Posts tagged ‘COP18’

December 4, 2012

COP18/CMP8: Don’t Offer Leap Service On Climate Change Adaptation Cash- Activists Tell Rich Countries

Emmanuel Okella
Doha. Dec, 2012

Wealthy countries have come under attack at the ongoing climate change talks in Doha with poor countries accusing them of not walking-the-talk with regard to climate financing.

Apart from the bashing over failure to provide cash to help poor people adapt to climate change, they are also being blamed for pretense in what they have agreed to give so far.

African coalition on climate financing says much of what the developed countries have given so far has come out of existing aid budgets or in the form of loans that will need to be repaid.

Members of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change holding a press conference in Doha. By Fredrick Mugira

Members of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change holding a press conference in Doha. By Fredrick Mugira

The European Union and nine countries including the United States and Australia agreed during the 2009 climate change meeting in Copenhagen to make a down payment of $30billion by the end of this year on the eventual $100bn a year that must be raised by 2020.

But recent analysis by Oxfam shows that only about $24 billion has been committed and much of that is not new and additional to existing aid, as was agreed.

“How are we supposed to be holding repeated negotiations with people who don’t want to meet their part of the bargain? How shall we continue trusting them? ” asked Geoffrey Uwale, a member of the African coalition on climate financing.

“Most of what they have given the poor people, suffering consequences of their excesses has been in loans that have to be repaid with interest. Worse still, only 21% of it has been earmarked to support adaptation programs” he added.

A recent report by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) says wealthy nations have all together failed to meet their pledges to help poor countries address climate change effects. The report singled out only Japan and Norway, it said were the only ones that have contributed a fair share of their promise.

Tim Gore, the Oxfam climate change policy adviser says developing countries are heading towards a huge dilemma without any confidence that they will be supported to adapt to climate change after 2012.

“There is a real danger that climate finance will be scaled down in 2013, at a time when it needs to be scaled up.” he said.

African coalition on climate financing is asking developed countries to find new ways of raising the funding outside aid budgets so that the $100bn commitment is met without diverting money from other anti-poverty priorities such as health and education.

December 4, 2012

COP18/CMP8: Conservation Agriculture Could Help Women Farmers with HIV/Aids to Improve Food Security

Emmanuel Okella
Doha, Dec, 2012

Women activists at the ongoing United Nations Climate Change conference in Doha, are asking for global attention towards the negative impact of HIV/AIDS on food production in Africa.

“There are millions of women widowed by AIDS in Africa, their health conditions can’t support the heavy farm labor, yet farming is the only way they can provide food and income to their families” says Mary Andiobe, the executive director for Women Coalition against HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Her remarks come just days after the world marked Aids day.

She says negotiators at the climate summit should not ignore the struggles of African women in ensuring household food security. “A link has to be drawn between climate change, HIV/AIDS and food production. Mitigation measures such as promotion of conservation agriculture have to be on the African agenda” she said at the sidelines of the conference.

A Youth holds a placard at the COP18 in Doha. By Fredrick Mugira

A Youth holds a placard at the COP18 in Doha. By Fredrick Mugira

According to Dr. LindiweSibanda, the Chief Executive Officer of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), women farmers are the pillars of African agriculture because over half of all women in Africa are employed in the Agriculture sector producing nearly 90% of food on the continent.

“Yet even as the guardians of food security they are still marginalized in business relations and have minimal control over access to resources such as land, inputs such as improved seeds and fertilizer, credit and technology” she notes in the organization’s African women magazine.

Now HIV/AIDS has further worsened the precarious situation for Africa’s women. Apart from losing family support from husbands, they are themselves advised to cut back on farm labor after testing positive for HIV. While taking care of their health, crop yields continue to decline.

Andiobe says stuck in an impossible situation like this, the women farmers need to be supported to learn and implement conservation agriculture – a method of farming that calls for less tillage.

Intensive farm labor remains a challenge especially when the body’s immunity starts to dwindle. “At this point they begin to feel desperate. Life starts becoming unbearable because one becomes food insecure year after year” she remarks.

With no capital to start alternative income generating activity some feel that they have no option and contemplate defying hospital advice and spend more hours in their fields.

Conservation agriculture involves less tillage – a physically demanding and time-consuming activity. Two alternatives to tillage could be promoted. One is called basin tillage. Farmers dig small basins or pits that capture water and soil nutrients. The other is called “ripping.” Farmers use a device that breaks up compacted soil, allowing water and roots to penetrate deeply.

These alternatives to tillage reduce soil loss and erosion. They complement the other principles of conservation agriculture: leaving crop residues on the field as mulch, and rotating crops.

Conservation agriculture practices have brought hope and joy to many HIV positive farmers in Africa and it’s this kind of initiatives that African women activists in Doha are calling for to help the African woman not only ensure food security for her household but also contribute to sustainable development.

December 4, 2012

COP18/CMP8: Africa Urged To Gear up Role In Climate Change Negotiations

Emmanuel Okella
Doha Dec, 2012

Observers say Africa risks losing its essential bargains at the ongoing United National Climate Change negotiations in Qatar, if African delegates at the conference don’t play an enhanced role on a number of issues that are still hanging and need to be resolved at least by the end of the two week gathering.

“We know there are a million demands we are making, but we need to quickly reach consensus on the continent’s key ones and start collectively pushing for those right way” said Jacqueline Amongin, an observer for the Pan African Parliament at the talks.

Of immediate concern to Africa is securing a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol and ensuring that amendments to the protocol are adopted before the end of 2012.
“There seems agreement on the extension but we need it signed will out interests there in” she added.

Members of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change holding a press conference in Doha. By Fredrick Mugira

Members of the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change holding a press conference in Doha. By Fredrick Mugira

The Durban Conference last year reached resolution that a second commitment period to the Protocol, which could be for a period of either five or seven years, runs from January 1, 2013.

The aim of the second commitment period is to ensure that collective emissions of greenhouse gases by developed countries are reduced by at least 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

The second commitment period is critical to Africa’s interests because it commits the world’s biggest polluters to long-term temperature goals, thereby ensuring that the global temperature rise does not further expose Africa to undesirable threats.

Any gap between the first and second commitment periods would clearly signal danger for the continent in terms of mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

“Africa has many projects hinging on this protocol and not fully committing developed countries on it would mean danger for African mitigation measures such as on agriculture and energy” Amongin told a meeting of African negotiation group here in Doha.

The observers say, another outstanding issue is the Green Climate Fund which Africa wants to see sufficiently funded. The fund was decided in Cancun in 2010 and got established at last year’s Conference of Parties in Durban-South Africa.

“We need to see this money coming. Clinton made a promise of 100 billion dollars a year in 2009, but are we witnessing it. These are key areas that we need to bench on” commented Dr. Boniface Watara from Benin.

It aims to provide support to developing countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The developed countries have agreed to mobilize $100 billion per annum to the fund by 2020.

The fund still remains largely empty and is yet to begin meeting either mitigation or adaptation requirements. Representatives of Africa and LDCs at Doha are pushing for common position to see that financial sack swelling.

Chair of the African negotiation team Emmanuel Dlamini says he is hopeful that something tangible will come out of Doha. “It’s important that we stay focused, united and positive, even in tough situations such as at these tedious negotiations. It’s a tough terrain but am confident we shall pull off something” he said.

November 30, 2012

COP18/CMP8: Africa’s Gain Or Loss From COP18 Will Be Squarely On You- Africa’s Chief Negotiator Tells Peers

Emmanuel Okella
November 30, 2012

The Chair of the African Group of Negotiators has told delegates from the continent that whatever Africa will take out from the ongoing UN climate negotiations will depend on both their grasp of the issues as well as effective presence at working sessions.

Mr. Dlamini Emmanuel, who has expressed cautious optimism at the outcome of the ongoing UN climate conference in Qatar, says previous instances when some delegates treated trips for these talks as holiday breaks, have cost the continent its own fair share of the bargain.

An African youth holds a placard at the COP 18 in Doha

An African youth holds a placard at the COP18 in Doha

In a meeting with Dr. Fatima Denton, the Coordinator the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) and other officials from the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the chief negotiator said what Africa brings home from Doha would depend on a clear mastery of the issues by the negotiators.

“As we move towards the Ministerial level, it is clear that our delegates need a better grasp of the issues, and not just the position that other partners hold on those issues, but why they hold them”, he said.

His comments follow concerns by many African activists that the continent is lagging behind in the negotiations with some of its key demands to be delivered in Doha, laying in doubt.

This is not the first time delegates are facing accusations of this kind. Even at previous COP meetings delegates have repeatedly been accused of not participating enough, instead spending much of their time shopping and touring host cities.

“You see, if we are not present during the discussions; or, if we do not show a clear understanding of the issues, we would neither be able to lead them nor infuse our position into the final documents of the Conference”, he said.

He admitted the existence of some capacity gaps among new delegates but said the lead negotiators could ably represent the continent, despite the ever-changing rough world of climate negotiations.

Earlier, Emmanuel warned that any future agreement coming out from Doha should be more than just a “mitigation deal”.

African agencies like the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) are concerned that failure by Africa to cut a meaningful share in the outcome of the talks, directly increases the continent’s vulnerability to the harsh impacts climate change.

Key on the agenda of the African group is the green climate fund to help countries implement adaptation and mitigation measures but also extension of the commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol that mainly conditions wealthy nations to emission reduction targets.

Chebet Maikut who is coordinating Uganda’s negotiation team admits existing knowledge gaps among delegates mainly as a result of frequent changes of the teams by governments.

“Like for the case of Uganda we keep having new people on board and sometimes this slows the process because they spend some time trying to understand not only the different positions but also the processes of the negotiations” he observed.

“The good thing is that the team always has experienced people who help guide the process but as you may see, this affects their overall input in the talks because they have to balance between participation and guiding the relatively new colleagues” he added.

Dr. Fatima Denton, who has managed several climate change programs across Africa and a veteran of COP negotiations, said that she understands the nature of challenges that negotiators often face and assured the African Group of ACPC’s willingness to continue providing technical assistance.

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