CAN Intervention in the COP18 SBI Opening Plenary, 27 November, 2012

 

CAN, YOUNGO and CJN! SBI Opening Plenary Intervention at COP18

Delivered by, David Gawith of YOUNGO, 27 November 2012

Thank you Chair, my name is David and I will be 60 years old in in 2050

Your task this week is a challenging one. The SBI is expected to complete its entire business this session by Saturday.  We stand ready to assist you in this task. Science is telling us that full and sustained implementation of the Convention's fundamental objective is slipping further and further from our grasp. This has disastrous implications for humanity and for its future, our future.

 Hurricane Sandy’s impacts in Haiti, Cuba, and the United States have reminded us that loss and damage is a reality. It’s happening now. Current low mitigation ambition is breaching the ultimate objective of the Convention. Opportunities for avoiding loss and damage are being wasted because of insufficient funding. We need to start thinking beyond adaptation. Based on the decision from Durban, we expect you to set up a comprehensive mechanism to address compensation and rehabilitation issues. Further, we expect you to develop the next phase of the work programme to detail the modalities of the mechanism. Almost 100 vulnerable developing countries have outlined the needs and potential elements of an international mechanism. Doha must not end without clear progress on addressing loss and damage.

On technology, for the Technology Mechanism to be considered "fully operational" at COP18 there must be a committed source of interim and long term funding for the Technology Executive Committee, the Climate Technology Centre and its Advisory Board. The architecture of the Technology Mechanism must also be highly responsive to developing Party clients in order to promote transparency and ensure equitable access to adaptation and mitigation technologies. Finally there must be robust engagement with stakeholders and civil society.
 
On Capacity Building, Parties should concentrate their work on paragraph 6 of 13/CP-17. By agreeing on an intensive 2 year work programme that creates an enhanced structure for effective capacity building in developing countries, by the end of 2014, the ground lost on capacity building could be regained here in Doha.

We hold you accountable for these outcomes.

 Thank you.

Got 2 Minutes??

Dear delegates:Yesterday CAN was scheduled to deliver a 2 minute statement at the opening of the SBI. Regrettably (to CAN at least), the Chair decided under his own authority that there were not 2 minutes left available in the session for the delivery of that statement. So you never got to hear it. For your information, here it is:

SBI-36 OPENING STATEMENT

CAN-INTERNATIONAL

Thank you, Chair. Good evening dear delegates and colleagues.

Firstly, Chair, CAN wishes you all the best in the task ahead of you in what promises to be yet another challenging year for the SBI.

On specific items this session, we would like to briefly highlight three particularly important issues for CAN:

Firstly, on capacity building, the establishment of the Durban Forum was one small step taken last year towards recognising the critical need for Parties to agree on scaled up and coordinated action on capacity building. The vast majority of developing countries fully understand the benefits of low-carbon development, how it can benefit their sustainable development and poverty alleviation objectives and how it will allow their emissions to deviate from a business as usual baseline. Ways to address their current lack of capacity to even commence this task need to be urgently agreed. CAN looks forward to participating in the Forum next week and to working with you, Chair, and with Parties towards scaling up the implementation of 2/CP-7.

Secondly, on arrangements for inter-governmental meetings, CAN has no need to remind delegates of the scale of the task involved in ensuring coherence between the seven negotiating tracks scheduled for Doha. The confluence of those tracks has to be a framework for both vastly scaled up mitigation effort between now and 2020, and a robust workplan to deliver a new and fully comprehensive legally binding agreement by 2015 at the latest.

In the same item, the subject of NGO participation is of course a vital matter for CAN. Progress we thought the SBI had secured this time last year has been more than somewhat degraded since, with Parties continuing to conduct the real substance of the negotiations away from the eyes and ears of civil society. In at least one case in Durban the final "open" informal meeting was in fact just 5 minutes long. Civil society observers therefore had no opportunity whatsoever to contribute to the outcome, or even to be able to comment on it. This was not the spirit of last year's SBI decision as CAN understood it.

Thirdly, on appeals against decisions of the CDM Executive Board, Parties must uphold the principle that the right to information, the right to public participation, and the right to seek justice are intrinsic to every individual and are inherent human rights. Access to justice for all local and global stakeholders including project-affected peoples and communities must be ensured. Thank you.

Related Newsletter : 

Capacity Building Sinking Without a Trace?

 

ECO laments the loss of NGO hopes for a radically upgraded and revitalised approach to capacity building (CB) in developing countries. At the mid-point of COP-17, this possibility is in danger of sinking without a trace.

ECO is also baffled. Baffled as to how this situation has come about. Perhaps it derives from some form of memory deficit. Just about a decade ago at COP-7, UNFCCC agreed the Marrakech Capacity Building Framework in 2/CP.7. This provided the skeleton key to unblock a rather nasty case of mistrust over financial support by developed countries for action by developing countries responding to climate change.

This is strikingly similar to the situation today in the LCA. COP 7 was examining how to best utilise the fact that the Bonn Agreements had secured some hastily cobbled-together financial pledges along with barely-defined new financial archirecture (the Adaptation Fund, Least Developed Countries Fund and SCCF). Given the uncertainty involved in both the new financial architecture and the scale and reliability of its sources, COP 7 decided the smart move would be to concentrate on what matters: the front end of the delivery pipeline. That front end is capacity building.

Given the obvious comparability, it is completely baffling as to how the LCA ended up developing the CB text currently under consideration. A year ago at the mid-point of Cancun, the Group of 77 and China was arguing along very similar lines as civil society for a new UNFCCC structure for CB, tasked with the oversight, co-ordination, streamlining and optimisation of capacity building, using a newly-created body capable of interacting with the emergent new architectures for mitigation, adaptation, technology, finance and MRV.

Cancun deferred this issue to Durban. The mystery is how readily the G77 have already dropped their demand for a new CB structure under Cancun para 137 and agreed with the EU and Umbrella Group that life is far simpler if Durban just creates some sort of talking shop (“forum”) to review CB under Cancun para 136, thus killing two birds with one stone.

On the other hand, ECO still prefers the CB Co-ordinating Body (CBCB) mapped out over two years ago. The problem is that the broad coalition of LDCs, SIDS, AOSIS and African countries that co-operated so effectively in getting a new approach to CB agreed in Marrakech appears to have sunk without a trace.

ECO has certainly not given up on this. But we would respectfully request that developing country Parties dig out the text they were so forcefully promoting only a year ago, and also remind themselves of the success at Marrakech.

Related Newsletter : 

CAN Pre-COP Workshop 2011 Announcement

Climate Action Network-International is excited to inform that as part of our ongoing efforts under the Southern Capacity Building program, a "Pre-COP Workshop" will be organized for developing country CAN members in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 19th to 21st October 2011.  About 50 participants will be attending the workshop.

This event is primarily for civil society members in developing countries, and aims to strengthen and work towards a common southern civil society voice within CAN and like minded organisations in the lead up to COP 17.  The event will be building upon the similar and successful pre-COP workshop held last year in Mexico City, which roughly 50 CAN members and partners attended.

We are very excited to be planning this workshop in collaboration with a large variety of CAN members and partners, whose financial support is not only making this event possible but also whose engagement we believe will bring richness to the discussions.  Thus far, we have received commitments of support from the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Bread for the World, Greenpeace International, WWF-International, Oxfam International, the Norwegian Environment ForUM, the Development Fund, the Southern Voices Program consortium and CARE Denmark. We’d like to thank these organizations and partners for their interest in supporting this event!

Main Objectives:
1. Provide space for southern CAN members and other stakeholders to work on a common and unified southern voice for greater influence at the Seventeenth Conference of Parties in Durban.
2. Strengthen the South–South dialogue and discussion in order to support the CAN-International policies to have impact in the climate negotiations through broader understanding and knowledge base.
3. Strengthen and reinforce the connections between the southern civil society members to continue dialogue and strategize for future advocacy and actions in their respective country and regions.
4. Have dialogue and interaction with African governments and/or the African Union.

Program Design
The full focus of the program is on policy framing and influencing the outcome in COP17. Attention will be given to major areas such as: UNFCCC processes, thematic issues discussion (e.g. low carbon development, adaptation, etc.), and institutional strengthening and sharing of country/regional experiences focusing on policy advocacy in the Global South.

Who will Attend?
Developing country CAN members and partners having policy experiences especially related to the UNFCCC process (national, regional and international) are invited. Selected participants will do a preparatory work on their respective national/regional policies before attending the workshop.  And these participants are also expected to share the outcomes of the pre COP workshop once they go back to their home country or regions in order to ensure information is disseminated to wider stakeholders. Participant selection will be inclusive of different regions from the where gender, organisational, country and regional balance will be considered.
 

Building Capacity Building

Just as CAN's approach to mitigation has always been for Parties to focus on the reality of "What the atmosphere actually sees", so CAN's approach to capacity building (CB) in the LCA has always been for Parties to concentrate on the realities on the ground.  These realities are four-fold:

1) The vast majority of Parties are mid to small sized developing countries with under-developed economies containing immense potential for human and economic development;

2) Most of these economies are already in the frontline of initial climatic impacts that their populations are already experiencing, can witness, and can understand;

3) Governments and populations of these countries understand the implications of established science;  things will only get worse without action, and mitigation action capable of limiting warming to 2 degrees or less will require: a) robust action from wealthy economies and b) deviation from business-as-usual high-carbon development pathways for developing countries;

4) Very few of these countries have the political, economic or institutional capacity right now to rapidly design and build low-carbon development pathways on their own and unassisted;

Unfortunately, up to now the CB negotiations in the LCA have largely turned around almost anything else except these basic realities - despite CAN's insistent pressure and constant calls for focus. (With the significant exception of a short period during the Bangkok and Barcelona sessions before Copenhagen when CB was negotiated on its own and suddenly started to make significant progress.)

The Panama session is crucial for CB in the LCA.  By contrast to progress on both technology and finance, negotiations on institutional arrangements for CB were almost completely unproductive at Cancun. Some forward movement was established at Bonn this June. However that progress now needs a new sense of purpose and focus if we are to get a decision at Durban.

Topics: 

Panama: Progress or Paralysis?

Durban is shaping up as a critical moment in the 20-year history of the climate regime.  The world can either build on what has been created in the Kyoto Protocol, raise the level of ambition as demanded by the science, and provide sufficient finance to meet developing countries’ needs for adaptation, mitigation, and REDD. Or it risks relegating the UNFCCC to a side show with little legitimacy to meaningfully address the climate crisis.

Let’s review what’s needed to avoid a train wreck in Durban:

Mitigation:In the Cancun Agreements, developed countries accepted that their aggregate level of ambition should be in the range of 25-40%.  Even while this range does not guarantee that global temperature rise will stay below 2 degrees Celsius, current developed country emission reduction pledges will result in reductions of only 12-18% going down to ~2% if currently existing and proposed loopholes are taken into account.  ECO suggests four critical elements in the Durban mitigation package for developed countries:: clarify what the net emissions would be based on current pledges and assumptions; close the loopholes;  move to the high end of current pledges; and agree on a process to increase ambition beyond 40%, for adoption at COP18/CMP8.

Panama can and must reach agreements on closing the loopholes.  The recent Review of proposals on forest management under LULUCF clarifies the size of the forestry loophole.  Now, Parties must adopt forest management reference levels that are comparable and that don’t significantly undermine Annex I Party targets. Overall, LULUCF rules should encourage Parties to achieve ambitious mitigation from land and forests.  On carry-forward of AAUs, Parties must eliminate the risk of “hot air” undermining the environmental integrity of future reduction commitments.

Kyoto Protocol: As acknowledged by both Executive Secretary Figueres and incoming COP President Nkoana-Mashabane, the future of the Kyoto Protocol will be decided at Durban.  While some developed country Parties would prefer to overlook the KP or at best, make a second commitment period conditional on what happens in the LCA over the next four years, it is  essential that in Durban, we cement a second commitment period of the KP.  The alternative – a pledge and review world – just won’t cut it.

Convention mandate: Given the urgency of the climate catastrophe unfolding daily before our eyes, nothing less than the greatest level of commitment is needed from all parties.  Therefore, in addition to preserving the Kyoto Protocol, Durban must agree that by 2015 at the latest, the commitments and actions of all Parties should be inscribed in legally binding instrument[s], whilst fully respecting the principles of the Convention.

Finance:The last session on finance in Bonn was dominated by discussions on the Standing Committee.  Negotiations need to also focus on the critical issue of where the money is going to come from.  Urgent attention on scaling up sources of climate finance from 2013 to 2020 is needed.  In addition to expanding direct finance from national treasuries, Parties should commit to raise significant revenue for the Green Climate Fund from innovative sources, implemented in a way that has no net incidence for poor countries.  Progress on a mechanism to levy bunker fuels would be an especially noteworthy achievement here in Panama, which licenses so much of the world’s shipping.

Technology: CAN urges Parties to decide here in Panama on the criteria for the Climate Technology Center host, so that the Center and Network can be operationalized in 2012 as envisioned in the Cancun Agreement.

Adaptation: Parties aren’t far away from a good decision text on the Adaptation Committee.  Here in Panama, they should agree on the composition of the Committee with equitable representation, direct reporting to the COP, and linkages to other institutions, particularly on finance and technology.

Capacity Building: Parties should work with the Facilitator's notes and his new and highly comprehensive background paper to begin drafting text for a Durban decision. This paper should focus on the vital question of how to design effective and comprehensive co-ordination of new, additional and scaled-up capacity-building within the emerging new architectures for finance, technology, adaptation, MRV and mechanisms.

MRV: Parties should build on the MRV architecture agreed in Cancun by moving forward on common accounting rules for emission reduction targets and an enhanced common reporting format on finance. Parties should also adopt guidelines on the content, timing and structure of biennial reports, and agree procedures for strong International Assessment and Review (IAR) for developed countries and International Consultation and Analysis (ICA) for developing countries.  

On all these fronts, Parties need to agree here in Panama what text they will work from – and begin to constructively work on that text.  It’s time for all Parties to show they are serious about the UNFCCC, and serious about their commitment to prevent catastrophic climate change; small steps won’t cut it.

My Bonn, Germany Experience!!!

Pelenise Alofa
President
Kiribati Climate Action Network
Kiribat
i


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!!!
 

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Related Member Organization: 

CAN letter to LCA Chair regarding submissions and expert meeting opportunities arising from Bonn June 2011 intersessional

CAN has identified the important submissions, technical expert meetings, workshops etc that should be undertaken to progress work in order that Durban should be successful in establishing the basis for a fair, ambitious and binding agreement.

Organization: 

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