Expectations from Doha: A Vulnerable Country Perspective
21 September 2012
National Association Of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE)
Climate change is already having devastating impacts on the African continent that are only continuing to accelerate in magnitude. There are fears that the window for preventing and stopping climate catastrophe is rapidly closing. Climate change today has multiplied the sufferings of many people who have become victims of famine, water stress, floods, diseases and drought among other things. Today, climate change is a crisis that does not only threaten to wipe out vast populations and overwhelmingly alter the way of life of a number of organisms on Earth, but also threatens a number of development processes in many developing countries. Already, climate change has greatly reversed development in many vulnerable countries by destroying roads, schools, hospitals and a number of many other development processes. Addressing all these impacts, calls for collective global action.
The objective of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change is to achieve the “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” The convention also aims at achieving this level within a time frame that is “sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change” in a manner that would; among other things, ensure that food production is not threatened and so are peoples’ livelihoods.”
As the world moves to Doha, there is a lot of expectation from least developed and most vulnerable countries on the possible outcomes from the COP. From the Ugandan perspective, decisions have to be made on the shared vision: it should include the goals of the Bali Action Plan (BAP) pillars of finance, technology, adaptation and capacity building.
Being that Uganda has been a victim of a number of climate related impacts, both adaptation and mitigation are central in reducing the frequency and intensity of climate related impacts. It is expected that Doha will set the groundwork for real and meaningful actions that will reduce and mitigate the impacts of climate change. The most vulnerable countries expect Doha to provide an opportunity for developed countries to build on their pledges and close on the global ambition gap. It is therefore expected that these pledges will be reflected in the numbers that will be put on the table.
In conclusion, poor countries have already been exposed to severe impacts of climate change, yet they have not significantly contributed to the current climate problems. While the concept of equity has been disappearing under the table, poor countries- which are the most vulnerable- expect that fairness of both the processes and outcomes of decision-making in Doha reflect the critical values of equity.