Tag: Civil Society

Civil society in COP 19 stadium stands in solidarity with the Philippines and those holding vigils across the world.

We also stand in solidarity with our colleagues who walked out of what has, so far, been an ugly round of UN climate talks with a lot of backtracking by some of the biggest emitters - at a time when typhoon Haiyan tells us more clearly than ever that we need to do more, rather than less.  

From here we must go back to our capitals, mobilize political power, and demand action to stop this climate madness. 

It’s our voice, our future, our power. We know very well who is blocking this process, and we have had enough. And now we send a very vocal and loud message, from the people to our governments.

Civil Society's Voice Being Marginalized

 

ECO has been pondering the evident marginalization of the ‘civil society voice’ lately and started scribbling a few preambular thoughts on a serviette…

  • Reaffirming that vibrant public participation “allows vital experience, expertise, information and perspectives from civil society to be brought into the process to generate new insights and approaches”1;
  • Acknowledging the respectful, positive and constructive dialogue at the December 1 ADP Special Event;
  • Encouraging Parties and the Secretariat to provide roundtables and other opportunities to enhance the full inclusion of civil society as a relevant and meaningful voice in these negotiations; . . .

    #Operative text... 

 1Guidelines for participation of representative of NGOs at meetings of the bodies of the UNFCCC.

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Climate March at COP18 in Doha, Qatar - the first march in modern Qatar history

A thousend young people were on the road in Qatar on December 1, 2012 to celebrate the first march in modern Qatar history. It was the first time that civil society groups had organized a climate march in the Middle East, one of the organizers, Wael Hmaidan, said. Civil action like this was not allowed before, but the gouvernment worked together with the organizing team.

http://blogs.dw.de/globalideas/?p=7785

G77 earn Fossil of the Day as they oppose language to foster civil society participation

Today's first place fossil goes to Algeria!

Algeria on behalf of the group of G77 was awarded the third ever Rio Fossil of the Day today. Moves to oppose language in relation to effective civil society engagement and participation in implementing sustainable development have earned them the top spot.        

Today’s Rio Fossil was chosen through a vote by representatives of youth networks and hundreds of global NGOs organized in the Climate Action Network CAN.                          

The Fossil presentation text reads as follows:

“Algeria is receiving the fossil on behalf on G77 for opposing language in relation to effective civil society engagement and participation to implement sustainable development. 20 years ago, Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration recognised that the best environmental decisions are made  with the involvement of the public. That includes civil society groupings such as NGOs, women, trade unions, youth and others. We agree that referring to stakeholders in the outcome document should be avoided as some private interest groups, such as big corporations, do more harm than good.

However, in many ways civil society groups are the best allies parties have at the international level, especially developing country parties, whom we often support by providing increased capacity and advocacy efforts. We have a huge range of expertise and experience that adds real value when we are able to participate in decision-making at the local, national and international levels. Our ability to participate also ensures the legitimacy of decision making and helps translates decisions into real world outcomes. This is the only way to genuinely achieve sustainable development. We know that only a very small number of G77 members are resisting language that would help us play our role more effectively. The rest of the G77 should not allow this minority rule."

The Rio Fossil Awards will be presented daily throughout the negotiations highlighting the country or countries who do the least to support progress (or the most to block it) on issues relevant to climate change, such as energy, forests, and the green economy. Fossil of the Day ceremonies take place every day at 18:15, in the corridor leading from the negotiating rooms in Pavillion 3 into the main  crossroads towards the courtyard in the center of RioCentro.

 

 

Region: 

On The Outside Looking In

 

Dear delegates,

Let us share with you our confusion.  We are very happy to hear your heart-warming reports of the added value that we as civil society bring to this process.  However, we are slightly discouraged by the fact that we are often not allowed in the rooms where the real negotiations are taking place.

The rules on observer participation promote that all negotiating sessions are open to observers in both contact groups and informals. The spirit of the SBI discussions over the past years led us to believe that we might expect to enter the rooms. When the doors are closed to us, we call on all parties in the room to systematically ask their colleagues whether there is a compelling reason preventing the holding of a transparent session.

The graph below demonstrates the stark reality NGOs faced last just June. Despite the SBI encouraging enhanced participation, civil society spent a significant amount of time wandering aimlessly through the Maritim corridors, engaging in more conversations with the ghosts of classical musicians its room are named for than with negotiators. (Though ECO is quick to note that Listz's views on technology transfer are particularly nuanced.)

You can trust us, we are currently MRVing the compliance of parties' commitment to “openness, transparency and inclusiveness”. Because, really, there is only so much one can observe from the corridors.

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Civil Society Organizations Submission: Observer participation in the proceedings of the Board of the Green Climate Fund

 

Preliminary responses for initial consultation

Our initial response to the questionnaire from the interim secretariat is based on the understanding that arrangements will be made by the GCF Board, including developing and operating accreditation processes in accordance with paragraph 16, section 7, "Observers", Chapter C "Rules of Procedure of the Board", of the GCF Governing Instrument.

We believe that the GCF will benefit from civil society participation/input in a number of ways including increasing transparency, effectiveness and credibility. Thus we invite the Board of the GCF, at its first meeting, to view these recommendations as the initial step in an inclusive, in-depth process for broad consultation and engagement on observer issues and we look forward to further opportunities in the near future to share additional and further developed views with the Board on these important issues.

Active observers according to the GCF Governing Instrument

·       Active CSO board observers (1 North, 1 South)

·       Active private sector board observers (1 North, 1 South)

Proposed structures for observers

 

·       Alternate CSO board observers (1 North, 1 South)

·       Alternate private sector board observers (1 North, 1 South)

·       Advisory Committee (helps vet selections for CSO and private sector seats, and helps advise observers once they are nominated, including preparing pre-board meeting materials and consultations; 1 North, 1 South from each of the UNFCCC 9 constituencies = 18 people total)

·       Third party facilitator for selection process

·       Civil society liaison staff person in the GCF interim secretariat (supports observers)

...MORE

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African Expectations from Durban Climate Talks

Mamady Kobele Keita
Climate change team leader
Guinee Ecologie
Guinea

 

Durban 2011 - COP17 started last Monday, bringing together delegates from the parties to the climate convention (UNFCCC) and global and civil society organisations. For us, from Africa, the most vulnerable continent to the adverse impacts of climate change, the expectation is clear: reach an agreement that will help our poor communities to adapt, whilst maintaining their livelihoods through a sustainable climate funding regime. Indeed, none of the commitment were respected by Annex 1 countries in terms of finance or emissions reduction objectives. And even if the world’s global emissions are under control, we have no guarantee that the current impacts, from the historical emissions, will be reduced. Floods, droughts, and sea-level rise will increase. The situation is becoming worse since some countries have announced their intention to no longer support the Kyoto Protocol, the only binding agreement we have in the UNFCCC process. This is really bad news for the developing countries that are not responsible for the increase of GHG and global warming but are suffering from the adverse impacts to their livelihoods and environment.

So my expectation from these Durban talks is, fundamentally, on institutional arrangements for an efficient, sustainable and scaled-up financing system to help developing countries implement their adaptation programs.

To attain this objective, I’m participating in the process as one of the new recruits to CAN’s capacity building fellowship programme for civil society in the global south. My aims are threefold:

1.  to mainly focus on advocacy directed at developing countries delegates;

2.  to campaign against Annex1 countries who are blocking positions;

3. and to share critical information with developing countries delegates to help them to understand the loopholes contained in the negotiations texts.

As a delegate of the African civil society organisations, I will be sharing information I gather from the negotiations with the thousands of African populations who didn’t get opportunities and/or resources to attend this meeting. To communicate this information I will use Climate Action Network (CAN), the Climate and Development Network mailing list, the Guinean Adaptation Group, the Guinean Sustainable Development NGOs Forum, the mailing list of the national Climate Development Mechanism, and my personal blog (kobele.blogspot.com).

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Sandra Guzman calls on countries to step up ambition

Sandra Guzman
Program Director Air and Energy
Mexican Center of Environmental Law (CEMDA)

Mexico

Panama is the last stop towards the COP17 and is a meeting that should clearly define the future of the climate regime. We are less than a year until the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012) is completed, and because of the lack of definition of clear strategies to achieve the emissions reductions needed to combat the problem, this not only risks the failure of the negotiation process, but also risks the survival of humanity.

For me, Panama is not only a stop in the process, but also an opportunity to raise the voice of Latin America that has been so quiet in these negotiations. This is not a lack of willingness of the actors in the region, but rather, there is a lack of human skills and language issues.

There are many actors in the region who wish to participate and contribute with ideas and proposals, however, cultural issues are a barrier for a small percentage of players who also speak English. This hinders their interaction with various actors: other Governments and other international organizations.

Therefore, we need to take into account that climate change will affect us all and that means we all have to make efforts to address the problem, it is not enough to simply recognize that there are different views in the process. It is necessary to create the mechanisms to achieve the understanding between actors and then build a common language that allows us to address the underlying problems.

In Panama, we should leave with a clear message that there will be consolidated climate regime to establish clarity on the future of the Kyoto Protocol, as well as definitions and clarity on key issues such as technology transfer, capacity building, adaptation and others that are vitally important to move forward. Without doubt, one of the great needs that must be addressed is the definition of clear targets for reducing emissions, both by developed countries and developing countries, which play a key role in the scheme of emissions and they are positioned as future leaders of the problem.

The goal of stabilizing emissions at 450 ppm to avoid a temperature rise more than 2 ºC, is necessary and we can not afford to reduce that ambition. We are at a critical juncture; we cannot allow countries to put aside what brought us to negotiate the future of mankind and not individual interests and diversions that do nothing but deepen the problem.

Taking into account all of these, the other important issue that is a key point to achieve all of this is the financing mechanisms. Where the money is going to come from? How we are going to guarantee the creation of a strong architecture, but with money inside? This is a crucial issue in Panama and is surely going to be a key point in Durban.

Time is running out and with it the lives of many people worldwide. Everyone needs to wake up and push to make things happen. We cannot continue in this scheme of vagueness and lack of will. We cannot wait. Government, business, academia and organizations cannot let the erratic visions take over the discussions. It is our commitment to make things happen, and it is our commitment that this is done better.

The next challenge is to bring this to the national level and try to get everyone domestically to discuss the implementation of public policies in our countries. I have been working in the strengthening of a climate policy in my country, México, preparing suggestions, studies and talking with key actors. My roll in México is to make things happen by having dialogues with the legislative power, the federal government, local governments, academy and civil society. We have already achieved the allocation of 300 million dollars to go towards fighting climate change, which is not enough, so we will push for more.
 

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When the Rubber Hits the Road, Will Civil Society be Left Behind?

Last week, ECO wondered if Parties would “walk the walk” on supporting civil society participation. The full-day workshop included many nice words and sentiments, but ECO has heard a lot of those and is rather interested in whether those words would be followed up with action.

Now the rubber is hitting the road in the SBI Contact Group discussions. Unfortunately, to ECO’s dismay, the answer remains unclear.

In yesterday’s SBI Contact Group, Saudi Arabia came out strongly against enhancing civil society participation. While appalling, this is perhaps not unexpected, given how much Saudi Arabia has to hide when it comes to their own climate policies.  But Saudi Arabia was not alone in rejecting improvements on transparency and participation.

They were supported by India as well as Antigua and Barbuda on at least some of the issues. These three countries opposed language to encourage more informal consultations to be open to observers – and ECO noted that they were the only ones to oppose.

ECO is forced to wonder, what are Saudi Arabia, India, Antigua and Barbuda hiding?  Well, we know what Saudi Arabia is up to, but why would India, Antigua and Barbuda want to shut civil society out?

The SBI Chair’s draft text provided a solid foundation for enhanced civil society participation and transparency and ECO was pleased to hear Australia, the European Union, Colombia, Mexico, and Bolivia all emphasize the need for transparency and the productive role of civil society organizations, and brought some common sense to the matter. 

Civil society wants to support countries in their collective efforts to save “Mother Earth” from climate change, if only parties would create the space for their support.

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