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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Negotiating climate vulnerable lives – from Lima to Paris

The 20th Session of the UN Conference of Parties (COP20) mobilized more than 100,000 people in Lima, Peru, on the fight against climate change.

As the 12-day climate negotiations peak, local communities and environmental activities from diverse countries and cultures took to the streets of Lima to calling for real climate action.

After two weeks of intense activity, COP20 was able to mobilize and create awareness in citizens about the effects of climate change in the world.

The over 190 negotiating nations concluded by elaborating the elements of the new agreement, scheduled to be agreed in Paris in late 2015, while also agreeing the ground rules on how all countries can submit contributions to the new agreement during the first quarter of next year.

But countries in Africa were not enthused with the process of building climate resilient economies.

Kofi Adu Domfeh reports on the African negotiation process at the COP20.

Find audio link…




Saving forests through community reforestation

Ghana’s forest areas have over the years being under the threat of illegal chainsaw activities.

But a new reforestation initiative has shown a high potential to be an alternative and legal source of livelihood and income generation to erstwhile illegal chainsaw operators and lumber carriers.

The pilot plantation development project is happening in some forest districts in the Ashanti, Central and Eastern regions.


Kofi Adu Domfeh visited one of the project communities and filed this report.

Link to audio report...







Monday, December 15, 2014

No Justice in Lima Outcome – say climate justice activists

International and regional institutions and networks attending the climate change talks in Lima jointly issued a statement at the end of the conference.

They include the Corporate Europe Observatory, Friends of the Earth International, Corporate Europe Observatory, LDC-Watch, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance and Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee

The groups believe the Lima process failed to deliver climate justice.

Read statement below:

The world faces a planetary emergency: climate change, caused by a system that puts the pursuit of profit above the needs of people and the limits of nature.

It is already devastating millions of people across the planet.

Climate science predicts we will soon breach critical tipping points and could be locked in to 4-5°C of warming with catastrophic impacts for us all.

The Lima Conference should have been a milestone that marked out how governments will take urgent action to tackle climate change and to support vulnerable people across the world to adapt to its locked in impacts.

The concrete demand was to set out how we would increase emission reductions from now until 2020, and set long term climate targets to make sure we limit temperature increase to below 1.5°C.

Therefore, climate targets need to keep us within the emissions budget, which should be shared based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and honor climate debt.

What we have seen in Lima is another in a series of yearly decisions that weaken international climate rules, failing people and the planet.

The pre-2020 mitigation pledges are unjust and weak and put us on track to breach 2°C of warming by mid-century. The promised increases in pledges didn’t materialise in 2014, nor was there a commitment to urgently revisit, revise, or review them.

Lima prepares us for an agreement in Paris that ignores the needs and rights of impacted people across the world by precluding binding commitments on finance, adaption, loss and damage and technology transfer.

This outcome fails to link the actions of countries with the technology and finance that is needed to enable people in the South to adapt and build resilience and deal with the loss and damage from the impacts of climate change, as well as to carry out mitigation actions without which the world will not reach the scale of transformation and just transition needed to limit temperature rise below 1.5 C degrees.

What was decided in Lima opens the possibility for every country to decide its own climate action going forward, with no reference to what science, people, and justice demand, and without a clear regulatory framework.

We saw politicians, especially those from the US, the EU and their allies, acting in the interest of big polluting corporations, determined to further deregulate the international climate change regime, fundamentally undermining the UN climate convention, by weakening the rules for developed countries, shifting responsibility to the South, and ignoring their legal and moral obligation to transfer finance and technology.

Leaving Lima we see that again a backdoor has been opened for the further expansion of the failed experiment of carbon markets.

Including, possibly carbon credits from forests and soil, which undermines communities' land rights and would be devastating to farmers and forest communities across the world whilst preventing the transformation we need.
 
The Peoples’ Summit and its march through the streets of Lima demanded the defence of Mother Earth, and the guarantee of rights of all peoples, of all genders. It presented a clear vision for solutions to the climate crisis, and for alternatives to its causes.

People across the world are taking up these alternatives and fighting to transform the system. We are struggling for survival and for the safety and security of our homes and livelihoods from climate disasters.

We are fighting for a transformation of energy systems, away from fossil fuels, towards access to decentralised, renewable, safe, community controlled energy systems for all. We are defending our food sovereignty and expanding agro-ecological solutions, whilst struggling to adapt to the devastating consequences of locked in climate change. Just as community-based forestry programs work in the interest of people, particularly indigenous peoples, instead of bankers and financial capital in the North.

People are building power - at local, national and global level. We continue to put more people on the street, to block mines, ports, corporate offices – and our strength is growing, as is our power.

We will reclaim power from those who don't act in our interests. We will resist the imposition of a ‘global climate deal’ that does nothing for the climate and even less for people.


They tried to bury us here in Lima, but we are seeds, and we will grow into a forest of resistance.

Lima Call for Climate Action puts World on Track to Paris 2015

The 20th Session of the UN Conference of Parties (COP20) mobilized more than 100,000 people on the fight against climate change.

Peru received more than 14,000 visitors from abroad and nearly 80,000 citizens attended Voices for the Climate in the 12 days.

After two weeks of intense activity, COP20 mobilized a large number of people gathered in Lima to be part of the international event that brings together representatives from governments, civil society, business and authorities from 195 countries.

COP20 was able to mobilize and create awareness in citizens about the effects of climate change in the world, and especially in Peru.
More than 400 conferences in which new research projects and initiatives were presented were organized.

At the end of the event, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) issued the statement below:


Lima Call for Climate Action puts World on Track to Paris 2015


A new 2015 agreement on climate change, that will harness action by all nations, took a further important step forward in Lima following two weeks of negotiations by over 190 countries.

Nations concluded by elaborating the elements of the new agreement, scheduled to be agreed in Paris in late 2015, while also agreeing the ground rules on how all countries can submit contributions to the new agreement during the first quarter of next year.

These Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) will form the foundation for climate action post 2020 when the new agreement is set to come into effect.

During the two week 20th Conference of the Parties, countries also made significant progress in elevating adaptation onto the same level as action to cut and curb emissions.

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, the Minister of the Environment of Peru and the COP President, said ”Lima has given new urgency towards fast tracking adaptation and building resilience across the developing world—not least by strengthening the link to finance and the development of national adaptation plans.

“Meanwhile here in Lima, governments have left with a far clearer vision of what the draft Paris agreement will look like as we head into 2015 and the next round of negotiations in Geneva,” he said.

The Lima Climate Conference achieved a range of other important outcomes and decisions and "firsts" in the history of the international climate process.
Pledges were made by both developed and developing countries prior to and during the COP that took the capitalization of the new Green Climate Fund (GCF) past an initial $10 billion target.

Levels of transparency and confidence-building reached new heights as several industrialized countries submitted themselves to questioning about their emissions targets under a new process called a Multilateral Assessment.

The Lima Ministerial Declaration on Education and Awareness-raising calls on governments to put climate change into school curricula and climate awareness into national development plans.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said ”Governments arrived in Lima on a wave of positive news and optimism resulting from the climate action announcements of the European Union, China and the United States to the scaling up of pledges for the Green Climate Fund.

“They leave Lima on a fresh wave of positivity towards Paris with a range of key decisions agreed and action-agendas launched, including on how to better scale up and finance adaptation, alongside actions on forests and education,” she said.

Ms Figueres also thanked Ollanta Humala, the President of Peru, along with the government and the people of Peru for hosting the United Nations and some 11,000 delegates from all over the world.

“The negotiations here reached a new level of realism and understanding about what needs to be done now, over the next 12 months and into the years and decades to come if climate change is to be truly and decisively addressed,” she said.

Ms Figueres thanked the Peruvian Environment Minister and President of the Conference of the Parties for his leadership.

“The cooperation of over 190 countries in securing many positive outcomes owes much to the patience and persistence of the COP President—Manuel Pulgar-Vidal—and the spirit of Lima as we look forward to Paris—the city of lights and the city of love for our shared future and shared environment,” said Ms Figueres.

Steps Forward on Adaptation including the Lima Adaptation Knowledge Initiative

Progress was made in Lima on elevating adaptation onto the same level as the curbing and cutting of curbing greenhouse gas emissions. This will be done through: Recognition that National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) offer an important way of delivering resilience.

NAPs will now be made more visible via the UNFCCC website which should improve the opportunity for receiving backing.

The green light was given for discussions with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) on how countries can be supported with their NAPs which should increase the number of these plans coming forward for support.

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, the COP President, launched a NAP Global Network involving Peru, the US, Germany, the Philippines, Togo, the UK, Jamaica, and Japan.

The Lima Adaptation Knowledge initiative--a pilot project in the Andes under the Nairobi Work Programme-- has underlined that establishing the adaptive needs of communities can be successfully captured.

Countries supported the idea of replicating this in Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States and Africa.

The Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage was confirmed for two years with a balanced representation of members from developing and developed countries.

A work programme was also established under the Committee—it has an array of actions areas, including enhancing the understanding of how loss and damage due to climate change affects particularly vulnerable developing countries and populations including indigenous or minority status ones.
It will also seek to better the understanding of how climate change impacts human migration and displacement.

Financing the response to climate change

Governments made progress on coordinating the delivery of climate finance and of the various existing funds.

Further pledges were made to the Green Climate Fund in Lima by the governments of Norway, Australia, Belgium, Peru, Colombia and Austria--the pledges brought the total sum pledged to the Green Climate Fund to close to USD 10.2 billion.

In a further boost to the adaptation ambitions of developing countries, Germany made a pledge of 55 million Euros to the Adaptation Fund.
China also announced $10 million for South-South cooperation and mentioned they would double it next year.

More Countries Accept the Kyoto Protocol Doha Amendment

Nauru and Tuvalu submitted their instrument of acceptance to the Doha amendment, bringing the number of Parties to 21---144 are required to bring it into force.

The United Nations is encouraging governments to speed up their acceptance of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, the international emissions reduction treaty, in order to provide further momentum for global climate action for the years leading up to 2020.

New climate action portal launched as part of Lima Climate Action Agenda
The government of Peru launched a new portal, with support from the UNFCCC, to increase the visibility of the wealth of climate action among cities, regions, companies and investors, including those under international cooperative initiatives.

The portal – named the Nazca Climate Action Portal – is designed to inject additional momentum into the process through to Paris by demonstrating the wealth of non-state action.

Providing transparency of developed country action

The first ever Multilateral Assessment (MA) was launched in Lima marking an historic milestone in the implementation of the Measurement, Reporting and Verification of emission reductions under the UNFCCC as a result of decisions taken at previous COPs in Cancun, Durban and Doha.

Over two days, 17 developed countries with quantified economy-wide emission reduction targets were assessed by other governments or ‘Parties’ to the Convention.

The Multilateral Assessment showed that the number of success stories and best practices in policy and technology innovation alongside nations decoupling emissions from economic growth is increasing.

Forests and the Lima Information Hub for REDD +

Countries meeting in Lima made progress on providing support to avoid deforestation.

Colombia, Guyana, Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico formally submitted information and data on the status of their greenhouse gas emission reductions in the forest sector to the UNFCCC secretariat following a similar submission by Brazil earlier in the year.

These baselines are likely to increase the possibility of obtaining international funding under initiatives like Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REED+).

In support of this, the COP President announced that an ‘information hub’ will be launched on the UNFCCC web site, spotlighting actions by countries carrying out REDD+ activities.

The aim is to bring greater transparency on both the actions being undertaken, including safeguards for communities and the payments being made.

Providing technology to developing countries

The Lima meeting sent an important signal that the transfer of climate technologies with the assistance of the UN and other international agencies is picking up speed.

The Climate Technology Centre and Network reported that it had received around 30 requests for assistance this year, and expects the figure to grow to more than 100 next year.

The UNFCCC’s Technology Mechanism was further strengthened through the consideration of a link to the Green Climate Fund and the UNFCCC Finance mechanism.

The first research project funded under the technology mechanism was announced just prior to the Lima climate conference, involving the monitoring of climate change’s impact on biodiversity in Chile.

Lima Work Programme on Gender

The role of women is key to the response to climate change, and needs to be strengthened.

The Lima conference agreed a Lima Work Programme on Gender to advance gender balance and to promote gender sensitivity in developing and implementing climate policy.

Education and Awareness-raising

The Lima Ministerial Declaration on Education and Awareness-raising was announced.
It is aimed at developing education strategies that incorporate the issue of climate change in curricula, while also raising awareness on climate change in the design and implementation of national development and climate change strategies.

Peru and France launch Lima-Paris Action Agenda

The governments of Peru and France, as the incoming COP Presidency, launched a Lima-Paris Action Agenda to catalyze action on climate change, to further increase ambition before 2020 and support the 2015 agreement.

Building on the UN Climate Summit in September 2014, the agenda is designed to galvanize national, city and private sector action.

Among other things, the agenda will help to convene key global, national, subnational and local leaders and to showcase key significant partnerships and actions of non-state actors.

Further Highlights

UNFCCC Pre-2020 Action Forum and ‘Fair’

As part of the efforts by countries to accelerate pre-2020 climate action, the secretariat organized a fair to showcase how policy and action is being scaled up and how many countries and non-state actors are taking action across themes ranging from renewable energies to more sustainable land use.

UNFCCC NAMA Day

A special event took place on actions to reduce emissions with the help of so-called “nationally appropriate mitigation actions” (NAMAs).

NAMAs are plans of developing countries to reduce emissions and to develop sustainably which can be supported by developed countries. The UNFCCC secretariat has established a registry to match requests for and offers of support.

Climate action on the ground celebrated by the UN

The UNFCCC secretariat’s Momentum for Change Initiative presented awards to representatives of some of the best examples of climate solutions in the world which inspire increased climate action.

This year’s winners, or “Lighthouse Activities,” range from a Latin American microfinance initiative that is unlocking resources for climate action across the region to a billion-dollar company that is leading a solar energy boom in Thailand. The Momentum for Change initiative this year for the first time included the category of Information and Computer technology.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Africa joins mass die-in as Lima climate talks end

The final day of UN negotiations began with a mass die-in of observers from across the world to highlight the voices ignored by the outcome of the conference.

At the 2013 climate conference in Warsaw, Poland, civil society groups and others staged a massive and unprecedented “walkout” of the negotiations in protest of what they viewed as another year of failed negotiations.

As protesters left the conference halls in Poland, they chanted the phrase, “Volveremos!” which in Spanish means, “we will return.” 

After another year of still rising global warming emissions, diplomats and civil society observers returned to COP20 in Lima, Peru, with an unrelenting call for justice, but a slightly different tone.

As negotiations concluded on Friday, members of civil society performed a “die-in” with over 150 participants.

“This is hypocrisy and duplicity on the part of developed country governments,” said Fazal Issa of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) from Tanzania.

In unison, demonstrators fell to the ground outside of the plenary hall where a text to set a framework for a global climate “deal” next year in Paris was being negotiated.

“Governments of developed countries are pressuring developing countries when they do not even own up to the inadequacy of their targets and constantly refuse to include climate finance as part of binding agreements,” Issa told the crowd. “Climate finance for mitigation actions in the South is part of the obligations and fair share of the efforts of developed countries.” 

Other speakers were from the Philippines, the Dominican Republic and Peru.

Gerry Arances of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice stated that “we are already suffering massive devastation, loss of lives, and displacement of communities, with just 0.8°C of warming. Even that will mean far worse consequences for our people than what they are already experiencing.”

He added that neither sympathy nor solidarity were adequate, because “this outcome in Lima is unacceptable to the people of Asia.”

The impacts in the Philippines highlight that some losses and damages from a warmer world are already and will continue to be unavoidable.

Last year in Warsaw, a process was established so that countries most responsible for climate change could compensate those that suffer these losses.

But this year, some developed countries, like the United States and Japan, have tried to oust such a mechanism from being included in a global agreement.

Peruvian Lorena Del Carpio of Movimiento Ciudadano Frente al Cambio Climatico (Citizens Movement on Climate Change), called citizens from across the world to continue to rise into action and not be struck down.

No going back on legally binding climate agreement - African Groups

As the Lima climate talks grind to a close, African groups  have stressed the urgent need for a legally binding climate agreement to ensure safety for Africa and Africans.

Mohamed Gharib Bilal, Vice President of Tanzania and Coordinator of the Committee of the African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) disclosed this during the "Africa day event" at the sidelines of the Lima climate conference.

"Africa needs a legally binding climate agreement that places issues of adaptation, finance and technology transfer at the forefront and we will never go back on this," Vice President Bilal remarked.

Nagmeldin El Hassan, Chair, African Group, while briefing on some outstanding issues in the negotiations noted that the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) clearly identifies Africa’s climate-related vulnerabilities.

He highlighted that gaps in parties’ current commitments are a source of concern as they fall far short of the requirement to “keep Africa safe” in a 2°C world. "Africa’s concerns have been enhanced by developed countries’ focus on mitigation and voluntary Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)" he said.

The Africa Day at COP 20, which was organised by the African Union Commission (AUC), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and African Development Bank (AfDB), in collaboration with the Governments of Tanzania and Mozambique provided a platform and opportunity to critically examine the implications of the post-2015 climate change agreement for the continent, and how to enhance the involvement of women and youth in climate change adaptation. 

In line with the focus on Africa, Fatima Denton, Director of Special Initiatives, UN Economic Commission for Africa, highlighted the green development vision articulated by African leaders in the last decade, citing the Clim-Dev Africa Programme as an African-led process to strengthen the knowledge base for climate-smart development and disseminate it at community level. She asserted that the fight against climate change can be won through bankable projects.

Recalling her experience as one of two African ministers in Bali who “forced their way” into the closed contact group working on a compromise agreement, Jessica Eriyo, Deputy Secretary General, East African Community stated that climate change is a human-rights issue because it affects the livelihoods of Africans, she urged negotiators "to remain firm and work as a team to ensure that the Lima outcome reflects their concerns."

Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, Alternate Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board Member for the Democratic Republic of Congo, noted that a key objective of the GCF is to “level the playing field” in the climate finance landscape, saying that half of the US$10 billion GCF funding has been earmarked for adaptation activities, with a priority for Africa and Small Island Developing States.

Among other opportunities for Africa, he highlighted, inter alia: equal representation for GCF Board Members from developing countries; the strong focus on direct access and country ownership; a fast track option for implementing entities that are already accredited to other multilateral funding mechanisms; and the GCF-wide gender policy and action plan.

Sam Ogallah of the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) remarked that African civil society will not relent in its drive to ensure that Africa gets a better climate deal in 2015 and added that "civil society will not hesitate to name and shame any group or parties that are bent on foisting unfair climate deals on Africa."


During discussions, speakers harped on the need to channel climate investments to the subnational level to ensure full participation of affected communities, promote awareness on workable adaptation strategies for policy makers, and focus on readiness activities to ensure Africa has the requisite policies and projects in place once the GCF becomes fully operational.

Friday, December 12, 2014

TerrAfrica evolves to galvanize climate resilient communities

In 2015, TerrAfrica would be commemorating a decade of using sustainable land and water management practices to drive climate resilient, food and water security in sub-Saharan Africa.

The African-driven global partnership, spearheaded by the African Union’s New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) Agency and the World Bank currently has SLWM projects and investments in 23 African countries.

The Sahel and West Africa Program (SAWAP) has supported the implementation of country-driven vision for integrated natural resource management for sustainable and climate-resilient development.

“Most of the countries are able to come back now in terms of climate change, land degradation much more rapidly because for the last ten years and in a lot of dialogue catalyzed by TerrAfrica, the issue of practices on sustainable natural resource management has come up on the surface,” stated Martin Bwalya, Head of Program Development at the NEPAD Agency.

TerrAfrica has about $3billion worth of investments in African countries co-financed by the World Bank and bilateral partners.

To sustain the momentum, the initiative is creating an alliance for resilient landscape approaches whilst allowing countries to develop their investment opportunities.
 
Magda Lovel, Practice Manager at the World Bank, says the TerrAfrica evolution would make agriculture part of a larger integrated landscape management involving land, water, forest and biodiversity.

The linkages, she observed, would increase the benefits of decisions because “looking at upper watersheds and downstream water sheds are very much linked; so if you rehabilitate upper watershed, you have benefits downstream for communities and peoples”.

The success of TerrAfrica, according to Mr. Bwalya, is the ability of countries to internalize interventions under the project.

According to him, the initiative has also helped to galvanize dialogue at the political and policy levels, through which governments are investing in restoration, land degradation and water management and other practices that impact of resilience in local communities in the face of climate change.

“What is new now is not giving the communities fish but teaching them to fish; therefore what remains in the countries is the capacity, ability, commitment and willingness to actually discover and understand the problems to find solutions for themselves,” he noted.
The TerrAfrica Executive Committee Meeting held in Lima, Peru on the sidelines of the 20th Conference of Parties (COP) of the UN Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) outlined a roadmap to sustain the momentum.

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) believes the landscape approach is critical in sustainable economic and human development.

“It is of primary importance that the developing world uses the landscape approach which brings up the integrity of the management of natural resources as well as the populations living there,” noted UNCCD Special Advisor on Global Issues, Sergio Zelaya-Bonilla.


Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh/ in Lima, Peru

Scotland seeks partnership with African civil society on climate justice

The Scottish Government has put itself up to work with African civil society to create synergies between climate vulnerable communities in Africa and Scotland.

A country delegation, led by Aileen McLeod, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, held talks with the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) on the sidelines of the climate change talks in Lima, Peru.

Building on a relationship which started in 2009, the two parties hope to explore mutually beneficial partnerships in recognition of the intricate challenge brought about by climate change on the planet.

Samson Ogallah, Programmes Manager at PACJA, shared the Alliance’s strategic plan to build the capacity of African civil society and media professionals in a bid to support governments on the continent to protect the livelihoods of local people.
 
The rural population in Africa need increased awareness on impacts of climate change and how they can cope.

PACJA is therefore strengthening country-level networks to give a voice to women, children, farmers and other vulnerable and marginalized people in communities.

Madam Aileen underscored Scotland’s commitment to enhance the voice of Africa in international dialogue for climate justice.

Scotland, she says has £6.0million climate-related investments in some African countries - Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda and Zambia are receiving support water adaptation projects.

The collaboration with PACJA is expected is to open up avenues for Scotland to support the Alliance’s programme implementation in line with its strategic plan.


Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh/in Lima, Peru

Climate campaigners up against funding of dirty energy in Africa

A commitment to decarbonize economies and transition to a 100% clean energy future by 2050 has been a vociferous subject at the climate change talks in Lima, Peru.

The decarbonization target is currently in the draft text of the climate agreement – close to 90 countries have voiced their support for the inclusion of a zero-emission target.

But there are fears fossil fuel companies and polluting countries will lobby furiously to get it removed before a deal is signed in Paris.

‘Dirty Energy’ campaigners believe burning any fossil fuel for economic expansion is bad for the climate.

Dirty energy involves the exploitation of the earth’s resources, especially petroleum, at the expense of the health and economic livelihoods of low-income communities.

A network of NGOs in Africa staged an action against funding for dirty energy and demanded a stop to fossil fuel use by 2050 whilst attention is turned to renewable, efficient energy use.

Kofi Adu Domfeh filed this report from Lima.



Thursday, December 11, 2014

African Heads of States hear concerns of civil society for climate justice

The Committee of the African Heads of States on Climate Change (CAHOSOCC) has given an ear to concerns of civil society to ensure people in Africa are not cheated out of the ongoing UN climate talks in Lima, Peru.

The CSOs have observed that Africa is been forced to “retreat” from its strong negotiating positions held before the Copenhagen meeting, thus “narrowing” Africa’s negotiating space and options and gradually dismantling the UNFCCC regime.

“An unfair climate decision that we sign next year, if it’s not in the interest of Africa, would have condemned our people,” stated Robert Chimambo of the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has two treaties under the Kyoto Protocol, which commits highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy to have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments. The ultimate objective is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.
 
African civil society is worried the issue of mitigation, as understood in the Convention, is being shifted to the disadvantage of developing countries.

“African and other developing countries are being forced to do mitigation at our own cost. This is a complete departure from the spirit and letter of the Convention”

At a meeting with a delegation of political leaders under the CAHOSOCC, the CSOs tasked African Heads of States master the political will to exert their role in the negotiation processes.

“Your message is our message… what you are feeling is what we are feeling,” noted Dr. Binilith Satano Mahenge, a Minister of State at the Office of Tanzania’s Vice President.

He stated African leaders have started moving together to put forth a common position and working with an adopted document highlighting their issues on climate change in line with global agreements.

Dr. Mahenge observed “you can’t do anything on adaptation, technology transfer, capacity building if you don’t have money.”
 
He commended work done by the African Group of Negotiators (AGN), adding that the presence of African civil society at the COP20 is making a milestone ahead.

“We are at a point that we are able to tell the world and to tell other countries what we want. Let us continue negotiating; let us not be discouraged,” he urged.

The CSOs fear current emission reductions on the negotiating table will push Africa’s warming to 3-6oC.

“Chad and Niger are currently experiencing well over 40 degree Centigrade temperatures, which means over 50 degrees, increase if Africa accepts proposed low emission cuts by the Developed Countries,” said PACJA.

Programmes Manager at PACJA, Sam Ogallah, said the CSOs are not relenting in pushing the EU and other parties to heed to the African concern for climate justice.
 
Mr. Chimambo believes Africa must reserve its right and prerogative to pull out of the Paris Negotiations if it’s given a raw deal in Lima.


Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh/ in Lima, Peru

Global climate justice carnival hits Lima COP20

Local communities and environmental activities from diverse countries and cultures took to the streets of Lima to demand climate justice from world leaders gathered for the United Nations climate change talks in Peru.

The People's Climate March recorded the biggest crowd in Central Lima in recent times – an estimated 15,000 participants.

As the climate negotiations peak, the marchers on the Global Day of Action are calling for real action from ministers of states attending the conference. Most of them are demanding a shift to 100 per cent clean energy by 2050.

The march follows the delivery of a 2.2 million person petition by 100 children to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala and COP President Manuel Pulgar Vidal at the UN climate talks in Lima.


Kofi Adu Domfeh filed this report from Peru.


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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

African ministers must stand firm in climate deal

African civil society at the UN climate talks has warned against current proposals that drastically shift the talks away from their initial purpose, as agreed in Durban in 2011.

The group under the auspices of Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) also expressed concern about the draft decision and the scope of its contents.

“Wealthy industrialized countries are dishonoring the agreement reached by all parties in Durban on the Africa soil in 2011,” stated Samson Malesi of KEWASNET/CCN, Kenya.

Responding to the latest version of a ‘draft decision text’ released at the talks, Malesi said “in Durban countries launched new negotiations to increase climate action pre-2020 and to conclude a new climate agreement under the Convention for the post-2020 period. Where is the increase in pre-2020 action that people and the planet so clearly demand?”

Samuel Ogallah, PACJA Programme Manager, said “if Lima decides that countries do not mandatorily, binding under international law, need to bring finance, technology and adaptation commitments to the Paris climate deal then it’s hardly a climate deal at all. African Ministers must stand firm in Lima.”

The Alliance has observed that rich developed countries are deconstructing the international climate regime – at a time when they should be strengthening it. 

“They want a narrow agreement in Paris centered on emission cuts only. They want an agreement that shifts new burdens to Africa, while they end the Kyoto Protocol and weaken the UN climate convention, backtracking on current standards and rules,” said Dr. Arig Gaffer Bakhiet of Sudanese Environmental Conservation (SECS).
 
PACJA wants developed countries to increase their climate action in the pre-2020 period; ensure that the Paris Agreement covers all the elements of confronting the climate crisis – mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, capacity and transparency; ensure that adaptation gets legal parity in the Paris agreement; and ensure that “intended nationally determined contributions” from the developed countries due next year cover all the issues, and are not merely mitigation. 

“Rich countries cannot come to our continent, make promises and then walk away. They must be held to account in Lima to fulfill their promises in Durban for a comprehensive climate deal that works for the people of Africa.” Chakri Said, Morocco Climate Change Network.


Negotiations will continue throughout the week with a final ‘decision’ expected to be adopted late on Friday night local time.

Climate finance cannot be separated from development finance, Ban Ki-moon

Provision of adaptation support and resilient building for the most vulnerable and developing countries must be prioritized at the ongoing climate change talks in Lima, Peru, says UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

He therefore wants tangible progress made by the 20th session of the Conference of Parties (COP20) in solidifying the climate finance regime.

The Secretary-General describes the initial capitalization of nearly $10billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) as a positive step but he is concerned that “our collective action does not match our common responsibilities”.

“I call on countries that have not yet pledged to the Green Climate Fund to consider making an ambitious financial commitment in Lima,” he said. “We must also clearly define a pathway for achieving the goal of $100billion by 2020 in support of developing countries”.

Ban Ki-moon also urged the private sector to leverage on the $200billion commitment at the Climate Summit in New York last September.

According to him, issues of climate finance should not be treated separately from development finance since “combating climate change is an essential part of the foundation of sustainable development; we cannot treat it as a separate issue or we risk losing all hard won development gains of the past decade”.

The Union of Concerned Scientists wants Ministers of States arriving for the talks to exert their influence and provide much-needed political guidance to negotiators over the coming days.

“These include the need to make sure that national emissions reduction pledges are put forward every five years, starting for 2025, so that climate action is scaled up frequently, as well as setting clear expectations for countries putting forward fair but differentiated climate action contributions that reflect their varying capacities and responsibility for causing climate change,” said Director of strategy and policy, Alden Meyer.

Ban Ki-moon wants Lima to deliver a balanced, well-structured and coherent drafted text that provides a solid foundation for the 2015 negotiations on agreements to be reached in Paris. A common understanding must also be reached on the scope and status of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
 
He says by acting now, “we can build more resilience, prosperous and healthy societies” and urged all societies to be part of the solution to lower global warning below 2oC.


Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh/ in Lima, Peru

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