No vague decisions please…

6 December 2011

Mahlet Eyassu
Climate Change Program Manager
Forum for Environment

The first week of the Durban COP has ended and it seems like things have not moved forward.   Parties are not yet knuckling down in concrete discussions and it almost looks like they are just waiting for their Ministers to arrive and lend an air of authority to the political discussions….and yet, there are lots of issues that need to be dealt with at the technical level.  

Just looking back at Cancun exactly a year ago, even though the weather seems the same, the mood in the corridors is different.  We were all here with a lesser expectation and lobbying hard to save multilateralism, just to keep the motivation levels up and to get people back in work mode after the Copenhagen drama. Parties genuinely trying to get a balanced outcome started putting together parts of the puzzle, leaving the other part for the year to come. And now that year is up, it looks like we’re back to square one talking about another balanced package with some Parties wanting to re-arrange the same pieces of the puzzle they had already put together last year instead of fitting in the other pieces to complete the puzzle.  After seven long days and four more remaining of the negotiations, I personally am not sure what to expect at the end of this COP17.  This being THE African COP, I was hoping to see some actions and outcomes but the way I look at it now, we’re not going to get much…

I have been following Finance, which is the crucial element in these negotiations without which other decisions (adaptation, mitigation in developing countries, technology transfer and capacity building) cannot move forward.  Whatever outcome we get from here needs to be concrete such as the Green Climate Fund, which should be operationalized in the first half of next year (2012) with a clear commitment and pledge from Annex I Parties to fill the fund majorly with public sources and other innovative sources of finance.  Without concrete decisions like this, it will be very difficult for me to go back home and tell my people that Parties have agreed to negotiate and/or continue discussions on certain elements. My country, Ethiopia, which is being affected by climate change impacts needs concrete decisions from this COP to be translated to action on the ground, not vague decisions meaning something else for other countries in the next session.

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