Tuesday 26 November 2013

Environmental NGOs Walk Out at COP19 stemmed last minute action by Developed Countries

PACJA leading the walk-out with GreenPeace Kumi following on
On Thursday, Nov 21, 2013 in City of Warsaw-Poland, the unexpected was witnessed. For the first time, the so-called moderate NGOs joined other environmental and development NGOs to show their dissatisfaction with the slow progress of COP19 negotiations.

Having participated actively in the negotiations under particular agenda items i.e. matters relating to Finance and COP Work Programme on Forest Financing  whereas attending partner side events such as one for ActionAid on Loss and Damage, I guess the walk was timely.

During a side event convened by ActionAid on Loss and Damage, I inquired from the panelists of possible plans to address loss and damage apart from the position of Action Aid i.e. to establish an international mechanism on Loss and Damage reporting directly to the COP, which was also Uganda’s position and G77 & China, a few to mention. 
One singh (Action Aid panelist) insisted that this was the only way and must be established in Warsaw. Being a seasoned negotiator and knowing of last minute compromise I was reluctant to respond.

Still, under my docket was the REDD+ financing discussions that stalled for almost 5 days on issues such as “result based finance”, “methodological guidance consistence with past COP decisions”, GCF governing instrument language, general matters relating to finance a few to mention.

Having convened a Ministerial dialogue on Finance chaired by Minister Kiwanuka (Uganda Finance Minster and the other of Denmark)  that did not result to actual figures on table, perhaps this agitated the walk-out since the Post 2012 fast start finance was now impossible and most of the existing funds except those under GEF were empty.

Interestingly, after the Thursday walk-out, some Developed Countries gave in, as usual give and take came into play. During the REDD+ discussions, we had to give in GCF language be transferred to preamble paragraph so as to have the para..  “alternative policy approaches, such as joint mitigation and adaptation approaches for the integral and sustainable management of forests” since most LDCs did not want to focus on result based finance for result based actions.

On Loss and Damage, even after various lobbying to Developed Countries delegates, stills the usual suspects blocked the discussions. Most of them did not wish to hear anything related to compensation, yet this was among the key messages from NGOs such as Action Aid.

The impact of the walk-out saw a political compromise on loss and damage, which resulted into a decision “Establishes the Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage, under the Cancun Adaptation Framework”, but with meaningless efforts to address compensation, forced migration etc. instead a weak decision majorly to focus on knowledge and data sharing; dialogue and promoting synergies etc.