Tag: East Africa

Farewell Bonn, Hello… Who Knows?

At the time ECO went to press, we’d heard all sorts of rumors about where the next intersessional might be: Panama, Bangkok, Mars? But despite this week’s lunar eclipse, our thoughts are firmly earthbound. ECO is confident that parties can see the sense in holding another intersessional, including workshops, technical negotiations, and the resumed sessions of the two AWGs. But, dear delegates, please leave behind the tedious haggling-over-the-agenda sessions. An additional meeting must be used productively so that Durban has a better chance of delivering the basis for a fair, ambitious and binding agreement. 

First, developed countries must acknowledge there is no alternative to a Kyoto Protocol second commitment period. Period.

We deplore the current stance taken by Japan, Canada and Russia. The hypocrisy is staggering. Japan presided over the COP that produced the KP. Russia’s support for the KP brought the treaty into force. Canada deftly launched the negotiations for a second commitment period (CP2) in Montreal. Where are those climate ambitions now?

The rest of the pack – the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland – used Bonn to elaborate their conditions for joining a KP CP2. We expect these countries to declare their full support for extending Kyoto’s commitments beyond 2012, and to come to Durban with pledges that top their current commitments. The world shouldn’t accept anything less!

The unvarnished truth, however, is that what is on the table now is not going to deliver a safe climate. Even the US has acknowledged that developed countries need to decarbonise their economies by 2050, based on low-carbon development strategies; as agreed in Cancún. These low carbon development strategies should contain a 2050 decarbonization goal, a plan to get there, and initial reduction targets of more than 40% by 2020, based on     common     accounting     rules     and

enhanced   national   communications  and biennial reporting as essential ingredients.

A second piece of the puzzle should be tackled by developing countries.

As AOSIS noted in their workshop presentation, developing countries also have a role to play in closing the gigatonne gap. ECO looks to all developing countries who have not yet submitted pledges to the UNFCCC or have not elaborated their plans further, including Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, DRC, Nigeria, Iran, Venezuela, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Thailand. It’s not on their shoulders alone. But they need to make it clear how they can reach their ambitions through a mix of supported and unsupported actions. 

The third major element of the Durban package is finance.

Finance negotiators have been hard at work on designing the Green Climate Fund and the Standing Committee. But all too many are missing the big picture: that the best-designed financial institutions in the world will be quite useless without substantial finance to govern. Concrete decisions must be made at COP17 to move us firmly onto a pathway to increase climate finance so as to reach $100bn per year by 2020, as committed by developed countries in Cancún.

Here in Bonn, the US has worked furiously to block much-needed discussions on all sources of finance, from budgetary contributions to supplementary innovative financing options such as bunkers, FTTs and SDRs. Discussion is also needed on common but differentiated responsibility for climate finance, no net incidence and compensation. We’re relieved to see some countries are asking for workshops to pave the way to a appropriately ramped-up 2013-2020 climate finance plan; all developed countries need to come to Durban prepared to put forward their mid-term financing commitments from 2013 onwards.

Finally, Durban must launch negotiations on a complementary legally binding agreement to Kyoto.

This agreement should address the major elements of the Bali Accord: comparable mitigation commitments by the United States, expanded financial commitments by developed countries, and developing country action.  Virtually every country says they support a legally binding agreement; in Durban, they must rise above their well-known differences on the exact form of such an agreement and commit to turning those words into action. 


Ethiopia: Taking climate change issues seriously

Mahlet Eyassu
Climate Change Program Manager
Forum for Environment

Ethiopia is one of the least developed countries with most of its economic bases dependent on traditional and backward modes of production. The main stay of the livelihood of more than 85% of the population is rain-fed agriculture and more than 12 million people are engaged in pastoralism. Looking only at the agricultural sector, we see that it has been subjected to variable and unpredictable weather conditions, such as erratic and intense rain with distorted seasonality, increased temperature resulting in longer drought seasons, recurrent drought, failing harvest seasons, new crop pests, livestock diseases, etc.

Being one of the highly vulnerable states, both the national and international level of responsiveness of Ethiopia to climate change has only been proactive during the last two years. Ethiopia has been engaged in the international negotiations for a long time, but only recently became more active and started being a leader at the regional level, by leading the African group in the negotiations before Copenhagen (COP 15). The year 2009 was a critical year for Ethiopia with lots of developments in different forums. The Ethiopian government has submitted its National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA) in 2007 and had submitted its Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA) in January 2010 and has one Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project registered. Additionally, Ethiopia has included the climate change component to a certain extent in the recently developed five-year Growth and Transformation Plan for the years 2011-2015. On top of this, Ethiopia, a least developed country, plans to go carbon neutral by the year 2025 and is in the process of developing a Carbon Neutral Green Economy (CGRE). Moreover an Ethiopian Program of Adaptation on Climate Change (EPACC) is being prepared by engaging different sector ministries. Civil Societies in Ethiopia have also been proactively engaged in different campaigns and activities in the run up to Copenhagen and we have also continued our work on climate change both at the national and International level. The Ethiopian Civil Society Network on Climate Change is active in awareness-raising, capacity building and experience sharing and has been established with more than 60 members and 10 working groups. We are collaborating with the government around adaptation.

For vulnerable countries like Ethiopia, in which climate change adaptation is a major concern, a fair, ambitious and binding deal is very essential. Developed countries need to take into account the urgency of the matter and start making decisions and taking actions. By being a Southern Capacity Building Programme Fellow of CAN-International, I am able to push the agenda of the vulnerable in the climate negotiations. I can have my voice directly heard in the negotiations. I am also helping share information to the civil society back home.


The Jigger in the Flesh

Isaac Kabongo
Executive Director
Ecological Christian Organisation (ECO)


Negotiations are not all about competition, but the survival of humanity.

As a CAN Southern Capacity Building Program (SCBP) Fellow, I have been following the climate change negotiations in Bonn, Germany learning some amazing lessons and discovering frustrations in the process.

It all started with a clear message that the fastest-ever rise in greenhouse gas emissions is an "inconvenient truth” that the world must face, the UN's climate change chief Christiana Figueres, said. But she added that the data should not lead to fatalism that the problem is impossible to tackle.  She acknowledged that Countries have run out of time to launch a new binding deal by 2013, implying a messy, legal gap. But she also issued a strong call to governments; "I won't hear that this is impossible; governments must make it possible for society, business and science to get this job done."

Ministers agreed last year in Cancun, Mexico to limit a rise in average global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above pre-industrial times, seen as the threshold for “dangerous” change such as heat waves, droughts, floods and rising seas.  However, the debate over the meeting agenda in Bonn made some countries doubt the value of extra meetings before Durban. “Without progress in these two weeks there’s no point in having another session in the fall,” the Colombian delegation said during the launch of the Bonn session.

Developed countries have yet to decide whether to fund additional sessions before an annual ministerial conference in Durban, South Africa in November.  “This will depend among other things on the extent of progress made here in Bonn, and whether the political will among parties exists for a further session,” said the head of the EU delegation, Artur Runge-Metzger. “We are well aware of the fact that deliberations in Durban will be difficult,” South African delegate, Nozipho Diseko, told the Bonn conference participants.

Talks can only proceed by consensus, not confrontation and suspicion as expressed by some delegates. “I’m a little sad participating in these negotiations because the atmosphere is so confrontational,” said Akira Yamada, head of the Japanese delegation. “We’re not prepared to move if the obligations just point only to those in the developed world,” said Jonathan Pershing, the U.S. head of delegation in Bonn.

As Ambassador Jorge Arguello of Argentina said, "we must stop making excuses and sit down at the negotiation table to decide strong terms for a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Some countries are hiding behind fragmented information and cherry-picking numbers to claim that a second commitment period is not possible and blame developing countries. That simply is not true."

I smell a rat that could poison our hope and expectation for a fair, ambitious and legally binding climate change agreement this year in Durban, South Africa. Parties need to focus on substance as opposed to raising just issues, on transparency and accountability for their actions, on embracing open discussions, and on the participation of civil society. It is also vital that the voices of the vulnerable, marginalized and powerless are heard, respected and considered during the whole negotiation process.   It is also my belief that every aspect of the negotiation should be handled in the spirit of partnership, cooperation and development, and not malice, jealousy and sabotage. Failure to walk the talk, to appreciate our last chance, to sacrifice our privileges and defend human civilization, the results are catastrophic in nature and thus – “the jigger in the flesh”. Let us act now on climate change!!

A Jigger is a parasitic flea found in tropical climates that can cause an inflammatory skin disease.


CAN position - HFC-23 abatement projects - Jun 2011

Following the request by the Conference of the Parties (COP)1 the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), will discuss options to address the implications of the establishment of new HCFC-22 facilities seeking to obtain Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) for the destruction of HFC-23. CAN strongly urges delegates to adopt option 1) Making new HCFC-22 facilities ineligible under the CDM.


LULUCF Briefing - Bioenergy

Under international accounting rules significant emissions from bioenergy are not being accounted for, meaning that bioenergy is not fulfilling its potential as a climate mitigation tool and in some cases emits more carbon than fossil fuels. This briefing explores the reasons for this accounting failure and what must be done to resolve this issue.


CAN Talking Points - MRV - Bonn June 2011

Bonn is a key moment to make progress on MRV issues. While there are a great many political issues at play, work on some technical issues needs to begin now.

Parties should agree on the structure, timing, and content of the workshops that are needed to discuss new or enhanced elements of MRV in the coming months.  These workshops should be informed by existing submissions of Parties and observers, and should involve calling for further submissions.


First Week Wrap Up

ECO is pleased that parties finally managed to agree on agendas last week. (Imagine how much quicker it could have been if agenda discussions were held transparently in plenary, as opposed to shenanigans occurring behind closed doors). This week Parties must make up for lost time – and convince everyone that another intersessional would be productive.  After all, there is much work to be done between now and December so that Durban can successfully lay the basis for a fair, ambitious, and binding global climate change regime.

Essential to Durban’s success is securing a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.  Intrinsically linked is the binding outcome under the LCA, where Parties now need to discuss the substantive issues. Our ultimate objective must be a legally binding architecture, which is fair and ambitious.

Last week, the list of issues under shared vision began to resemble a bag of assorted cookies.  ECO suggests focusing on the agreed global goal with peak year, and only including issues essential for these discussions – such as effort sharing.  Agreement of a mid-term goal of -80% by 2050 and a 2015 peak year for emissions must be the aim.

On mitigation, some issues may look technical but are in reality political. This week ECO suggests focusing on the following three areas required to address the gigatonne gap: (i) clarifying assumptions; (ii) closing loopholes; and (iii) preparing to move beyond the high end of the current pledges by Durban. ECO assumes parties remain serious in their commitment to 1.5/2°C – you are aren’t you?

This week also offers opportunities for LULUCF.  The re-analysis of this issue as a significant loophole in the mitigation workshops could allow Annex I land and forests to contribute to genuine emissions reductions.  And technical discussions on force majeure provisions for forests could genuinely reflect extraordinary circumstances.  Or, if Annex I parties are up to their usual tricks, could this be yet another way to avoid accounting for emissions?

Parties should also take the opportunity to draft a CDM appeals procedure to grant affected communities and peoples access to justice.  And this week parties should move closer to  a  decision

to address climate forcing HFC in cooperation with the Montreal Protocol and exclude all new HCHC-22 facilities from the CDM.

The two groups on REDD+ (in the LCA and in SBSTA) got off to a good start last week. In this second week, ECO anticipates significant progress on both reference levels and information on safeguards, hopefully followed by expert meetings prior to Durban.

Adaptation negotiators should press ahead on substance to make the Cancún Adaptation Framework operational in Durban.  Parties should strengthen the role of the Adaptation Committee to promote coherence in adaptation, and to ensure meaningful stakeholder participation in its operations.  Furthermore, this week must see parties launch the activities of the work programme on loss and damage.

With the end of the fast start finance period only one year after Durban and no indication of how rapidly public finance will be scaled up from the $10 billion per year currently committed, parties need to start discussions here in Bonn on effort sharing, scaling up finance, and on new innovative public sources such as raising finance from international transport.  For this to happen, the US and its Umbrella Group allies need to stop blocking the discussion of sources and scale of long-term finance.

ECO has two requests for technology negotiators over the next week. First, fill up the nominations of the Technology Executive Committee. Secondly, decide on the terms of reference and likely locations of the Climate Technology Centre and Networks to maintain balance of adaptation and mitigation technology.

Among other issues that should be addressed, Parties need to deal with technical issues. ECO is waiting eagerly for some technical workshops and expert meetings. In the coming months, technical experts should make progress on technical issues such as biennial reports, reporting on support, IAR/ICA, REDD safeguards, etc.  These discussions must feed into the negotiating process.

Given the uncertainty over whether another intersessional will take place, the next five days will determine whether Parties will be able to secure an effective and balanced outcome of COP 17 in Durban. Parties should make the best use of this time and ensure both political and technical issues get addressed.

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NGO Participation in the COP17 Process

ECO was particularly pleased to hear that NGOs were invited to actively participate in the informal consultations on expectations for Durban by the upcoming South African Presidency – especially since they have been mostly excluded from negotiating sessions here in Bonn. However, this pleasure soon turned into dismay when it became clear that NGOs would not be getting a chance to share their views despite the fact the South African Ambassador started the session by expressing South Africa’s commitment to civil society participation. Apparently, the UNFCCC rules and procedures do not allow for observer interventions until all parties have spoken. Well, here is the dilemma – at the last count ECO found that there are 195 Parties under this Convention!

ECO has been informed by the Secretariat that NGOs can participate in the follow-up session to this consultation, to be held today. And here is the rub – they have allocated 9 minutes in total for observer constituencies which gives ENGO’s one minute to speak. Eco is wondering how they will fit in all the expectations they have for Durban in that time.

ECO was also interested to hear that the Ambassador and a number of Parties made reference to South Africa’s unique history – its struggle against Apartheid. ECO would like to remind everyone that this struggle was fought and won by peoples’ movements, both in South Africa and by those in solidarity across the globe.  ECO hopes that South Africa, as incoming Presidency of COP 17, will introduce a new culture around NGO participation in the UNFCCC processes. The lessons from the struggle against Apartheid are rich and would only help strengthen this process. Critical to this would be to ensure the real and meaningful participation of civil society, both in the processes leading up to Durban and at COP 17 itself, especially after the Cancún Agreement has mandated South Africa to “undertake inclusive and transparent consultations in order to facilitate the work towards the success of that session.”  Amandla Ngawethu! (Power to the People)

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Did Anyone see the Elephant in the (Workshop) Room?

While ECO found it extremely pleasant to hear Chile, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Kenya, Bolivia and Cote d'Ivoire’s plans to contribute to global climate action during yesterday's workshop on Non Annex 1 mitigation action, ECO wonders why some of the big emitters from the developing world tried to hide under their desks. You can’t hide an elephant... or its emissions. ECO knows that some of these countries have big plans, and would like to see more information about their targets and their plans. Take some countries with high emissions from deforestation. Brazil and Indonesia made short interventions in Bangkok, but we were expecting some more information in Bonn. Especially given the news that reached ECO about the proposals to “reform” the Brazilian Forest Code and the message from a large amount of Brazilian scientists that the proposed amendments would make it difficult if not impossible for Brazil to achieve the pledges it has inscribed into the famous INF documents. And ECO still misses news about the target of DRC, and wonders why the government's ambition to reduce emissions from deforestation to zero below 2030 has not been submitted to the UNFCCC. Similarly, it would be quite interesting to get more information from countries like Nigeria, Iran, Venezuela, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Thailand, who are all part of the biggest emitters.

Obviously, if all these countries, led by Argentina, would send their pledges to the UNFCCC, that would make an important contribution to closing the gigatonne gap, as ECO learned from a presentation by AOSIS, showing that also developing countries have a contribution to make in the fight against the gap.

Clarification on all these plans will allow Parties to look at the real contribution of current developing country plans, and would allow a discussion on what more can be done, by looking into what other supported action could be taken. Which makes a discussion on innovative sources for long-term climate financing all the more important. ECO knows that most Parties are aware of that but has heard it couldn't pass some umbrellas. Perhaps some of the suggestions made at the end of the workshop, including the development of formats and guidelines, and an initiative to ensure Parties learn from each others’ experiences and good practices could help.

Inventories look daunting but they can help with national policy making, NAMA design, tracking energy use which helps with national budgets etc. Also the suggestion for the secretariat to develop a technical paper on developing countries action could help the negotiations to move forward. The elephant caravan left from Bangkok, but all the elephants have yet to show up. They cannot hide forever.      We hope they show up by Durban.

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