Tag: Qatar

Obviously the world is changing…


Lama Ghaddar

Changes are happening on different levels: political, economic and demographic.

Arabs’ policies are changing too… the Arab region is already being impacted by climate change. They will have to survive through important economic challenges and environmental threats in the near future.

Arabs countries were drilling the earth for black gold and ignoring the climate change deterioration. What changed after hosting the 2012 December UN Climate negotiations (COP18) in an Arab Country? Apparently, Arabs are now more headed for green-growth policies that seek to make the processes of economic growth more environmentally friendly, more resource efficient and more resilient without slowing down their growth pace. Arabian governments are remedying the situation and they are looking and planning for strong strategies that enable them to implement and build their strength, resilience, and democratic institutions.

“Qatar and PIK announce creation of climate change research institute” a title that drew my attention. I thought that it is worthwhile to share it with the rest of the world.

A new Climate Change Research Institute and a Global Climate Change Forum are being set-up and it will be based in Qatar. It will seek to fill critical gaps in research on mitigation, adaptation and climate resiliency for key regions such as tropics, sub-tropics and dry lands. The aforementioned institutes are the first of their kind in the region. A country whose wealth is founded on fossil fuels, Qatar, will have much attention is directed toward itself. We are all waiting for the results of this amazing initiative, hoping that Qatar will inspire the rest of the Arab world to start developing longterm strategies that address the economic, social and environmental challenges facing this region. Governments should integrate into their policies and plans climate change mitigation and adaption to its effects.

Today Arab countries are undergoing seminal transitions politically and demographically. So together, Arabs countries and communities can make a progress towards an Arab green economy and a stable region. It is time to join developed countries and unite our efforts.

Related Member Organization: 

NGOs respond to expected new emission reduction pledges


Media Advisory – Webcast Notice


[Doha – Qatar] – December 4, 2012 – Experts from NGOs who are members of Climate Action Network will be available to respond to the expected announcement by Qatar in the morning that it will pledge to reduce emissions.

Available to comment after the announcement are:

Wael Hmaidan, director of CAN-International, with expertise on the Middle East and Gulf region.
Contact: Ria Voorhaar - +974 33 38 6907, rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org

Tim Gore, 
Climate Change Policy Advisor for Oxfam International, with expertise on climate finance.
Contact: Sunita Bose - +974 5504 6084, sunita.bose@oxfaminternational.org

Ruth Davis, chief policy adviser, Greenpeace, with an expertise on climate negotiations.
Contact: Tina Loeffelbein - +974 6618 6317, tina.loeffelbein@greenpeace.de.

Key NGO experts attending UN climate talks in Doha, Qatar, including Tim Gore and Ruth Davis, will also host a media briefing, webcast live, on Wednesday, December 5 at 15.30 on the Qatar pledge and the current state of the negotiations.

·      What: Review of current national pledges and update on the UNFCCC climate negotiations in Doha

·      Where: Press Conference Room 2, QNCC, Doha, Qatar

·      Webcast Live at:  http://unfccc4.meta-fusion.com/kongresse/cop18/templ/ovw_live.php?id_kongressmain=231

·      When: 15.30 local Doha time, Wednesday, December 5, 2012

·      Who: NGO experts on UNFCCC negotiations


Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 700 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.

For more information, please contact CAN International Communications Coordinator Ria Voorhaar, email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org, local mobile: +974 33 38 6907.


Arabs: It’s time to lead!

For the first time in the history of UNFCCC negotiations an Arab COP has officially begun. Qatar, of the rich Persian Gulf, is hosting the 18th Conference of Parties. A lot is at stake in these 2 weeks and we are all expecting the Presidency and the Parties  to deliver a successful, balanced outcome that will ensure climate action pre and post 2020. Our eyes are on Qatar and all the other Arab countries as negotiating Parties. 

The COP not only brought the climate debate into this climate vulnerable Arab peninsula, but also stimulated the newly established Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM). ECO easily spotted many of them in the hallways, and they had a message for their countries; “Arabs: It's time to lead!”
The Arab world is feeling the grave impacts of climate change with droughts, decreased precipitation and floods. They have, however, not planned major shifts away from business as usual, let alone put climate change on their political agenda nor do they demonstrate willingness to take action internationally. The Arab spring has created a platform for social change, youth engagement and social change. It has in turn brought a climate spring and many young activists who will be strongly calling on their governments to provide mitigation/adaptation strategies to combat and reduce climate change impacts. 
The AYCM has set out to create a generation-wide movement across the Middle East and North Africa, driven by over 20 national coordinators spread across 15 MENA countries, and aims to make its presence felt from the Gulf to the Atlantic. They are here to play their role in the struggle to solve the climate crisis and will be engaging their delegates, carrying out actions and organising side events in order to influence the positions of Arab governments in the negotiations and beyond. More than one hundred Arab youth are here and pushing for greater ambition across the board. They want their countries to do their part and tell the world in Doha, take action before 2020 and work for a legally binding agreement  to ensure a safe climate future in the Arab world.
Related Newsletter : 

The Ugly, the Not So Bad and the Good

ECO listened with great interest to Parties' expectations of COP18 in Qatar this year. The greatest surprise came from those bottom-up loving Brollies, who mentioned the need to have a significant amount of technical preparation to give Ministers “options” on the Kyoto Protocol. Yes, you heard it, optionSSSSSS. Why do we need plural options? Surely one will suffice? Provisional Application – period.

But it wasn’t all bad, we liked the EU’s call for more creative thinking that shouldn’t just be exclusive to parties. ECO was jumping for joy. We will definitely let our creative juices run wild and are always happy to share these with our European colleagues, as well as others.

But the real music to our ears came from the UAE, which characterized itself, like Qatar, as a small but ambitious country, claiming that many countries in the region have renewable energy initiatives and targets, and hope that Doha can be a chance for these initiatives to get the "international recognition" they deserve. ECO is often wishful, but could this be the onset of support for the Arab countries to submit NAMAs? We hope so.


Qatar: Still Time to Lead

As Qatar comes closer to assuming the Conference of the Parties Presidency and leading the global negotiations for the next year, some are wondering whether having a COP in the Middle East was a big mistake. They are afraid that Qatar would be overly influenced by their neighbours the Saudis, who have been constantly labelled as obstructionist since the start of this process.

Though some governments in the region have long played a less than positive role in the international climate talks, ECO believes that as President of the COP, Qatar can be a champ and lead a more progressive bloc of Arab nations within the climate talks - not only at COP18, but well beyond.

In recent years, the Qatari government has successfully positioned itself as a key player in many high profile international arenas. As a state which has become actively involved in everything from the political situation in Afghanistan, to the various democratic movements across the Middle East and North Africa, as well as successfully securing the right to host various major international events, the government is playing a significant global role, particularly relative to Qatar's comparatively small size. 

Climate change is both a threat and opportunity for Qatar. It is a low-lying, small, semi-island state, with all its developments along the coast. This makes it extremely vulnerable to climate change impacts. However, since its main export is natural gas, this makes Qatar’s economy more resilient to a transition to cleaner fuels.

Despite these facts, climate change has not been a top public political priority for the Qatari Government.  But since they will now be thrust into the spotlight in their role as COP18 hosts, ECO has maintained the hope that Qatar would become a progressive climate leader.  Unfortunately, up until now, Qatar has not shown the leadership expected, and the Qatari government is running out of time to prove ECO right and those with concerns about a Qatari COP wrong.

This is the last negotiation session before everyone comes to Doha, and there is very limited time for Qatar to show its strong political leadership, and make sure that Parties come to COP18 with the political mandate needed to ensure a successful outcome.

There are many ways that Qatar can send a message to the international community that it is serious about climate change. One way to demonstrate leadership is to have the direct involvement of the Qatari Royal Family in climate change. This has happened on other issues; for example, H.H. Sheikha Moza, the second wife of the Emir of Qatar, has been a champion of education at home and abroad.  She is the Chairperson of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, which has established the education city in Qatar. It would be ideal if a member of the Qatari Royal Family would become the first Arab champion of climate change. But with less than three months to go before COP 18 opens in Doha, the Qatari Royal Family still has not been involved in the issue or even made any statement in relation to the upcoming COP. 

Another way to prove leadership is for Qatar to put a meaningful mitigation pledge into the international process, as many other developing countries around the world have already done. This would make Qatar the first Arab country to do so. Although Qatar has the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions, what matters is not where the country's emissions stand at the moment, but what it intends to do to constrain them in the future. If Qatar could help persuade other Arab countries to inscribe their own pledges in Doha, that would further demonstrate Qatar’s leadership on the issue. Many Arab countries already have national goals and policies. They only need to take the simple step of submitting these measures to the international process as pledges of action.

Finally, Qatar can ramp up its outreach to other governments in the months remaining before COP 18, becoming more familiar with both the substantive and political issues that will play a role in the success or failure of COP 18. As it has done with previous COP presidencies, Climate Action Network stands ready to provide support and advice to the Qatari government as it prepares itself to lead the negotiations in Doha.

The world needs significant progress to be made at COP 18:

·         adoption of a second commitment amendment to the Kyoto Protocol

·         successful completion of the unresolved issues in the Bali Action Plan, including ramped-up support for enhanced action by developing countries

·         agreement of a robust work plan for the new round of negotiations under the Durban Platform

Success on these fronts depends on skillful leadership by Qatar, which ECO knows it possesses, as well as the willingness of countries to make the compromises needed to reach agreement on all these fronts.

If COP18 is a success, Qatar's reputation will be further enhanced on the international stage. Conversely, without Qatar's full leadership, COP18 risks being viewed as a "do-nothing COP," or worse, a COP where the gains of Cancun and Durban were rolled back. The world can't afford this – we all have a stake in the success of the Qatari presidency. That's why ECO maintains its hope that Qatar will fully step up to its responsibilities as the incoming Presidency, and get the job done in Doha.


Qatar: Time to Lead

Qatar must be really courageous to host the COP this year! There are seven negotiating tracks taking place during COP18, including having to adopt an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, trying to finalizing the mandate of the LCA, and agreeing on a workplan and milestones under the ADP for short-term ambition and the global deal. The job that Qatar has to do seems impossible. And those are just the highlights of elements that are lined up for development and agreement by COP18. To make things worse, Qatar had less than a year to prepare, since it took one extra year to resolve who would be the COP18 host.

On Wednesday, negotiators from various groupings told Qatar that they are willing to work with them to ensure success at COP18. Nevertheless, the upcoming COP President usually plays a leading political role to bring about an agreement. The Mexican and South African Presidencies in the past two COPs had to muster all their political skills and spend real political capital for a year in order to successfully reach agreements.

The strength of the political outcomes will only be ensured by strong political leadership from Qatar. The presidency will need to invest high-level diplomacy in bringing together the interests of all negotiating groups along all of the LCA, KP and ADP tracks through consensus. They will need to employ their history of conflict resolution and mediation skills in the Arab region. They should involve heads of state and reach out to royals from around the globe to provide more flexible mandates to their negotiators. Compromises and bottom lines of countries and regions should be determined, tested and challenged well before the COP. One idea to achieve this is to hold a Heads of State meeting in Doha after Ramadan. Another is to form a friends of the Presidency group that includes individuals at the ministerial level from the different negotiating groups, which meet several times between now and Doha, aiming at providing guidance to negotiators.

Failure in Doha, will mean failure for the whole Arab region. Therefore, all Arab countries need to support Qatar, and should also show leadership. This could be achieved by having all Arab countries submit NAMA pledges to the UNFCCC by COP18. This is the region's opportunity to show they are serious about tackling climate change and its impacts on future generations – including their own future descendants.


CAN Side Event: Pathway to Qatar and 2015

18:15-19:45 – Wind

How to build a workplan across KP, LCA and ADP to ensure a successful 2015 protocol

― Facilitator : Niranjali, CIEL

― Equity : Tim Gore, Oxfam

― Mitigation : Wael Hmaidan, CAN

― Support : Mahlet Eyassu, Forum for Environment, Ethiopia

― Elements of a 2012-2015 Workplan : Wendel Trio, CAN Europe

Related Newsletter : 

2015 – Setting the Pace in the Race for Ambition

 As delegates bounce back to the Maritim, high off their post-Durban buzz, ECO thinks it’s worthwhile reminding them of the gravity of what they are negotiating. Durban very nearly failed. Had it done so, it would have empowered the formidable naysayers across the global economy, providing them with ample fuel to dismiss not only climate change but the multilateral system altogether.

 Whilst the Durban outcome was far from perfect, delegates still had the Cancun prophecy ringing in their ears – “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”. What we got from Durban was an opportunity, as opposed to an outcome, of a hard deadline of 2015. And, importantly, we got the world caring again. When the Indians and Europeans battled it out in the grand “huddle”, determined to come to a resolution, international leaders and investors finally looked up from their navels and took notice.

 Now, back in the confines of the Maritim, we need all parties to knuckle down, and begin the long, hard slog to negotiate the final outcome. Opening up old wounds will not prevent climate chaos.

 As Cancun pointed out, tactical negotiating will not be enough to secure us a 1.5 degrees C future. Skilled diplomacy has not required any of the critical countries to move beyond the red lines we grew to know, love and hate in Copenhagen. Parties acknowledged that the politics aren’t yet right to secure a fair, ambitious and legally binding deal. But what we got in Durban was a grace period.

 The politics of 2015 do, however, provide an opportunity for more ambition compared to 2011. “It’s the economy, stupid”, barely encompasses the political preoccupation across Europe and OECD countries. But by 2015, it is likely that the worst of the recession will be over. And importantly, the rhythm of the electoral cycle across a swathe of key polluters to 2015 gives hope and promise to greater levels of ambition and political commitment. Unless countries recognise the very real danger that climate change poses to their national interests, they will not budge any further than their pre-Copenhagen mandates.

 But it’s not only the politics of ambition which need to be mastered. That little old chestnut, common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, also needs some help. And it would appear as if, finally, most Annex 1 countries have received the message loud and clear (ECO does not need to spell it out; we all know who the deaf countries are). Unless a fair settlement is sought, a deal in 2015 is unrealistic. Fairness is not a hurdle towards greater ambition, but a key component to incentivise a successful deal. Scepticism that 2015 will be “Copenhagen the Sequel” misreads the politics since COP15. Anyone daft enough to think politicians and their negotiators would endure another Copenhagen should be doomed to eat Maritim sandwiches for the rest of their lives. 2015 will be very different.

 Firstly, a key advantage for 2015 is that the political change we need to see can now be leveraged off significant quantities of low carbon investment and confidence across a broad range of countries. Adding to this, the UNFCCC has made significant progress in defining the mechanisms which can be ramped up to deliver ambition. Secondly, the embryonic Durban Alliance and Cartagena Dialogue can help keep their Annex 1 partners on their toes, and help shape a Fair, Ambitious and Binding (FAB) deal over the years ahead. And finally, 2015 will no doubt be an important milestone on the road to a global low carbon economy, alongside Rio, Qatar and other high profile events.

 But we must not focus on the glitz and glamour at the expense of harvesting incremental achievements, building session by session the systems and instruments needed to deliver success along the way. Putting all our eggs in one basket, when the scale of the challenge is enormous, is no longer a feasible option. Parties are now acknowledging that success in 2015 will be measured by a combination of progress inside and outside the UNFCCC, top-down and bottom up measures, in shaping emissions trajectories to 2030.

 In Bonn, ECO will not take the promise of post-2020 ambition as an excuse for lack of short-term measures. Broaching the gigatonne gap, outlining ambitious proposals for the review of adequacy and beginning to map out the process for developing an equitable outcome will be vital in securing a 2015 deal. Haggling over the text that has already been gavelled through contradicts the constructive spirit reached in South Africa.

Related Newsletter : 

Saudi Arabia Take First Place, Qatar Earns Second

Saudi Arabia Take First Place, Qatar Earns Second
Bonn, Germany – It was a neighborly Fossil awards ceremony the second Monday of
the Bonn climate negotiations, as “next door” countries Saudi Arabia and Qatar swept
the nominations. Saudi Arabia took first for trying to delay discussions on addressing
losses and damages from climate change impacts in developing countries. Close
behind them in the voting, Qatar earned second place for trying to direct oil taxes
away from low-carbon transport development and toward their own coffers.

The Fossils as presented read:

The Second place Fossil goes to Qatar for suggesting that they should be
compensated for the tax that developed countries add onto Qatari oil.
At the Joint SBSTA/SBI Meeting on impact of the implementation of response
measure, Qatar presented a graph and emphasised that taxes in developed countries
add more to the selling price of oil than their wholesale price. For example, in the UK
oil's initial price is $200 and the tax is $850; that sums to $1,050. Then Qatar had the
gall to suggest that if developed countries were to give the tax amount to Qatar, then
Qatar is happy to provide the oil for free. This tax money should clearly be spent on
developing green alternatives to carbon based transport and to deal with the problems
that carbon based transport creates – health, environmental, etc. – not to compensate
oil producing countries. Any potential future COP host would know that (hint hint).”

The First place Fossil is awarded to Saudi Arabia. In discussions on the loss and
damage work programme, Saudi Arabia argued that the Parties did not need to agree
on activities until COP18 – 18 months from now! The Cancun Agreements
established a work programme to enable Parties to take a decision on loss and damage
itself – not the work programme. Debating the activities of a work programme for 18
months is akin to debating an agenda for 18 months…and we’ve seen enough debates
on agendas.”
About CAN: The Climate Action Network is a worldwide network of roughly 500
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote government and
individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable
levels. www.climatenetwork.org

About the fossils: The Fossil of the Day awards were first presented at the climate
talks in 1999  in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum. During United Nations
climate change negotiations (www.unfccc.int), members of the Climate Action
Network (CAN), vote for countries judged to have done their 'best' to block progress
in the negotiations in the last days of talks.




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