By Kimbowa Richard
Ahead of the November 13 – 14, 2011 Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) to be held in Dhaka (Bangladesh) prior to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations going to be held from 28 November to 9 December 2011 in Durban, South Africa, a group of CSOs ( Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples’ Network on Climate Change and Biodiversity - BIPNet, Climate Change and Development Forum - CCDF), Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods - CSRL, Equity and Justice Working Group - EquityBD, Network on Climate Change Bangladesh - NCCB and 350.org on behalf of the people of the countries most vulnerable to climate change have issued a statement titled: Right to survive is non-negotiable.
The 18-point statement outlines the CSO expectations for the consideration of CVF. It observes that ‘G77 and China’ being unable to protect the interests of the most vulnerable people, represented mostly by the Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of Africa, Asia, Caribbean and the Pacific, and appreciate the emergence of CVF as an alternate platform to voice the concerns of the Most Vulnerable Countries (MVCs). It urges the participating countries to make CVF a formal negotiating platform in the UNFCCC processes to ensure the right to survive of over a billion most vulnerable people on earth, the segment of the mother earth who are the least responsible for building up and contributing to atmospheric load of greenhouse gases and who, ironically, have been struggling just to ensure their survival in the wake of climate change.
It calls on all Parties of the UNFCCC to recognise the CVF as a legitimate collective voice of the people most vulnerable to climate change in the negotiation processes, where the group comprising the majority of Parties to UNFCCC; three-quarters of the membership of the G77; and in excess of 1 billion people globally. The statement appreciates the CVF for envisioning the platform to ventilate common positions of the vulnerable country Parties to UNFCCC.
It expresses profound disappointment to the fact that the global leadership collectively failed to live up to their promises towards settling with firm collective actions by 2009, as agreed through the Bali processes and that a few Parties have been deliberately wasting time to delay firm actions which might have created much improved opportunities for the most vulnerable to first survive and then thrive on a least cost development pathway.
The CSOs urge upon the CVF to reemphasize the principles enshrined in the UNFCCC that the global response to climate change should be undertaken on the basis of equity, common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, and that they should not interfere with the realisation of the right to survive and the right to equitable economic growth for vulnerable countries.
It also notes that a global response to climate change that is agreed at COP17 must be consistent with what the science demands for the continued survival of the people, cultures and countries that are most vulnerable to climate change.
With regard to the Shared Vision the statement calls on all Parties to the UNFCCC to act with renewed urgency and determination to ensure that a fair and safe legally binding agreement is reached at COP17 which will deliver long-term stabilisation of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at 350 ppm level that limit global average temperature increases to no more than 1.5°C compared with pre-industrial levels; that global greenhouse gas emissions must peak no later than 2015; and must reduce by at least 95% below 1990 levels by 2050 (though this should be revised upwards if the science so dictates).
On Mitigation, the statement urges for urgent action that the science demands in that Annex 1 Parties must reduce their emissions by at least 45% in aggregate against 1990 levels by 2020. The majority of this action must be undertaken domestically in order to guarantee a low carbon global future. In addition, finance and technological support must be made available for developing countries for the implementation of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) which must not count towards fulfilment of any Annex 1 emissions reductions. Also the major emitting Parties that are not making any reduction commitment for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, following a shorter second commitment period, can join the third commitment period to contribute to GHG emission reduction to save the planet earth.
On Adaptation, the statement identifies three key crucial principles that must be addressed through the possible adaptation framework: focus on the most vulnerable countries, communities and people; rights-based approach to adaptation; country-owned, transparent, participatory, sustainable, gendered, community-based, and drawing on local and indigenous knowledge. In addition, the adaptation framework must take into account that: adaptation should be defined in communities and countries, not globally; communities should be empowered to take local action and decide what is needed for their adaptation; Internal and international movement, relocation, rehabilitation and reintegration of people displaced by weather related extreme events and trends.
On Finance, the statement recognises the commitment made by developed country governments in Cancun to mobilize jointly $100 billion per year by 2020 from a wide range of public, private and alternative sources of finance. Since the ultimate needs of developing countries, based on numerous expert reports, are very likely to be higher, and the CSOs call for agreement in Durban on a trajectory of scaled-up climate finance from 2013 to 2020 capable of at least meeting and exceeding this figure.
Furthermore the statement stresses that this finance should be new and additional to pre-existing commitments of development assistance (0.7% of GNI) and provided so as to provide predictability to developing countries. It further stresses that that streamlined direct access to public, grant-based finance is vital to meet the urgent adaptation needs of MVCs.
The statement notes that the commitments of developed countries to provide adequate, new and additional and predictable climate finance to developing countries should be met first and foremost through direct contributions from national budgets. A significant portion should be provided through the
new Green Climate Fund, with an allocation of at least 50% to adaptation, in view of achieving an appropriate thematic balance with mitigation, and paying particular attention to the needs of MVCs. The provision of finance for adaptation should be grant-based.
In addition to the budget contributions of developed countries, the CSOs call on the international community to agree and implement without delay innovative sources of public finance that respect the principles of the UNFCCC. Such sources will be vital in enhancing the overall scale, additionality and predictability of climate finance flows.
The statement observes that carbon pricing instruments for the international transport sector, if implemented based on ‘no net incidence principle’ for developing countries, and taking particular account of the needs of the MVCs, is a particularly promising option which should be explored in Durban. The CSOs welcome recent reports assessing such options, including the report of the UN Secretary General's High Level Advisory Group on Financing for Climate Change and the report of the World Bank, IMF and other international organizations to the G20.
The statement welcomes the recent progress towards the implementation of Financial Transaction Taxes (FTT) in some developed countries, and calls on those countries to guarantee that a significant proportion of the revenues generated are dedicated to international development and climate finance, with particular regard to the needs of MVCs. At least USD 150 billion per year must be made available through the UNFCCC for climate change requirements in developing countries, of which at least USD 50 billion per year must be for adaptation and MVCs should be prioritized. It stresses that finance must not be in the form of loans and the scale of finance required must be reviewed and revised as necessary as more information regarding adaptation needs and the extent of impacts become known. This finance must be raised through binding commitments for Annex 1 Parties, based on their historical responsibility and financial capability.
On the Green Climate Fund (GCF) the statement proposes that it must ensure: the continuity in national climate change planning and priority setting; common and simplified access, including direct access by country governments and civil society, the establishment of a single national mechanism to receive and channel funds in line with coordinated national plans, the citizenry and civil society monitor their own government’s progress against national plans.