Neoka Naidoo, Leadership Development Fellow from Project 90 by 2030 in South Africa blogs about her experience in the run up to and at COP20.
In October I attended the South African National Climate Change Response Dialogue (NCCRD), hosted by the Department of Environmental Affairs, just weeks before COP20. The NCCRD aimed to inform the participants on the current state of affairs on climate change. This entailed a report back of their initiatives in place to takcle climate change. I think one of the most powerful outcomes during this time was that civil society organisations agreed on an opening statement. This was a key moment as more collaboration is needed within the broader civil society movement in South Africa.
The following week I attended the Rustlers Valley Youth retreat, held in partnership with Civicus and the Rustlers Valley Trust. It was an inspiring space where youth members involved in social, economic and environmental justice could converse but also share ideas and collaborate with each other on similar projects. I had the privilege of meeting legends in the South African struggle, George Bizos and Dikgang Moseneke. These stalwarts not only shared their story but their passion.
These two events allowed me to approach COP 20 with an altered mind-set.
This was my first Conference of the Parties as an observer participant on the inside. It was an interesting affair to say the least. During the opening speeches you could feel the excitement and the ambition from both the COP president Peruvian Minister of the Environment Manuel Pulgar-Vidal and the executive secretary of the UNFCCC Christiana Figueres. They spoke about the importance of the Lima COP in terms of viable outcomes. They specifically spoke about including adaptation in the agreement and efficiency in their work. Various elements were covered during the jammed part two period.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) was also high on the agenda, the chairs noting that countries like Peru are developing nations vulnerable to climate change. They impressed the importance that developed nations give financial aid for the great push to alleviate the effects of climate change. However it is important to acknowledge the lack of substantive elements in the text at the end of COP20. The lack of ambition and the stalling tactics are unnecessary and quite astonishing.
We are in this world together and that should not be blurred by political borders and agendas.