Tag: East Africa

Doha has proven to be a doom for the poor

 

Sixbert Simon Mwanga
Climate Action Network-Tanzania

The 18th session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),Conference of Parties (COP) and the 8th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) has concluded in Doha, Qatar on the 9th of December, 2012.

Civil Society Organizations and delegates from developing countries have clearly shown their concern with the outcomes of the negotiations. The critical areas of  concern include low ambitions to cut hot air, the length of the second commitment to Kyoto Protocol with so many loopholes and difficult to implement and a lack of commitment to provide  climate finance to operationalize the green climate fund. The conference also failed to deliver on technology issues which developing countries and African countries need to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change.                                                             

These decisions and commitments have many negative implications to the developing countries:  migration (especially for climate change refugees), increasing poverty, frustrations, dejections, and deaths, all of which spell an infringement of the right to live. Being my first COP, I saw how respected leaders from developed countries failed to show leadership and political will in addressing the structural issues that have caused climate change.

We praise the African and developing countries delegates for standing firm and in union on damage and loss issues. For the first time, loss and damage have been accepted and international mechanisms have been set to address them. If there is one thing that we have achieved, it is work on loss and damage.

Some issues have been postponed, as usual.  By postponing important issues like technology transfer and finance to the next COP, it has proven COP18 to be the doom for the poor.  During this postponement and the slow creation of work programmes, we should know that communities are suffering from climate change. Therefore, it is unacceptable to procrastinate in making these important climate decisions.

For us who are already affected by climate change, an hour-long delay to take action feels like ten years. We find no reason for world leaders to attend the COPs while their aims are to delay actions on the negative impacts they have caused while struggling to develop their regions.

We see this as dividing the world on the efforts to fight our “common” enemy: climate change and its impacts. Scientists with their reports are disregarded; affected people in developing countries are seen as nothing while developed countries are not committed to pursuing sustainable development. They continue to invest in development pathways that are negative to the environment. We call upon leaders from developed countries to remember the role they played in emitting billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases and the necessary political will and leadership needed to emission cut targets. This is required by science to save our one and only home called the Earth.  

 

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Will Doha be an oasis of hope or doom for the poor?

This generation has witnessed unforgettable catastrophes of climate change. The most affected are the rural and poorer people of developing countries, Africa in particular. The African continent has contributed the least to the problem and is the one least able to cope with the impacts, because we depend heavily on climate sensitive activities for our survival. Most of the NAPAs from Africa prioritized agriculture, water, health, energy, forestry and wetlands, wildlife and tourism as the most vulnerable sectors.

The whistle for negotiations in Doha has been blown and negotiators are running from one room to another to ensure as much ground is covered as possible within one week. However, most of the outcomes of these discussions are not in favour of the interests of the developing countries, including Africa, leaving most of the negotiators dejected and frustrated.

However, there is still hope to be salvaged  Doha-Qatar negotiations and asking negotiators from Annex 1 countries must be friends in need so that we become friends indeed by focusing on the scientific imperative. They must reflect on the dangers that climate change already felt by vulnerable regions of Africa and other developing countries. This will be easily seen by finalizing and adopting a meaningful and effective second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, addressing the outstanding issues under the convention track in accordance with the 2007 Bali mandate and setting the negotiations under the Durban Platform for enhanced action on firm footing to adopting a legally binding agreement by 2015.

Africa is looking for an agreement that will assure to undertake mitigation and adaptation through effective finance mechanism and technology transfer.

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Sustainable Environmental Development Watch (Suswatch)

The East African Sustainability (SusWatch) Network is a network of NGOs from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania spearheaded by Uganda Coalition for Sustainable Development (UCSD), Sustainable Environmental Development Watch Network (SusWatch Kenya), and Tanzania Coalition for Sustainable Development (TCSD). EA SusWatch Regional Secretariat is hosted by UCSD in Kampala, Uganda.

The Vision of EA SusWatch is: A world where sustainable development principles drive social and economic development processes. 

The Mission of EA SusWatch to catalyze and mobilize civil society in Eastern African to exert accountability from governments and international development institutions to achieve a socially and environmentally sustainable world.

The mandate of EA SusWatch is “monitoring and advocating for the effective implementation of national and regional obligations to International agreements and other arrangements for sustainable development in Eastern Africa”. 

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Kenya
KE

International Youth Council (IYC) Kenya Chapter

The International Youth Council exists to support youth-led projects that advance sustainable development internationally, and to create a community of youth leaders worldwide. 

The International Youth Council provides leadership training with an entrepreneurial spirit. The sharing of best practices, workshops, and training programs which deliver management skills will create and enable a new generation of capable organizational leaders.

The International Youth Council facilitates intercultural dialogue and networking between youth leaders. The building of relationships and sharing of experiences will encourage learning, mutual respect, and peaceful coexistence.

The International Youth Council creates leadership opportunities. These opportunities will include access to international conferences, policy discussions, events, and positions of influence at the UN and other development-oriented agencies and non-profits. The objective of these opportunities is to empower youth leaders and help propel youth voices into the global dialogue.

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Kenya
KE

Expectations from Doha: A Vulnerable Country Perspective

Geoffrey Kamese
National Association Of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE)

Uganda

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.

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Big Talk for Smallholders

Despite the Convention objective in Article 2 to stabilize emissions before food production is threatened, impacts of climate change on food production are already being felt around the world. Floods have decimated wheat fields in Pakistan and rice fields in Thailand. Heat waves have seriously reduced yields of Russian wheat and US maize. Drought cost Texas agriculture US$8 billion last year and tens of thousands of lives in the Horn of Africa.

Local and mostly small-scale food producers feed the vast majority of the global population. They are extremely vulnerable to climate change. This in turn threatens food security across the world. As temperatures rise and the weather becomes more unpredictable, large areas of land will become unsuitable for smallholders’ current agricultural practices. Enabling smallholders to adapt, protect their livelihoods and contribute to food security become crucial objectives.

Adaptation is the most urgent and compelling need for smallholders, particularly in developing countries, who have the least resilience and means to cope. This is why SBSTA must consider the impacts of climate change across all scales of food production and find approaches to ensuring food security for all.

The CGIAR has already published many sobering reports on the impacts on food production. Ghana will lose cocoa production on huge portions of its territory. Tea production in the highlands of East Africa will migrate up slopes and significantly contract in area. Developing country economies are often quite dependent on valuable export crops whose production will significantly diminish. Climate change and agriculture conversations will bleed over into the negotiations on loss and damage.

In order for small-scale farmers to be able to adapt and to build their adaptive capacity, they must be enabled to practice farming systems that are resilient to long-term climate change, including indigenous practices that strengthen the ecosystems which they are a part of. This form of agro-ecological smallholder farming and other forms of sustainable and climate-resilient food production should be promoted.

So, whilst the UNFCCC considers agriculture  in  SBSTA,  ECO  asks  Parties to provide scientific  and  technical  advice regarding biodiverse, resilient agriculture based on agro-ecological principles, and explore appropriate technology development and  transfer.

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CAN-International Director says goodbye

Dear friends,
As you may recall, today marks my last day as Director of the CAN-International Secretariat.

I said a lot in my announcement to CAN members at the end of last year about how much I've learned and grown in this position. If I could somehow express those sentiments even more strongly now I would, having continued to learn so much from so many of you in the last few months of my post here. I'll be carrying with me wonderful memories from Durban, of touching moments reminiscing with friends, of whispering in our outdoor meeting so a certain bug-eyed climate denier couldn't hear us, of dancing on the beach, hugs and handshakes, smiles and frustrations.

There are, as could be expected, things I will not miss from the past few years -- those 6am conference calls, the countless hours spent in airplane lounges or trying to find that one elusive comfortable posture on cramped airplanes. I won't necessarily miss arguing with the UNFCCC for more intervention slots or negotiating where a comma should go to avoid a dreaded "byline" on CAN positions. But, by a large margin, there are many more memories, lessons, and experiences that this position has afforded me that I will cherish.

When I'm asked what I've enjoyed about my job I almost universally tell the same story -- how it all boils down to the people I've been privileged to get to know, to work with, and to call my friends. We at the Secretariat often say CAN is only as strong as its members. If that hypothesis holds, I can safely say -- having gotten to know so many of you so well -- that CAN is an incredibly strong coalition. It's a crazy moment to be sitting in the back of a plenary of a UN negotiation at 4am in a foreign country and look around the room and feel like you are surrounded by family. It's those moments walking down the halls of the Maritim where you feel like you will never make it to your destination because you feel compelled to stop every four feet to talk to someone you bump into. The idea that I literally can go to any continent on the globe and find someone that is part of this family is something that I don't think I'll ever wrap my head around. It's something I'll always hold dear, perhaps even more so than our successes along the way.

And for these experiences, the friendships, and all the lessons I have taken from so many of you, all I can say is thank you.

One of the things I've been struck by is how personally invested CAN members are in this work. This isn't a job to many of us; it's not a 9 to 5 thing that we can set aside from our "normal" lives. For better or worse, it's our life's work and it's something we are all truly passionate about.

With that in mind, it becomes clear that our enemies are not eachother (despite the fact that sometimes it might feel that way), or the more radical or conservative colleagues we find in the network. Our enemies are out there. They are the fossil fuel interests who are making more money than ever known to man, and spending equal amounts on making sure they can continue to make that money. They are the conservative politicians who have either been bought off by those corporations or somehow otherwise genuinely fear government policies and regulations, when we know that for a truly global problem, a comprehensive government approach is needed. There are those who choose to turn the other way -- perhaps aware that the problem exists, but not willing to admit it because doing so would make their lives inconvenient.

Our enemies are not eachother and they never will be...and that's what makes CAN so important. We need our fellow CAN members not just for support, but because it's only together that we can win. This is why I'm so happy to know that I am leaving CAN in as strong a position as I could ever have hoped to leave it. We have an amazing Secretariat that works tirelessly with the full understanding that their efforts will often be left out of the limelight, but knowing how important they are all the same. We have more members from more countries and constituencies than could have been dreamed of 20 years ago, and our positions, analyses, and strategies reflect this in the most positive of ways. We have the respect and attention of governments all around the world, even if sometimes it feels as though they choose to ignore us.

A friend of mine in the movement once wrote that she knows we're going to win because we're cooler than they are. And I couldn't put it better myself. Putting aside the fact that we're have the truth on our side...we're more fun, more dynamic, more challenging, more passionate, more inspiring, more critical, more friendly, more caring, more creative than THEY are. And sometimes we throw some wicked parties too.

I know you all aren't going anywhere from my life and my heart--and this cause--and you can rest assured I'm not going far. This is a fight we're in together, no matter what roles we play. And I know, like you, I plan on seeing it to the end.

As I leave this role, I'm so tempted to use that clichéd phrase, "it's not goodbye, it's see you later." But I won't...instead, I'll just say:

Onwards, friends.

 

-David Turnbull

CAN-International Director, October 2008 - February 2012

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Report on CAN Pre-COP Workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - 19 to 21 October, 2011  

This report explains who participated in the CAN Pre-COP workshop in Ethiopia in October 2011. The discussions that took place are highlighted and regional follow-up work to these discussions is currently underway.

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