Besides raising considerable awareness on the issue of climate change and ensuring it gets the due attention it deserves, the 15th Conference of the Parties (CoP) held last year in Copenhagen ended in dismay and brought no real good news to environmental and social activists across the globe. This year, the 16th CoP is set to be held in Cancun, Mexico from November 29 to December 10.
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, announced in very clear manner, the objectives and expectations from COP 16, “Let me be clear – there is no magic bullet, no one climate agreement that will solve everything right now. To expect that is naive. However, I am certain the world can do this step by step, but only if we keep on walking firmly in the right direction, including at Cancun.”
In preparation for the Summit, delegates are gathering this week in Tianjin, China for the final round of UN climate talks. Scheduled from 4-9 October 2010, the meeting is expected to produce a draft negotiating text that nations will debate at the Cancun Summit. This meeting will be the fourteenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I countries under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and the twelfth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA).
The agenda at the meeting in Tianjin, China will focus on two main topics:
- Industrialised nations’ commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, including further emission reductions after 2012, when the current period ends
- Preparation of a draft negotiating text for the Cancun Summit
To do a quick revision of the history of these meetings, the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have met annually from 1995 in what has come to be known as the Conferences of the Parties (CoP), mainly to assess progress in dealing with climate change. The much debated and controversial Kyoto Protocol came in 1997 under which developed countries were bound to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This December, the participating nations will be getting together in CoP 16.
Most of the goals set to reduce GHG emissions and combat climate change remain at the mercy of the developed countries, a fact of common acceptance. The poor and developing countries can only wait and watch. Walking together is not an option at the current stage for developed and under-developed countries. Unless the developed countries slow down and let poor countries catch up with them, it is difficult to ensure sustainable development of the inter-connected Planet as a whole.
On 2nd October 2010, more than 40 countries across the Asia-Pacific region participated in a six-day conference in Astana, Kazakhstan to implement a plan for promoting green growth that encourages economic development while still ensuring environmental sustainability. Without doubt most of the developing countries are all in for achieving better and economical solutions to the threat of climate change. Understandably so, because they are also the worst affected. The wait may be prolonged but the impacts and affects of a changing climate cannot be evaded or kept on hold. Hence, all CoP 16 participant countries should prepare and gear up for bringing change and solutions to the now so many threats posed to ‘Our Common Environment’.
And for us, it is time again to wake our policy makers and representatives towards the seriousness of the matter, demand action, answers and committed solutions from the CoP at Cancun. Lets get set, ready and work to bring change!
Image courtesy UNFCCC.int & cc2010.mx