Other Blog Posts


Emmanuel Seck

If no action is taken, farmers in parts of Africa could face a decline in crop yields by more than 50% from this or future generations. Global food prices could more than double by 2030 and climate change is half responsible. According to scientists, the curve of global GHG emissions must be reversed before 2015, and, while the leaders agreed to a global pact for 2020, this means ten years are lost in the fight against climate change.

According to these same scientists,  the world is currently on a trajectory of warming above 3° C with the serious potential consequences - most severely felt in South Asia and West Africa. West Africa is a region constituted by a large number of Sahelian countries that are vulnerable to climate change, at least 13 of whom are a part of the Least Developed Countries. The economy of this region, which is essentially agricultural, is negatively impacted by drought and desertification; this establishes a serious handicap for the population’s development and livelihood.

The impression in the region is threefold: the expectation of a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, the setting of ambitious targets of GHGs emission reduction for Developed countries and the result of a Global Agreement for 2020. The question often raised is: how should the gap be filled from 2012 to 2020, knowing the serious potential consequences increased temperatures could have for West Africa? Official creation of the Green Climate Fund is a step in the right direction, despite concerns on how this fund will be fed and the financial gap between the “Fast Start” and the “100 billion USD per year by 2020”.

The 14th Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment will be hosted by the Government of Tanzania from 10-14 September 2012. This meeting will provide an opportunity for the Ministers to develop a common approach to engage with the international community in the climate change negotiation process, especially in preparation for the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 18), to take place in late 2012.


Expectations from Doha: A Vulnerable Country Perspective

Geoffrey Kamese
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.


Redefining the Concept of Negotiation

Enrique Maurtua Konstantinidis
Regional Coordinator
Climate Action Network Latin-America

For many years now, climate change negotiations are not delivering what the world needs in order to stay below an increase of 2ºC. The influence of inaction and lack of ambition or compromise from developed countries means new big emitters are not willing to move forward.  

Interestingly, climate change meetings no longer seem like real negotiations- countries are simply informing others of their views. To negotiate means to have formal discussions with someone in order to reach an agreement, therefore, the main task is to listen. Agreement is only possible once middle ground is found, and, in order to do so, clear positions and some flexibility are needed.

When Countries have the floor, they speak only on the issues to which they are personally inclined to. In fact, once they finish their speaking, they are even permitted to leave the Plenary! This makes you wonder: how is it possible to reach an agreement if we won’t listen to anyone but ourselves!

Latin-America needs desperately a climate agreement that will allow LA countries to adapt, receive appropriate technology, and develop NAMAs that contribute to mitigation actions. None of this will happen if parties continue to rehash old speeches and speak only amongst themselves. There are countries with good proposals, but they seem to keep that information to themselves and are not willing to listen to others. Learning about others’ opinions is beneficial for everyone involved.

As a Civil Society representative, I am very interested to see countries start looking to each other: to listen and move this process forward.

There may be only one skill that parties are missing: listening.


Rio+20: The Young Can't Wait


by William S. Becker

It was 20 years ago this month that Severn Suzuki, then 12, gave the speech of her life. As she stood on the podium at the first Earth Summit, Severn's admonition to dignitaries from 178 nations also became the speech of her generation.

The topic was sustainable development. The place was Rio de Janeiro, where heads of state, delegates and negotiators assembled to consider how humankind and the rest of the natural world could co-exist, to the everlasting benefit of both.


Speak Up for Children at the Rio+20 Earth Summit


by Rachel Hall

Like many young people, I take the things most politicians say with a large pinch of salt. But I was genuine impressed by Caroline Spelman, the secretary of state for environment, when I met her on Thursday. I believed her when she pledged to speak for children at the Rio+20 Earth summit this month.


Global environment conference: Youth to represent Pakistan at Rio+20


At a press briefing to mark the World Environment Day at Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday, SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said that Ali is an excellent combination of perseverance and intelligence and will effectively represent the interests, priorities and concerns of Pakistani youth as well as highlight a soft and positive image of Pakistan at the conference.


World Environment Day: Why Rio+20 Matters


by Joe Ware

With the global economy still in the doldrums, this year's World Environment Day on 5 June is trumpeting the merits of the Green Economy as an alternative way of creating jobs and growth - without trashing the planet.

It also takes place 15 days before the snappily-titled Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which kicks off in Brazil's most famous party town.


Nigerian Youth Set Their Own Rio +20 Agenda


by Heather Murdock

As world leaders prepare for the U.N.'s upcoming sustainable development conference in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Nigerian youth groups say they want to see the emergence of policies that help the country adapt to climate change and create jobs, and allow for their voices to be included in decision-making on the environment.


At Rio+20, world must seize generational opportunity to achieve sustainable future – Ban


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged countries to seize the opportunity provided by the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) to set the world on a path towards a sustainable future, stressing that collective power in the form of partnerships will be crucial to address the challenges the planet is facing.