IN less than three months from now, world leaders will gather at Paris, France for the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) under the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC). Much is at stake in this year’s COP after a failed climate deal in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009.
Indeed, there is a growing clamor and pressure for world leaders to achieve a fair, ambitious and binding deal in Paris this December. No less than the leader of the Roman Catholic Church – Pope Francis has issued a papal encyclical in June titled “Laudato Si” which urges everyone to “stop climate change destruction”.
Earlier, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) guided by the following documents: revised, streamlined, consolidated text; a working document integrating the outputs from the various facilitation groups on finance, mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage are integrated in the Paris document met again in what seemed to be one of the last remaining negotiation week before Paris (the other one happening on October) where negotiators will find ways to achieve fairness, ambition and transparency and how these can be explicitly shown in the draft text.
However, early this month’s Bonn intersession proved to be futile. The seemingly slow progress of the negotiations showed that countries are somewhat far from forging a deal soon.
Developing countries and civil society organizations were quite frustrated with the snail pace tempo of the negotiations.
Furthermore, civil society groups and developing countries were also frustrated with the way “loss and damage” has been talked about in Bonn. Loss and damage became a pressing issue during the COP 19 in Warsaw in 2013 when Philippines lead negotiator Naderev “Yeb” Sano championed the issue of loss and damage where he asked developed countries to clearly define humanitarian aid vis-a-vis climate compensation.
Philippines’ climate commitment and ways forward
But the Paris climate agreement – whether this will come into fruition or not – will be put into waste if countries will not submit and commit heavily into their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). The UNFCCC has clearly outlined recommendations for drafting of INDCs or climate action plans as “ambitious, leading to transformation in carbon-intensive sectors and industry; transparent, so that stakeholders can track progress and ensure that countries meet their stated goals; and equitable, so that each country does its fair share to address climate change.”
The recent controversy on the Intended National Determined Contributions (INDCs) of the Philippines over non-inclusion of civil society organizations is quite alarming given the country’s pivotal role in the negotiation process during the past few COPs. No less than Philippine climate change commissioner Heherson Alvarez has lamented the fact that INDC of the Philippines is being drafted without proper consultation with relevant stakeholders.
In a recently published think piece I co-wrote with a fellow climate campaigner Adopt a Negotiator Project‘s Chris Wright from Australia, we thoroughly discussed how the Philippines can paved the way for a reform-oriented, accountable and ambitious climate pledges. We discussed how the Philippines can follow the footsteps of Morocco, Peru and Ethiopia which have submitted and have reaped praises at the UN last June.
Considered as a middle-income economy country, the Philippines’ INDC must effectively weave inputs from various stakeholders – private sector, civil society and the most vulnerable people in the face of a changing climate. It should bring in climate change mitigation and adaptation ensuring inclusive growth with respect to environmental laws.
Only through a direct, participatory and inclusive negotiations and INDCs drafting processes especially on countries like the Philippines will enable parties to work on their differences, find points of convergence and ultimately come up with a transparent, fair, ambitious deal that will lower carbon emissions to 2 degrees Celsius; help vulnerable sectors adapt to climate change impacts by ensuring that financial mechanisms are open and available.
The last five negotiation days in October is crucial for a fair and binding climate agreement in Paris this December. We failed to accomplish this in Copenhagen in December 2009. We are experiencing the impacts of climate change with the most vulnerable sectors greatly affected by it. We cannot afford to fail this time. The future of the next generation is at stake.
Jed Alegado is an incoming graduate student in the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague, Netherlands. He holds a masters degree in Public Management from the Ateneo School of Government. He is also a Climate Tracker
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