As the world prepares for the 22nd Conference of Parties (COP), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) took stock of how the previous COP 21 in Paris, France, addressed the needs of the masses that they represent.
In a workshop held last week Wednesday at Oasis Motel, Tracy Sonny, Coordinator of Botswana Climate Change Network drew the attention of participants to Article 7 of the Agreement which deals with adaptation. It is believed that adaptation-devising means of living with impact of climate change- is the best solution for the African continent. This requires advocacy for adaptation by CSOs, instead of reducing the emission of Green House Gases (GHG) into the atmosphere which aggravates climate change impacts.
Sonny said as a way forward post Paris Agreement as countries and Institutions design their policies it would be essential for CSOs to keenly follow the processes and ensure that their perspectives and knowledge are integrated into national plans, policies and strategies. She posited that CSOs possess the local knowledge and resources which have been used over centuries to confront natural disasters. It was proposed that such “best-practice” activities, in adaptation and mitigation, should be promoted or replicated through networking platforms. Although it might be perceived that it is the obligation of those who caused the climate problem to fix it, the consensus was that CSOs and communities should be ready to do their part ÔÇô engaging in practices that preserve mother earth and protect the environment.
As for the Green Climate Fund (GCF); a fund established to finance climate projects, Sonny said it must be urgently and sufficiently resourced as to fulfill outstanding pledges. She suggested that this should be done by providing a minimum of USD 100 billion a year for climate action by 2020 and ensuring the GCF funds only sustainable projects and protects human rights.
“The Agreement provides that: Developed country parties shall provide financial resources to assist developing country parties with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention. Parties are encouraged to provide or continue to provide such support voluntarily; such mobilization of climate finance should represent a progression beyond previous efforts,” she reasoned.
She opined however that the Paris Agreement only commits to ‘mobilizing’ $100 billion per year by 2020 which covers emission and adaption initiatives, an amount which is far short of the support required. She added that there is no firm commitment to increase this figure but exists a mere aspiration to review it by 2025.
“The definition of ‘mobilize’ is purposefully broad, to include loans, private finance, grants with strings attached, and the reallocation of aid budgets. There has even been talk of calling the money sent home by migrants working in richer countries a form of climate finance, and counting it towards the total ‘mobilized’ by those rich countries.” These gaps, she argued, are likely to be causes of reluctance of some countries to ratify the Agreement.