Tag: durban

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
Ethiopia

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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Scientific Reality Check Desperately Needed

Lack of ambition? Actions don’t meet the urgency? There is help for that: the Review agreed in Cancun is a key tool to re-inject ambition and a sense of urgency as well as collective responsibility into the climate regime – all of which seems to have been lost in recent years. It is the scientific reality check on our political debate.

That is why ECO insists that the terms of reference for the Review be finalized at Durban! This means that Parties will have to decide on a suitable body to conduct the Review and its further modalities as soon as possible. Getting the timing right is also critical: the Review must be completed in good time to provide action-oriented recommendations to COP 21 in 2015. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report will be one crucial input to the review; its Synthesis Report needs to be finalized before COP 20 in 2014 so that it, together with the reports from the individual IPCC working groups, can fully inform deliberations on the Review.

ECO reminds Parties that the Review is not a technical paper, but a report on the adequacy of the 2°C limit and the evidence base for possibly strengthening it to a 1.5°C limit. Moreover, there is already little doubt that the Review will illuminate the unconscionable inadequacy of the current pledges.

Of course, the Review will not be the only input available to Parties as they consider options for building a more comprehensive and ambitious climate regime. National communications and biennial reports, along with updated mitigation pledges from both developed and developing countries, will illuminate both the progress being made, as well as the remaining gap that must be closed if we are to keep global temperature increases below the 2°C agreed by leaders in Copenhagen, much less the 1.5°C limit called for by over 100 countries.

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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
Nepal

 

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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Midweek MRV

Halfway through the meeting in Panama, ECO would like to present an assessment of progress made thus far. Overall, ECO is happy to note that Parties are very busy preparing and discussing text.  There are still potential storm clouds on the horizon for Durban, however ECO hopes that by the end of this week Parties can get agreement on producing a set of decision text that can narrow the remaining political differences and lay the groundwork for important steps forward in Durban. While not comprehensive, here is ECO’s take on some of the issues under discussion here this in Panama.
Substantive discussions on issues related to legal architecture have percolated up in Panama - including in the LCA informal group on Legal Options (despite Saudi Arabia's best efforts to squelch those discussions).  But there is clearly no meaningful convergence on these issues, and the process lacks a forum for having the cross cutting dialogue necessary to ensure coherent outcomes of the two tracks in Durban.  While outside the main talks here, the Mexico-PNG proposal to address voting procedures is a welcome attempt to focus attention on improving the efficiency of the UNFCCC process.
On the pathetically low levels of developed country ambition – Parties have shown signs that they are at least at step one: recognising they have a problem.   ECO hopes that Parties can come up with a clear process on how to address the gigatonne gap in Durban and happy to see there are some proposals on the table.
On the LULUCF issue being addressed in the Kyoto Protocol track, ECO applauds the principle put forward by the G77 this week in its proposal to treat natural disturbances using a statistical approach. ECO is waiting to see if this new proposal will also be transparent, robust and conservative.  On the other hand, the implications of New Zealand’s proposal for “flexible land use” raises significant concerns that this could wreck other parts of the LULUCF accounting rules and has the potential to cause further damage if used in REDD.
The opening informal on finance kicked off with clashes over whether to negotiate the Standing Committee or long-term finance (scaling up 2013-2020 finance as well as sources).  After Bonn, ECO anticipated that Parties would finally agree to focus on long-term finance.  But it didn’t take long for disappointment to take hold as the US, other umbrella group members and even some EU countries refused to discuss text  – with the US insisting that responsibility lies with individual parties to determine how they will reach the $100bn Cancun commitment.  If that’s the case, ECO thinks the US should be made to say what their plan is! Chief among the innovative finance sources that should be addressed is bunkers, where a decision under sectoral approaches to guide the International Maritime Organization to design a carbon pricing instrument taking into account the principle of CBDR would be a significant outcome in Durban.
Discussions on the scope and modalities of the 2013-15 Review happily included an IPCC briefing on the scope and timing of its Fifth Assessment Report and how its findings could contribute to the review process.   ECO urges Parties to creatively design and adopt at Durban a three-year work program that creates an ‘upward spiral of ambition’.
ECO welcomes that views on the Adaptation Committee became clearer during the last few days and that more and more Parties are considering ways that civil society can be an active part of the committee. But in the next three days, nothing less than draft decision text will do -- especially as seven other critical issues on adaptation remain to be addressed in Durban.
The technology facilitator has shown commendable initiative in developing draft decision text. However, the first reading of the text throws into relief the developed countries’ attempts to thwart progress by bracketing various critical elements and options essential for operationalizing the Technology Mechanism by 2012. ECO urges parties to ratchet up the speed of drafting decision text through pointed discussion around critical issues and ensuring that the Cancun Agreement timelines for operationalizing the technology mechanism are met.
Finally, ECO is pleased that negotiators are intensively addressing the myriad issues involved on MRV, including ICA, IAR, and biennial reports, that text is being developed, and that NGO participation in the IAR process is under serious consideration.  Similar consideration, though should be given to such participation in the ICA process.  

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