Tag: United Nations

Civil society warns UN Security Council climate change a driver of conflict, hunger and poverty

 

[New York – United States] – February 15, 2013 – Climate Action Network-International (CAN-International) today warned a special event for United Nations Security Council members at the UN headquarters in New York that climate change was a critical driver of poverty, inequality, instability, and conflict which would ultimately affect us all.
 
Wael Hmaidan, director of CAN-International, told the meeting, convened by Pakistan and the United Kingdom, that the situation demanded an unprecedented commitment to collective action to drastically reduce these climate-driven risks which were already being experienced, first and foremost, by the poorest and most vulnerable within our societies.
 
“We are gravely concerned by the prospects for mass displacement of people within States and across borders driven directly by climate impacts like sea level rise, droughts, desertification, biodiversity loss and indirectly by its impacts on food and natural resources,” Hmaidan said.
 
“We recognise that the decision to leave one's home and community is often the result of multiple factors, but that climate change impacts are often a critical driver, he said.
 
For example, the thousands of people who were displaced from Somalia into neighbouring countries in 2011 were not primarily fleeing conflict, but in search of food in the wake of drought.
 
Tim Gore, from Oxfam International, also present at the event, said that nowhere can this climate risk be more clearly seen than in the global food system.
 
“Droughts or floods can wipe out entire harvests, as we have seen in recent years in Pakistan, in the Horn of Africa and across the Sahel. And when extreme weather hits major world food producers – like last year’s droughts in the US and Russia – world food prices rocket. This presents a major risk to net food importing countries, such as Yemen, which ships in 90% of its wheat,” Gore said.
 
“The food riots and social unrest seen in the wake of the 2008 food price spikes were not a one-off phenomenon, but a sign of the risks we face through our failure to feed a warming world. With major producers either suffering or barely recovering from extreme heat and drought, combined with world cereal stocks falling again, world food security remains on a knife-edge.
 
Hmaidan said governments need to dramatically scale up public investments to help communities and countries adapt to the changing climate as well while at the same time ramp ing up international efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions to prevent much greater harm.
 
“Adequate preparation for permanent loss and damage inflicted by climate change, including the establishment of a new international mechanism under discussion at the UNFCCC and the recognition of new rights for climate-forced migrants is required,” Hmaidan said.
 
Contacts
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 Climate Action Network-International communications coordinator Ria Voorhaar on +49 157 3173 5568 or rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org
 
Related Member Organization: 

Fossil of the Day - 5 June 2010

FOSSIL OF THE DAY AWARDS
Bonn, Germany, June 5, 2010
The Climate Action Network (CAN), a coalition of over 500 NGOs worldwide, gives out  'Fossil of The Day' awards to the countries who perform the worst during the past day's negotiations at the UN climate change conference.
The awards given out on June 5, 2010 in Bonn, Germany were as follows:
The United States of America was awarded First Place. The U.S. earns the Fossil of the Day for blocking the common space discussion on mitigation in the Ad Hoc Working Group for Long-term Cooperative Action yesterday. Failing to pass a strong climate and energy bill is keeping them from participating in cross-cutting discussions, like the one AOSIS proposed, to build a post-2012 agreement to reduce global warming emissions.
About the fossils:
The Fossil-of-the-day awards were first presented at the climate talks in 1999, also in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum.
During United Nations climate change negotiations (www.unfccc.int), members of the Climate Action Network (CAN), a worldwide network of over 500 non-governmental organisations, vote for  countries judged to have done their 'best' to block progress in the negotiations in the last days of talks.

FOSSIL OF THE DAY AWARDS

Bonn, Germany, June 5, 2010

The Climate Action Network (CAN), a coalition of over 500 NGOs worldwide, gives out  'Fossil of The Day' awards to the countries who perform the worst during the past day's negotiations at the UN climate change conference.

The awards given out on June 5, 2010 in Bonn, Germany were as follows:

The United States of America was awarded First Place. The U.S. earns the Fossil of the Day for blocking the common space discussion on mitigation in the Ad Hoc Working Group for Long-term Cooperative Action yesterday. Failing to pass a strong climate and energy bill is keeping them from participating in cross-cutting discussions, like the one AOSIS proposed, to build a post-2012 agreement to reduce global warming emissions.

Video:

Fossil of the Day - June 5, 2010 from Sébastien Duyck on Vimeo.

Focusing on Sources: the AGF Workshop

Making progress on long-term finance is key to unlocking progress on an ambitious package in Cancun.  The upcoming Advisory Group on Climate Finance (AGF) workshop is a chance to clarify questions about the role of the panel and how it connects with the UNFCCC negotiations. Last September, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's first proposed a high level panel at the UN General Assembly.  Early this year, the Secretary-General followed through on his commitment.  In establishing the AGF, he set a path toward agreement on sources of scaled up financing under the UNFCCC to meet the need for climate action in the developing world.  The panel brings together high-level finance officials and Heads of State, who normally aren't closely engaged in the climate negotiations, to make recommendations on climate finance to the UNFCCC. Nevertheless, ECO believes that we can't leave the discussion on sources entirely in the hands of the AGF until just before Cancún.  In order to get a meaningful decision in Cancún on sources of scaled-up financing, the LCA must immediately resume the discussion of innovative sources be informed along the way by the analysis and recommendations of the AGF. To jump-start this exchange, since time is very short, Parties should put the best ideas on innovative sources of public finance into the LCA text now.  These include bunkers mechanisms and/or levies, Special Drawing Rights, a Financial Transaction Tax, and international auctioning of AAUs, all backed up through national commitments to assessed contributions. And here's a special note to developed countries:  For those who might be a little reluctant to press for new and additional funding from your Treasuries each year, remember that innovative sources could provide a substantial boost to reach the annual $100 billion milestone by the end of the decade that you pledged in Copenhagen.

Related Newsletter : 

The Vital Rol of Full Public Participation

The irony is rich: interventions by two nongovernmental were mysteriously overlooked in the SBI yesterday.  The topic?  Public participation in the climate negotiations. Civil society participation plays a critical role in this process.  We can't say it better than the Secretariat itself in its guidelines.  Vibrant public participation "allows vital experience, expertise, information and perspectives from civil society to be brought into the process to generate new insights and approaches [and] promotes transparency."  Importantly, effective public participation also helps ensure the legitimacy and public acceptance of negotiation outcomes. To be sure, the experience in Copenhagen – where the public was more engaged than ever before – has caused some Parties to forget that they agreed in the Convention to "encourage the widest participation in this process, including that of non-governmental organizations." Instead, civil society is being pushed to the margins, with opportunities to contribute increasingly limited to chance hallway encounters and loading up the tables near side events with food and drinks to entice elusive negotiators. Civil society is happy to promote conviviality and informal contact, but the negotiations require substantive and formal involvement as well. ECO suggests the UNFCCC and its parties embrace the growing popularity of the process and seek to use that as an opportunity to improve performance rather than shy away.  And now is the time to start.  A contact group is meeting today to discuss process issues related to intergovernmental meetings. This group must take up the question of public participation ensure meaningful participation throughout these processes.  It should start by permitting designated NGO representatives to actively engage on the issue of participation in today's contact group, as well as in future formal and informal sessions on this issue. As the SBI and the Secretariat consider these issues, ECO urges them to ensure a few basic principles.  Measures should always be aimed at ensuring the broadest participation possible in the given circumstance. At a minimum, this means preserving and enhancing opportunities for routine civil society input through official interventions, submissions and consultations.  Relevant rules must be transparent and provide for independent review of particular decisions limiting participation. Access to information is the lifeblood of meaningful participation; all key documents should be posted on the Secretariat's website as soon as they are finalized. Indeed, the Secretariat should take the lead in ensuring meaningful public participation and so must have sufficient and increased resources to be able to do so effectively.  Additionally, each host country government bears great responsibility as well.  Host country agreements should be made public and incorporate an obligation to facilitate participation. As host of COP-16, Mexico must take proactive steps to guarantee effective civil society participation in Cancún.  Ambassador de Alba's proven record as a strong defender of human rights gives ECO hope in this regard.  Unfortunately, Cancún's geography creates a cause for concern. Direct access to negotiators is essential.  Civil society should have broad access to the venues where formal negotiations are taking place except in extreme conditions.  In addition, Mexico must guarantee that space for side events and other civil society activities is easily and quickly accessible to all participants. Civil society also serves as an extremely valuable technical and political resource for Parties, especially in developing countries. Parties should always be enabled and encouraged to take advantage of these resources however they choose, including by inviting them onto their delegations where appropriate. Finally, the SBI and the Secretariat should take advantage of an expert resource: the Secretariat of the Aarhus Convention has offered its assistance in resolving UNFCCC public participation concerns.  Aarhus input would be valuable. Civil society is not here just to vent our frustration or make the negotiations more difficult.  We have a right to participate and much to contribute.  It is time for the Parties and the Secretariat to take heed, and then take action.

Related Newsletter : 

LULUCF: good rules before targets?

ECO has always called for “rules before targets” when it comes to land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF). We certainly don't want to repeat the mistakes of Kyoto, when LULUCF rules were negotiated specifically to allow countries to meet their emissions reduction targets, rather than to aid in climate change mitigation or adaptation.  In that light, it makes sense for the Chair of the AWG-KP to call for rules to be finalized.

While ECO applauds the push to finalize text here in Bonn, agreeing the current LULUCF proposal would be even worse than the status quo. The proposal currently tabled would frame rules that actually allow countries to increase emissions and not account for them. This will seriously undermine targets for Annex I countries before they are even finalised. We assume this isn’t what the Chair of the Kyoto Protocol really wants to see.  In fact, it contrasts rather dramatically with the approach being proposed for REDD, which starts from the assumption of emissions reductions from non-Annex I countries.

Forest management accounting rules on the table from Copenhagen allow countries to hide or ignore substantial increased emissions from forest management in their baselines. Around 400 MT annually could be released without being accounted for, equivalent to 5% of the total 1990 emissions of all Annex I parties, and a significant fraction of their proposed reductions post-2012.

Instead, what we need is a strong and unambiguous commitment to deliver emissions reductions and increases in removals in this sector, in the form of a goal in the LULUCF framework. We also need to see protection for existing forest carbon stocks. We urge all parties to consider the consequences of enshrining hidden emissions increases into a climate deal and to instead move rapidly to reduce emissions from land use, land use change and forestry.

ECO has always called for “rules before targets” when it comes to land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF). We certainly don't want to repeat the mistakes of Kyoto, when LULUCF rules were negotiated specifically to allow countries to meet their emissions reduction targets, rather than to aid in climate change mitigation or adaptation.  In that light, it makes sense for the Chair of the AWG-KP to call for rules to be finalized.

While ECO applauds the push to finalize text here in Bonn, agreeing the current LULUCF proposal would be even worse than the status quo. The proposal currently tabled would frame rules that actually allow countries to increase emissions and not account for them. This will seriously undermine targets for Annex I countries before they are even finalised. We assume this isn’t what the Chair of the Kyoto Protocol really wants to see.  In fact, it contrasts rather dramatically with the approach being proposed for REDD, which starts from the assumption of emissions reductions from non-Annex I countries.

Forest management accounting rules on the table from Copenhagen allow countries to hide or ignore substantial increased emissions from forest management in their baselines. Around 400 MT annually could be released without being accounted for, equivalent to 5% of the total 1990 emissions of all Annex I parties, and a significant fraction of their proposed reductions post-2012.

Instead, what we need is a strong and unambiguous commitment to deliver emissions reductions and increases in removals in this sector, in the form of a goal in the LULUCF framework. We also need to see protection for existing forest carbon stocks. We urge all parties to consider the consequences of enshrining hidden emissions increases into a climate deal and to instead move rapidly to reduce emissions from land use, land use change and forestry.

Related Newsletter : 

CAN-International views on qualities for a new head of the UNFCCC

CAN-International recently sent the following letter to Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations in order to inform his search for a replace to Yvo de Boer, who announced he will be stepping down later this year as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

David Turnbull
Director
Climate Action Network – International
1810 16th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009 USA
The Honorable Ban Ki Moon
Secretary-General
United Nations
1 United Nations Plaza
New York, New York 10017 USA
16 March 2010
Dear Mr. Secretary-General:
As the world’s largest network of NGOs collaborating on global solutions to the climate crisis, with an active engagement with the UNFCCC process since its inception, we at the Climate Action Network – International  wish to support your efforts to fill the vacancy left by Yvo de Boer’s impending departure.
As you continue your search for a new head of the UNFCCC, we urge you to keep the following principles in mind while assessing potential candidates:
1. Commitment to the science: The fundamental objective of the UNFCCC under Article 2 is to avoid dangerous climate change.  This objective has guided and should always guide the work of its Secretariat.  As such, any head of the UNFCCC must have a sound understanding and fundamental adherence to the scientific basis for combating climate change, applying the precautionary principle in order to ensure the Convention fulfills its objective.
2. Political savvy and leadership: The UNFCCC in conjunction with global civil society has been successful in raising the profile and urgency of climate change effectively at the highest levels.  Over 100 Heads of State attended Copenhagen and their continued engagement is both expected and essential.  In this context, the new head of the UNFCCC must be able to thoroughly engage leaders and governments at every political level.  This skill set must also include the strategic use of media, public attention, and private discourse.
3. Understanding of and experience with the negotiations:  As our collective understanding of the climate crisis deepens, the negotiations within the UNFCCC continue to become more complex.  Add to that the many challenging procedural dynamics and negotiating tactics, and it becomes clear that any candidate must demonstrate a deep understanding of how negotiations are to be managed from both procedural and strategic perspectives.  Better still would be direct experience in the negotiations, to enable a deeper understanding as well as garnering trust from parties.
4. Commitment to the valuable role of civil society and marginalized communities in particular:  The global civil society community engaged on finding a solution to the climate crisis has become larger, more organized, more strategic and ever more effective in recent years.  Further, the UN and its members have consistently affirmed and reaffirmed the importance of civil society participation in the negotiating process. Notably, indigenous peoples, women and youth are often or will be most affected by climate change but very often, unfortunately their voices struggle to be heard. Any new head of the UNFCCC must work closely with civil society, women, indigenous peoples and youth (in cooperation with the Parties) to ensure proper, complete and effective participation of these constituencies.  A demonstrable track record to this effect would be an important qualification for any candidate.
5. Thorough understanding of the challenges of development in the Global South:  Climate change poses an existential threat to many lives and livelihoods throughout the world, but most the threat is most acute in the poorest communities.  The challenge of addressing climate change and promoting sustainable development must always be approached in the context of existing challenges of poverty eradication and parallel development challenges.  In addition, participating in the international negotiations themselves can often present a challenge to the poorest and most vulnerable countries in particular.  The most vulnerable countries must be supported by the Secretariat (in cooperation with the Parties) to ensure their proper representation and voice in the process.  A candidate with a keen and thorough understanding of these challenges is needed in order to achieve the right solutions.
6. Willingness to be assertive:  Climate change is here, now.  An aggressive and rapid response is urgently required, and the UNFCCC needs a leader who is willing to be bold and guide Parties along the ambitious path that is so desperately required.  At the same time, of course, the head of the UNFCCC needs to ensure Parties feel their voices are being heard and that their concerns are being addressed in this context.  However, the successful candidate must not be timid nor unwilling to take risks where required.
7. Commitment to transparency, process, and cooperation:  The political stakes at the international climate negotiations have never been higher than at present time.  As a result the tensions surrounding the negotiations are heightened as well.  In this super-heated atmosphere, principles of transparency, good process, and cooperation can help to avoid unnecessary controversies.  An leader with a strong commitment to these principles can help keep the focus of negotiations on delivering a fair and ambitious outcome rather than on procedural issues.
8. Commitment to smooth logistics: The Secretariat has an important role to play in ensuring the negotiations run smoothly from a logistical standpoint.  Similar to the issues around transparency and process, ineffective or defective logistical arrangements can add distractions to the negotiations rather than contribute, while proper arrangements can obviously help provide an effective negotiating atmosphere.  A head of the UNFCCC with a commitment to ensuring efficient negotiation arrangements will help to ensure the Parties and Observers can both focus on the incredibly important issues at hand.
In addition to the key qualities outlined above, we urge you to select someone who can inspire. Talks are currently at a tipping point.  They need someone who can show that not only is a fully agreed international process for transitioning to a low carbon society urgently needed, but that it is achievable and indeed, the only way forward.  We need someone who can challenge our leaders to do better, who can join the calls of millions of global citizens all around the world demanding that their governments do more on their behalf.
We in the Climate Action Network – International stand at the ready to assist you in any way as you complete your search for a successful candidate.  Further, once a candidate is confirmed, we very much look forward to working closely with the successful candidate to ensure the Convention achieves its ultimate objectives.
Finally, as Mr. de Boer enters his final days as Executive Secretary, we would like to commend his work in furthering the negotiations, his sincere commitment to their success and his efforts to support civil society within the process.  The next Executive Secretary will clearly have big shoes to fill.
Sincerely,
David Turnbull
Director, Climate Action Network - International
Cc: Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC
Richard Kinley, Deputy Executive Secretary, UNFCCC
Janos Pasztor, Director, UN Secretary-General’s Climate Support Team
Members of the UNFCCC COP15 Bureau

Dear Mr. Secretary-General:

As the world’s largest network of NGOs collaborating on global solutions to the climate crisis, with an active engagement with the UNFCCC process since its inception, we at the Climate Action Network – International wish to support your efforts to fill the vacancy left by Yvo de Boer’s impending departure.

As you continue your search for a new head of the UNFCCC, we urge you to keep the following principles in mind while assessing potential candidates:

1. Commitment to the science: The fundamental objective of the UNFCCC under Article 2 is to avoid dangerous climate change. This objective has guided and should always guide the work of its Secretariat. As such, any head of the UNFCCC must have a sound understanding and fundamental adherence to the scientific basis for combating climate change, applying the precautionary principle in order to ensure the Convention fulfills its objective.

2. Political savvy and leadership: The UNFCCC in conjunction with global civil society has been successful in raising the profile and urgency of climate change effectively at the highest levels. Over 100 Heads of State attended Copenhagen and their continued engagement is both expected and essential. In this context, the new head of the UNFCCC must be able to thoroughly engage leaders and governments at every political level. This skill set must also include the strategic use of media, public attention, and private discourse.

3. Understanding of and experience with the negotiations: As our collective understanding of the climate crisis deepens, the negotiations within the UNFCCC continue to become more complex. Add to that the many challenging procedural dynamics and negotiating tactics, and it becomes clear that any candidate must demonstrate a deep understanding of how negotiations are to be managed from both procedural and strategic perspectives. Better still would be direct experience in the negotiations, to enable a deeper understanding as well as garnering trust from parties.

4. Commitment to the valuable role of civil society and marginalized communities in particular: The global civil society community engaged on finding a solution to the climate crisis has become larger, more organized, more strategic and ever more effective in recent years. Further, the UN and its members have consistently affirmed and reaffirmed the importance of civil society participation in the negotiating process. Notably, indigenous peoples, women and youth are often or will be most affected by climate change but very often, unfortunately their voices struggle to be heard. Any new head of the UNFCCC must work closely with civil society, women, indigenous peoples and youth (in cooperation with the Parties) to ensure proper, complete and effective participation of these constituencies. A demonstrable track record to this effect would be an important qualification for any candidate.

5. Thorough understanding of the challenges of development in the Global South: Climate change poses an existential threat to many lives and livelihoods throughout the world, but most the threat is most acute in the poorest communities. The challenge of addressing climate change and promoting sustainable development must always be approached in the context of existing challenges of poverty eradication and parallel development challenges. In addition, participating in the international negotiations themselves can often present a challenge to the poorest and most vulnerable countries in particular. The most vulnerable countries must be supported by the Secretariat (in cooperation with the Parties) to ensure their proper representation and voice in the process. A candidate with a keen and thorough understanding of these challenges is needed in order to achieve the right solutions.

6. Willingness to be assertive: Climate change is here, now. An aggressive and rapid response is urgently required, and the UNFCCC needs a leader who is willing to be bold and guide Parties along the ambitious path that is so desperately required. At the same time, of course, the head of the UNFCCC needs to ensure Parties feel their voices are being heard and that their concerns are being addressed in this context. However, the successful candidate must not be timid nor unwilling to take risks where required.

7. Commitment to transparency, process, and cooperation: The political stakes at the international climate negotiations have never been higher than at present time. As a result the tensions surrounding the negotiations are heightened as well. In this super-heated atmosphere, principles of transparency, good process, and cooperation can help to avoid unnecessary controversies. An leader with a strong commitment to these principles can help keep the focus of negotiations on delivering a fair and ambitious outcome rather than on procedural issues.

8. Commitment to smooth logistics: The Secretariat has an important role to play in ensuring the negotiations run smoothly from a logistical standpoint. Similar to the issues around transparency and process, ineffective or defective logistical arrangements can add distractions to the negotiations rather than contribute, while proper arrangements can obviously help provide an effective negotiating atmosphere. A head of the UNFCCC with a commitment to ensuring efficient negotiation arrangements will help to ensure the Parties and Observers can both focus on the incredibly important issues at hand.

In addition to the key qualities outlined above, we urge you to select someone who can inspire. Talks are currently at a tipping point. They need someone who can show that not only is a fully agreed international process for transitioning to a low carbon society urgently needed, but that it is achievable and indeed, the only way forward. We need someone who can challenge our leaders to do better, who can join the calls of millions of global citizens all around the world demanding that their governments do more on their behalf.

We in the Climate Action Network – International stand at the ready to assist you in any way as you complete your search for a successful candidate. Further, once a candidate is confirmed, we very much look forward to working closely with the successful candidate to ensure the Convention achieves its ultimate objectives.

Finally, as Mr. de Boer enters his final days as Executive Secretary, we would like to commend his work in furthering the negotiations, his sincere commitment to their success and his efforts to support civil society within the process. The next Executive Secretary will clearly have big shoes to fill.

Sincerely,

David Turnbull

Director, Climate Action Network - International

Cc: Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC

Richard Kinley, Deputy Executive Secretary, UNFCCC

Janos Pasztor, Director, UN Secretary-General’s Climate Support Team

Members of the UNFCCC COP15 Bureau

Pages

Subscribe to Tag: United Nations