Tag: participation

CAN Intervention - Informal consultations on Article 6 of the Convention - May 18

 

Thank you chair for giving us the opportunity to present our views on behalf of CAN international. Public support and engagement at the local and national level is critical to the success of meaningful climate mitigation and adaptation policies and we welcome the opportunity to offer a few concrete proposals. In relation to the timeframe of the next work programme, we would suggest that to established a permanent work program that is fully reviewed and amended every four years.

In order to ensure an in-depth review of the implementation of each of the elements of the amended New Delhi Work Programme we would suggest partial biannual reviews that tackle the thematic areas under two parallel groupings:

(1)  education, public awareness and training in one, and

(2)  public participation and access to information in the second, international cooperation being crosscutting.

These partial reviews should take place every two years on an alternate basis.  These reviews could include workshops as well as submissions made in advance focusing on best practices, challenges and gaps in implementation.

When reporting on implementation of article 6 related activities in their national communications, parties are encouraged to report specifically on actions taken for each of the six thematic areas and along the lines of indicators to be developed by the parties during the first partial review applying to each of the groupings.

We call for a mandate to the secretariat to request submissions and subsequently prepare a synthesis report on best practices related to the engagement of all stakeholders on national actions related to the UNFCCC.  These actions include:  preparation of national negotiating positions and reports to the UNFCCC (including national communications); and efforts to promote public participation in the negotiation process.

Thank you Mr Chair, we look forward to continue contributing to these discussions.

On The Outside Looking In

 

Dear delegates,

Let us share with you our confusion.  We are very happy to hear your heart-warming reports of the added value that we as civil society bring to this process.  However, we are slightly discouraged by the fact that we are often not allowed in the rooms where the real negotiations are taking place.

The rules on observer participation promote that all negotiating sessions are open to observers in both contact groups and informals. The spirit of the SBI discussions over the past years led us to believe that we might expect to enter the rooms. When the doors are closed to us, we call on all parties in the room to systematically ask their colleagues whether there is a compelling reason preventing the holding of a transparent session.

The graph below demonstrates the stark reality NGOs faced last just June. Despite the SBI encouraging enhanced participation, civil society spent a significant amount of time wandering aimlessly through the Maritim corridors, engaging in more conversations with the ghosts of classical musicians its room are named for than with negotiators. (Though ECO is quick to note that Listz's views on technology transfer are particularly nuanced.)

You can trust us, we are currently MRVing the compliance of parties' commitment to “openness, transparency and inclusiveness”. Because, really, there is only so much one can observe from the corridors.

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Sandra Guzman calls on countries to step up ambition

Sandra Guzman calls on countries to step it up

Sandra Guzman
Program Director Air and Energy
Mexican Center of Environmental Law (CEMDA)

Mexico

Panama is the last stop towards the COP17 and is a meeting that should clearly define the future of the climate regime. We are less than a year until the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012) is completed, and because of the lack of definition of clear strategies to achieve the emissions reductions needed to combat the problem, this not only risks the failure of the negotiation process, but also risks the survival of humanity.

For me, Panama is not only a stop in the process, but also an opportunity to raise the voice of Latin America that has been so quiet in these negotiations. This is not a lack of willingness of the actors in the region, but rather, there is a lack of human skills and language issues.

There are many actors in the region who wish to participate and contribute with ideas and proposals, however, cultural issues are a barrier for a small percentage of players who also speak English. This hinders their interaction with various actors: other Governments and other international organizations.

Therefore, we need to take into account that climate change will affect us all and that means we all have to make efforts to address the problem, it is not enough to simply recognize that there are different views in the process. It is necessary to create the mechanisms to achieve the understanding between actors and then build a common language that allows us to address the underlying problems.

In Panama, we should leave with a clear message that there will be consolidated climate regime to establish clarity on the future of the Kyoto Protocol, as well as definitions and clarity on key issues such as technology transfer, capacity building, adaptation and others that are vitally important to move forward. Without doubt, one of the great needs that must be addressed is the definition of clear targets for reducing emissions, both by developed countries and developing countries, which play a key role in the scheme of emissions and they are positioned as future leaders of the problem.

The goal of stabilizing emissions at 450 ppm to avoid a temperature rise more than 2 ºC, is necessary and we can not afford to reduce that ambition. We are at a critical juncture; we cannot allow countries to put aside what brought us to negotiate the future of mankind and not individual interests and diversions that do nothing but deepen the problem.

Taking into account all of these, the other important issue that is a key point to achieve all of this is the financing mechanisms. Where the money is going to come from? How we are going to guarantee the creation of a strong architecture, but with money inside? This is a crucial issue in Panama and is surely going to be a key point in Durban.

Time is running out and with it the lives of many people worldwide. Everyone needs to wake up and push to make things happen. We cannot continue in this scheme of vagueness and lack of will. We cannot wait. Government, business, academia and organizations cannot let the erratic visions take over the discussions. It is our commitment to make things happen, and it is our commitment that this is done better.

The next challenge is to bring this to the national level and try to get everyone domestically to discuss the implementation of public policies in our countries. I have been working in the strengthening of a climate policy in my country, México, preparing suggestions, studies and talking with key actors. My roll in México is to make things happen by having dialogues with the legislative power, the federal government, local governments, academy and civil society. We have already achieved the allocation of 300 million dollars to go towards fighting climate change, which is not enough, so we will push for more.
 

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CAN Intervention - SBSTA: methodological guidance on REDD+ - June 2011

We are encouraged by progress in SBSTA on methodological guidance on REDD+.

The safeguards information system discussion identified commonality between parties concerning:
•    the full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders including indigenous peoples and local       communities;
•    the need to build on existing systems;
•    regular international reporting, including biennial reports; and
•    participation of observers in Submissions and Expert Meetings and Workshops.

We support the establishment of ‘Principles’ including Transparency, Regularity, Simplicity, Accuracy, Reliability, Participation, and Completeness.

Unfortunately, the continued failure to differentiate ‘natural forests’ from ‘plantations’ means further attention is required to properly address the safeguard against conversion.

We emphasise the urgent need for recourse mechanisms for affected people, in particular indigenous peoples and local communities.

Reference levels should be set to contribute to mitigation of climate change, encourage broad participation of countries, and we support the use of historical baselines for reference emissions levels.

We encourage further discussion on international baselines to address international leakage and the potential to address drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.

Finally, modalities for forest carbon monitoring and MRV will be important to address this year, in particular full and independent review and addressing gaps in COP and IPCC Guidance.

Thank-you
 

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CDM "Appeal" for justice

Over the past few days, many Parties have acknowledged the need for greater public participation in the UNFCCC process – now it is time to translate words into actions. Parties are currently negotiating who should have the right to appeal against decisions of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Executive Board.

ECO was quite content with the CMP5 mandate to establish procedures for considering appeals from “stakeholders directly involved” in the design, approval or implementation of CDM activities or proposed CDM activities. Why? Because obviously, such an appeals procedure would be available to indigenous peoples and local communities that are adversely affected (displacement, loss of livelihood) and civil society groups that monitor CDM projects. Duh! Of course, the thought of adversely affected communities having the right to appeal a project scared the heck out of project developers. They put their lobbying machine into high gear to push for the exclusion of civil society by limiting the appeals procedure to project developers with rejected projects!

Since its inception the CDM has come under intense criticism for violating the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities affected by CDM projects. Now the CDM has an opportunity to be more accountable, by developing an appeals procedure that gives civil society (and most importantly, directly affected peoples and communities) a voice. ECO is dismayed by the fact that this is even being questioned.

At a moment when Parties are considering denying project-affected peoples and communities the right to appeal flawed CDM projects, ECO believes that it is time for a quick reality check. For example, indigenous peoples and local communities (clearly the stakeholders with the most to lose) often complain that they are not properly consulted as part of the local stakeholder consultation, a legal requirement in the CDM validation process. And they have absolutely no recourse. Excluding these directly affected stakeholders from the appeals procedure would deny them their human rights to public participation and access to justice. But what ́s worse, it would create further opportunities for gaming, fraud, and corruption by project participants, and disincentives to promote compliance with the CDM procedures.

To help ensure that social and environmental impacts of CDM projects are effectively addressed, ECO insists that it is essential to include indigenous peoples, local communities, and civil society groups in the definition of “stakeholders directly involved” in CDM activities. This is not an invitation to a flood of appeals against every single CDM project. This is a call for a legitimate process that provides a means of recourse in cases where rules related to environmental integrity and public participation were breached, or DOEs or project participants have violated the CDM rules. My dear delegates, this is a call for justice.

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COP out?

Will the doors slam shut at this highest-profile climate negotiations in Copenhagen this week? Will civil society, which has played such a constructive and vital role in the Conference so far, be left out in the cold by unjustifiable restrictions on access – well beyond the legitimate security needs of the Conference?

Accountability and transparency at these negotiations are a must, and cannot be secured without direct public participation. Civil society brings insight, oversight and connection to people around the world who depend on the work of NGOs to pursue the credibility of the process and integrity of the outcome.

The Rio Summit-derived Agenda 21 aptly observes: “One of the major challenges facing the world community as it seeks to replace unsustainable development patterns with environmentally sound and sustainable development is the need to activate a sense of common purpose on behalf of all sectors of society.” How can civil society get onto the same page if we’re not in the building when the real work is being done?

This meeting can go down as a milestone in human history, a watershed moment in the annals of participatory democracy. The Bella Center today is truly the world, earnestly at work on solutions to its most pressing problems. Implementing those solutions will require the active and direct mobilisation of government, business and civil society on an unprecedented scale. Any perception that the process is closed or rigged would severely undermine the prospects for success in Copenhagen and beyond.

The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development affirms that “non-governmental organisations play a vital role in the shaping and implementation of participatory democracy.”

Excluding civil society would not only be inconsistent with UN Principles. It would be profoundly counterproductive to the spirit of the conference and the practical value of its outcome. To launch the world toward a sustainable future, the process over the critical next four days must be accountable and transparent so that the result will have the power of broad ownership by all sectors. Nothing less than the full and active participation of civil society can produce such an outcome.

Finally, this move goes against the aspirations of the UN Secretary-General himself who called upon civil society to create a movement and support the world’s governments to deliver the strongest outcome possible in Copenhagen.

Closing the door will give the perception that what governments are saying is a greenwash.  It was the public pressure generated by civil society which will soon result in more than 100 heads of state descending upon Copenhagen. Don’t let the reward for this outstanding achievement be a shut out from the Bella Center. Keep the doors open. Don’t COP out!

CAN Position: Effective participation in the convention process, June 2009

CAN strongly believes that procedures and modalities for timely, meaningful, and representative participation by NGOs in all Convention-related processes are essential both to ensure that the Convention and Protocol meet their environmental and sustainable development objectives and to comply with emerging public participation principles in international law.  In this paper, CAN outlines its views on the options identified in the Note by the secretariat, “Promoting effective participation in the Convention process” (FCCC/SBI/2004/5).  CAN calls upon all Parties to recognize the fundamental and critical role played by NGOs in the negotiation process by supporting substantial improvements in the mechanisms and policies for NGO participation.  

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