Monday, November 18, 2013

Civil society organizations march amidst gloomy negotiation picture at Warsaw.

By Elias NtungweNgalame

Over 3000 delegates from civil society organizations across the globe at the WARSAW climate conference staged a more than three hours street march amidstwhat observers have described as a gloomy picture of ongoing negotiations since last week. The civil society actors said they were expressing their frustration against the low commitment to implementation on the part of polluter-countries and evidence of another futile and fruitless negotiation exercise in Warsaw.

The street march came a day after the African team at the ongoing climate talks comprising key continental negotiators and civil society organizations hinted at the possibility of staging a walkout.

“We came to Warsaw with high expectations to get ambitious efforts by polluter countries to cut down on their CO2 emissions. This became even evident after news of the Philippines disaster and heavy floods in some developing countries was received no sooner than the talks started. But we were shocked at the provoking news from Japan and Australia to instead reduce their CO2 emission cuts. Japan announced drastic reduction cut from earlier promised 25% to just 3.8%. This we think is provocative and frustrating the negotiation process,”saysSameul Samson Ogalah of the African civil society network.

The hint of a possible withdrawal in the negotiation process came to a fore on Thursday at a strategic meeting between a team of African negotiators, government delegates and African civil society organisations led by the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA). In the build-up to 2015, Government Delegates from Africa decried the non-committal posture of the developed nations on key issues as they relate to loss and damage, means of implementation and Green Climate Fund (GCF), respect of CO2 emissions cut promises etc.

“Negotiation is about give and take. Each party on the negotiation table has to be ready to forfeit something for any such process to be successful. If the polluting countries think they only have to detect on how African countries have to proceed with adaptation, mitigation etc, without  listening to our cry on loss and damages incurred by our suffering population, then then it is a futile process obliging us to leave," says Dr. Habtemarian of the Ethopian Civil Society Network..

 The march and withdrawal threats the civil society actors said was also to send warning signals to the government negotiators who are taking their turns in the talks beginning tomorrow not to focus their negotiations only on the political issues and smoothening of bilateral relationships but ensure a more potentially fruitful engagements that will benefit the suffering masses in the area of agricultural loss and damages, climate equity and justice etc.

 South America and Indian civil society leaders present also hinted at a possible backlash of disenchantment and discontinuity with the entire UNFCCC process if concrete implementation terms and financing models are not arrived at this conference an a ceiling on emissions cut per country that is legally binding is not fixed rather than just voluntary promises that can be breached at will.

A report by Climate Action Network published on Nov. 16 also share in the fear of African delegates and other developing countries. The report reveals that “Japans action is not only betraying the negotiation process but worse still putting the vulnerable poor developing countries in greater danger”.

 The report said the revision of the target by Japan will add 356 Mt CO2e/year to the atmosphere and widen the global emissions gap by 3-4%. “This is a measurable burden for all those who live with the reality of climate change every day, when the world instead needs decisive and immediate actions to raise ambitions, not to lower it”.

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