to stop deforestation and degrada­tion of natural forests and related emissions completely by 2020, and ensure sufficient finance to meet this goal.
  • Implement the roll-out of a capacity building program.
  • Acknowledge the gigatonne gap be­tween current pledges and science-based targets, and ensure the gap will be closed in the process going forward.
  • Agree a mandate to negotiate by COP17 individual emission reduction commitments for industrialised countries that match an aggregate reduction target of more than 40% below 1990 levels by 2020.
  • Agree that each developed country will produce a Zero Carbon Action Plan by 2012.Minimise loopholes by adopting LULUCF rules that deliver emission reduc­tions from the forestry and land use sectors; market mechanism rules that prevent double counting of emission reductions or finance; and banking rules that minimise damage from ‘hot air’ (surplus AAUs).
  • Agree on producing climate-resilient Low Carbon Action Plans for developing countries, and establish a mechanism to match NAMAs with support. Mandate SBI and SBSTA to develop MRV guidelines for adoption in COP17.
  • Commission at COP 16 a technical pa­per to explore the mitigation required to keep warming below 1.5°C, and outline a process to negotiate how that effort will be shared between countries.
  • Agree a clear mandate that ensures that we get a full fair, ambitious and binding (FAB) deal at COP 17 in South Africa – one that includes the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
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