Tag: durban

Shared Vision Needed Before Durban

ECO loves workshops, and luckily, there more are to come! For instance, the facilitators of the shared vision informal have keenly noticed an interest by Parties to hold one more workshop on what a long-term global goal for emission reductions might mean for developing countries – and ECO would add  – global peaking year.

Here ECO offers two smart observations: (i) if the workshop is held only in Durban (rather than, as ECO would suggest, at the tentative Fall/Spring session) Parties will not be able to adopt a COP decision on the much-needed long-term goal just a few days later (as if at these talks anything was ever dealt with at the urgency and speed it deserved); and (ii) the experience of Copenhagen shows that it doesn’t take a workshop to know that negotiating a long-term goal without understanding who contributes what and what’s the fair share of their responsibility, will be very difficult. ECO believes that this understanding, at least in some principled form, needs to be in the Shared Vision outcome of Durban.

The long-term goal itself, as well as the peaking year, requires a look in the science books rather than negotiations or workshops.  The potential to act on the outcome of the review, which could recommend a strengthening of the temperature target to 1.5°C (for the sake of millions, future generations, and many islands and their inhabitants) must be kept in sight.  This calls for an emissions pathway that keeps 1.5°C within reach while allowing a high probability for keeping warming well below 2°C.


NGO Participation in the COP17 Process

ECO was particularly pleased to hear that NGOs were invited to actively participate in the informal consultations on expectations for Durban by the upcoming South African Presidency – especially since they have been mostly excluded from negotiating sessions here in Bonn. However, this pleasure soon turned into dismay when it became clear that NGOs would not be getting a chance to share their views despite the fact the South African Ambassador started the session by expressing South Africa’s commitment to civil society participation. Apparently, the UNFCCC rules and procedures do not allow for observer interventions until all parties have spoken. Well, here is the dilemma – at the last count ECO found that there are 195 Parties under this Convention!

ECO has been informed by the Secretariat that NGOs can participate in the follow-up session to this consultation, to be held today. And here is the rub – they have allocated 9 minutes in total for observer constituencies which gives ENGO’s one minute to speak. Eco is wondering how they will fit in all the expectations they have for Durban in that time.

ECO was also interested to hear that the Ambassador and a number of Parties made reference to South Africa’s unique history – its struggle against Apartheid. ECO would like to remind everyone that this struggle was fought and won by peoples’ movements, both in South Africa and by those in solidarity across the globe.  ECO hopes that South Africa, as incoming Presidency of COP 17, will introduce a new culture around NGO participation in the UNFCCC processes. The lessons from the struggle against Apartheid are rich and would only help strengthen this process. Critical to this would be to ensure the real and meaningful participation of civil society, both in the processes leading up to Durban and at COP 17 itself, especially after the Cancún Agreement has mandated South Africa to “undertake inclusive and transparent consultations in order to facilitate the work towards the success of that session.”  Amandla Ngawethu! (Power to the People)

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The $100 Billion+ Question

Cancun delivered the Green Fund, now Durban must deliver the sources of finance to fill it. Where the money will come from is the $100 billion+ question governments will need to answer at the African COP.

Financial flows for climate action must be scaled up to the tune of several hundred billion dollars a year. While much of this can come from the private sector, principally for mitigation, it won’t flow without public funding to invest in capacity-building, technology R&D, creating policy and regulatory frameworks, and to leverage the private sector investments into areas where they are not now flowing.

Meanwhile REDD requires public finance investments over the next decade in the tens of billions of dollars, and adaptation requires even greater sums of public finance. It’s clear to ECO that the annual $100b figure must be almost entirely public finance to make a significant contribution to the amount of financing needed.

ECO recognizes that there are many issues on the finance agenda in Bonn – from learning the lessons of the fast-start finance (2010-2012), establishing new institutions, and deciding the scale of finance requirements. The finance issue that parties should focus most of their efforts on here in Bonn, and between now and Durban, is how to generate the public finance required.

Part of this must be from developed country budgets. But how much and from which governments must be spelled out. Durban is only one year away from the end of the fast start funding period, and there are as of yet no concrete commitments at all for the 2013 to 2019 period.

But even if we assume optimistically that governments will scale up from the fast-start levels, the problem remains. Developed countries have a tendency to provide funding that is not new and additional, but rather often comes at the expense of other existing commitments to development finance. Supplementary sources alongside government budgets will be absolutely necessary if we are to reach the levels of predictable, new and additional public finance required.

What is needed is a clearly defined and structured process to analyze, negotiate and reach conclusions on the sources of long-term finance between now and Durban. This process should involve workshops, submissions, informal Ministerials, receipt of and responses to input from past processes like the AGF and ongoing processes like those in the IMO and G20. By Durban this process should reach key conclusions on several concrete sources of finance and set out a pathway forward to operationalize them and identify further sources needed. This should include the establishment of an effort sharing approach for developed country governments’ budget contributions, and also explore a range of new and innovative sources, including international transport (bunkers), financial transaction taxes (FTTs), and Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). 

A breakthrough agreement in Durban on the basic parameters of a mechanism to address emissions from international transport, that can generate finance for climate action in developing countries, would demonstrate conclusively that the multilateral process is alive and well and breaking new ground. If Durban can also get resolution on a second commitment period on the Kyoto Protocol that sends a strong signal and provides certainty to private sector investors, Durban could well be remembered as a turning point on the road to a fair, ambitious and binding global regime.

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The Adaptation Cocktail

The adaptation agenda is fully packed, and there are a number of crucial issues to move forward in order to deliver a good outcome in Durban. Coming to Bonn and feeling the summer sun on their skin, delegates should imagine they were to mix the ideal adaptation cocktail, which would provide refreshment as well as substantial taste. Of course, some alcohol to get the spirits high may also be allowed. So here are some key ingredients for the recipe of a cocktail which delegates may enjoy consuming next Friday before they go home:

Advance the Adaptation Committee to promote coherence on adaptation under the UNFCCC, as well as identify key gaps related to adaptation finance within the financial mechanism, and provide recommendations for further action directly to the COP. A number of around 20 members seems reasonable compared to similar bodies. Members of the Committee should be adaptation and development experts and include non-governmental stakeholders such as civil society and research organisations with relevant expertise and experience.

Agree on a Work Programme on “Loss and Damage” that will provide the basis for substantial progress in Durban and that eventually will enable the establishment of a mechanism to be presented to COP 18 for its adoption, resulting in the scaling-up of disaster risk reduction and risk management, the establishment of an international climate risk insurance mechanism, and a rehabilitation mechanism to deal with long-term climate Loss and Damage.

Advance modalities for national adaptation planning. Modalities and guidelines should follow an inclusive and integrated approach, taking into consideration vulnerable groups, communities and ecosystems. They ought to be flexible so that they acknowledge national circumstances and facilitate the use of already existing strategies. It should be agreed in Bonn to launch a “call for submissions” on the modalities and guidelines, and to request the Secretariat to organise a workshop before Durban.

Also, a further phase of the Nairobi Work Programme should be agreed upon to ensure dissemination of knowledge on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation practices reaching local levels of government, civil society and communities.

Finally, delegates should ensure that adaptation is adequately reflected in the modalities of the overall review of the Cancún Agreements.

Oh one last thing - we recommend resisting the temptation to add ingredients, which would water down the cocktail - “response measures”. This can nullify all the achievements you have made in mixing this great cocktail.

And, in conclusion, imagine this great prospect: the more progress you achieve here in Bonn, the more time you may have in Durban to enjoy the beautiful South African beaches.

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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.


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