Tag: COP17

Drought in Ethiopia Requires Financing From Developed Countries...Do It by Durban!

Mahlet Eyassu: what is needed on climate finance this year.

Photo Credit: Manjeet Dhakal

Mahlet Eyassu
Climate Change Program Manager
Forum for Environment

We are now in Panama, for the intersessional which is the last meeting before the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Durban. The 17th COP will be in Durban, South Africa, which make this a very important COP for Africa.  Africa along with Least Developed Countries and the Small Island States are the most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. Even though Ethiopia is one of the least developed countries that is showing a rapid economic growth, it is still being affected by drought.

At the moment the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia, is confronted with recurring climate change related disasters, in particular prolonged droughts and floods. This drought is said to be the worst in 60 years. Drought is not something new for Ethiopia nor the Horn. However, it has become more recurrent and severe in the last decades.  Climate change is making the matters and problems worse for us who are under-developed.

In order to address the impacts of climate change, countries are negotiating under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In its 15th and 16th meetings an agreement was reached that developed countries will be supporting adaptation and mitigation actions of developing countries. We are now approaching the end of 2011, where the fast start finance of $30 billion for the years 2010-2012 is about to end. The other decision we have is the one on long-term finance to mobilize $100 billion by 2020. So far there are no pledges from the developed countries for the year 2013 and onwards.  That is a worry for us coming from the developing world. We have learned some lessons from the fast start finance, which is not new and not additional to the ODA, but is just relabeled as climate finance, given in the form of loans instead of grants. There is an imbalance between adaptation and mitigation with more money going to mitigation actions instead of adaptation.

Forty member countries of the transitional committee are designing the Green Climate Fund (GCF) of whose works will be presented in Durban to be approved by the Conference of Parties (COP).  However, most developed countries do not want to have any form of discussion on long-term finance which is supposed to fill this fund. With all of these climate related disasters happening in most parts of the world, especially developing countries being the most vulnerable and having no capacity to adapt, adaptation finance is very crucial for us. It is a matter of survival and should be taken seriously by others. Developed countries need to get more serious and commit themselves to discuss the sources of finance that will feed into the new fund. If we want an outcome in Durban, most discussions and texts need to happen here in Panama.

It is good to note that, developing countries at the local and national level are also working to raise funds for their adaptation and mitigation actions. In my organization back home, Forum for Environment-Ethiopia, we have started an initiative to raise funds, which can be used for some local adaptation actions. We have started implementing the green tax initiative in which 1% of our salaries are deducted every month. We have done this for the past year and have raised small amount, which has not been used yet. Now we want this to be taken up by other organizations at the country-level to show our commitments by raising more money and taking  local initiatives. We have started the process of engaging others to hopefully have a larger impact. Progress in Panama in all issues, especially finance, is very important for us to achieve something in the African COP in Durban.

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Negotiating (iphone) Technology On The Way To Durban

Manjeet Dhakal on the Technology Mechanism

Manjeet Dhakal
Clean Energy Nepal
Program Director


One of my hobbies that I love is to use new and recently developed applications and technologies. On my last birthday, I was blessed with an 'iphone' from my colleague. I was very excited that day; I threw party on the same night when I got my iphone via DHL. Also credit goes to DHL for its service up to my far-flung apartment. And also I am grateful to my friend, that's the nicest thing that anyone's ever done for me. Otherwise, I would have never got chance to use such a wonderful thing, which would have cost almost six months of my personnel expenses in Nepal. As I remember now, I don’t know how that 'full iphone-week' passed; it felt like I was flying-up above Himalayas most of the time. My excitement continued when by the weekend, when my younger sister, studying civil engineering, asked me to find a map of our town on my iphone for her project work. Another hit was when my laureate brother asked me to find the meaning of some familiar Nepalese words, however, either my iphone does not support my language or not I could type on it. The next day I went to a local mobile service center on my town and discussed my problem with them. They tried all the possible solutions they could think of: they connected it with other devices, they installed and uninstalled software, but all of their efforts ruined root and branch.

Now, while having discussions with the friendly delegates here in Panamá, I realize that the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) has become like my friend (who gave me the iphone) and Climate Technology Centers and Network (CTCN) is like the service center in my town. Sometimes when the technology discussion is about service delivery, these institutions also seem like DHL, who did the hard job of delivering my iphone up to my apartment.

On the other side, the Technology Mechanism at Cancun was established to set-up institutions, which will help to protect the vulnerable from climate change and to deploy the money and technologies that developing countries need to plan and build their own sustainable futures. The Technology Executive Committee is foreseen as the policy arm and the Climate Technology Centre and Network as the mechanism’s implementation component. Its overarching goal was to sharpen the focus, step-up the pace, and expand the scope of environmentally-sound technology development and transfer to developing countries in a highly qualitative way.

Whereas, here, in Panama when the parties are tossing about the criteria and host of Climate Technology Center, we should request DHL to apply for it. The service delivery is well appreciated and it has outreached to all parts of world. And the important thing is that it will not charge a flat 10% of it service like some of our home institutions (banks and other sisters of the UNFCCC). Oh, but it may not have a good understanding about what adaptation is and where as it has greatly contributed to mitigating the cause of climate change.   

Then I realize, it's of no use to use those technologies which do not have local applications and applications that are not of your use. Take the example of my iphone; the company has filed more than 200 patent applications related to the technology, which seems to be preventing the over-reach of its own technology. Actually such right should have to retain a public balance in property rights and support its promotion. As decided in Cancun in order to make the Technology Mechanism fully operational in 2012, criteria and host of the Climate Technology Center and Network (CTCN) need to be finalized here at Panamá or very soon, so that, after Durban, we can focus on activities related to implementation, and more specifically deployment and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies.    

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CAN Submission: CAN's Durban Expectations, September 2011

Summaries in: English, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish

Cancun was a modest success as it buried the ghost of the failure of Copenhagen. However, the Cancun Agreements postponed important issues that underpin the success, or otherwise, of efforts to fight catastrophic climate change. 

The Cancun Agreements provide real opportunities to advance global cooperation in adaptation, forests, climate finance and technology transfer.  If all opportunities outlined within the Cancun Agreements are grasped, and parties take the following thoughtful and logical next steps, it is possible that COP17 in Durban could establish the basis for a fair, ambitious and binding global climate change regime.  If this does not happen, if instead there is delay and lack of ambition, then we risk losing the chance to keep global warming below 1.5oC and we must face the catastrophic consequences for loss of life, economic growth and natural habitat.  Without adequate mitigation, finance, technology and capacity building we will have to accept that poor communities and countries who are already feeling the impacts of changing climate will be picked off the planet.

This is why CAN believes that a compromised or low-ambition outcome is not an option for Durban, and why we set a high but achievable bar for COP 17. Parties can confront this historic challenge with new levels of solidarity and partnership and avert this pressing climate reality, by taking the steps outlined here.

Adaptation: End Game

It’s vital this week to make progress on mitigation matters. But don’t forget that for a large proportion of the world’s population, adaptation is vital too – and the slower large emitters move on mitigation, the greater the importance of adaptation.
There are two key issues that should progress this week. Current emission pledges are steering us towards a world where temperatures could, within this century, reach 4o C above pre-industrial levels.
The implications are dire: there will be unavoidable impacts resulting from environmental changes that cannot be prevented nor adapted to. They include sea-level rise, glacial retreat, ocean acidification, large scale loss of biodiversity, and land and forest degradation.
These impacts will leave the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities with destroyed homes, livelihoods and natural resources, and lead to large areas of the world becoming uninhabitable.
These are two key issues that have eluded agreement so far in the adaptation negotiations. First, this week Parties must agree a mandate for work towards enhanced understanding of loss and damage, with a work programme, including workshops, to develop the modalities of the mechanism, leading toward approval at COP17.
Another key issue is to ensure that the text only refers to adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change. We welcome the removal of response measures in Chapter II (Adaptation) of the LCA Chair’s most recent text (CRP.2).  Response measures relates to the adverse impacts of climate change mitigation, for example, decreased GDP in oil producing countries as a result of decreased oil consumption following a shift to low carbon economies.  This should not soak up funds needed to protect those who are most at risk from climate change.
Because of the clear difference between these two issues, it is not appropriate to include response measures in adaptation – especially as they are already addressed appropriately in the mitigation text (Chapter III, Section F). Developed countries will not deliver adaptation funding for the Adaptation Framework unless response measures are kept out of the adaptation text.  
In this area of the negotiations at least, the right choices will produce a simple and direct way to protect all people, especially those most exposed to dangerous climate change.

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