COP means what again?
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Sometime in early November, I was invited to a very informative youth-led COP 19/CMP9 preparatory meeting with Kenya’s KEY country negotiators from the Ministry of Environment and the National Environment Management Authority.
The meeting saw three constituency groups present their COP 19 position papers:
· Kenyan youth
· African CSOs
· National draft position (We are not supposed to call it Government position)
The youth position paper was presented by the Kenya Youth Climate Network. The paper was informed by several climate change conferences held in different parts of the country. It captured a variety of aspects ranging from the GCF funding mechanism to youth participation.
The CSOs position was presented by PACJA, this was drafted after several meetings in the continent. They had 14 priority areas that were raised from these discussions. Key issues that stood out for me was their call for stabilization of emissions at 300 parts per million co2 equivalent and the temperature level be reduced to well below 1 0c above preindustrial levels. This was rather too ambitious (well, at least that is how I saw it). They also called for 1.5% of GDP from annex 1 countries to be set aside for financing climate catastrophes in non-ANNEX countries. Another issue raised was about how African countries/regions are divided on areas of priority; some are focused on adaptation while others are more on mitigation. You can find more information on these from www.pacja.org .
While presenting the national position, Mr. Kinguyu- one of Kenyas Lead Negotiator- focused on dynamics around the COP with relation to our ambitions as a country. Among other things he said that we need to ensure that before 2020 when the GCF actually “comes to life,” enough pledges are made so as to ensure the financing gaps that currently exist are addressed. Execution of NAMAs for non- ANNEX 1 countries also need to be clearly defined. He pointed out that the main point of negotiation in the COPs is consensus.
What youth should know: “It is not fun, it is hard work”
Negotiations are about politics and most importantly, about economic interests. The developed states always work towards protecting their lifestyle and consumption habits, they cannot at any point compromise the wellbeing of their countries and neither should we.
Interested youth need to familiarize themselves with all previous COP decisions, from Copenhagen to Durban, to Doha, etc. We need to be aware of the Nairobi work plan, the Subsidiary bodies, AD HOC Working Group on the Durban Platform and what all the other relevant agreements are all about. In the COPs, it is the small side meetings that make decisions which actually have an impact. It is bilateral agreement and unscheduled out-of-business-hour meetings that produce tangible outputs and agreements. The majority of funding actually comes from bilateral agreements.