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Presented by: Department of Public Information of the United Nations - Non Governmental Organizations
UN DPINGO Briefings: "After Cancun: Where Do We Stand on Climate Change? (A Follow-Up to Cancun Conference)"
Dated: 20 January 2011 -UN HQ Conference Room #2, NLB

"Cancun had been a step forward for the multilateral process.
Was it step forward for the planet?"

Highlights and Photos by:
Cevat CIVAN*, Lightmillennium.Org
1st Alternate Representative to the UN DPINGO

- More on the UN/DPI-NGO Briefings on the Lightmillennium.Org

Backround: 193 countries gathered at The UN Climate Change Conference in Cancún, Mexico where they produced a balanced package of decisions that set all governments more firmly on the path towards a low-emissions future and support enhanced action on climate change in the developing world. The United Nations Climate Change Conferences in Cancun and in Copenhagen were further steps on the way to a balanced life of human and nature. The Conference in Cancun took place from 29 November to 10 December of 2010 created a new "Cancun Adaptation Framework”. This framework established an improved planning and implementation of adaptation projects in developing countries through increased financial and technical support, including a clear process for continuing work on loss and damage.

As climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time, attendees of the Cancun Conference concluded Conventions based on concerns made at the Cancun Conference. Their vision addresses mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity-building in a balanced, integrated and comprehensive manner to enhance and achieve the full, effective and sustained implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, now, up to and beyond 2012. “The outcomes in Cancun have given us important tools. Now we must use them, and strengthen our efforts in line with the scientific imperative for action,” stated Mr. Ban.

The DPI NGO Briefing presented a panel of experts who are familiar with the conference as well as the topic that examined the current state of climate change and potential action plans during the Briefing.
Source: Department of Public Information of the United Nations - Non Governmental Organizations

cynthia_scharf kate_horner
Cynthia Scharf, UN Secretary General's Climate Change Support Team at United Nations. Daniel Shepard, Focal Point for Climate Change and Sustainable Development, Strategic Communications Division, UN Department of Public Information.

Kate Horner, Trade and Forest Policy Analyst, Friends of the Earth International.

"The weather concerned what happened on a short term time scale anything from what you would see tomorrow and answered yes. Climate change by contrast was about much larger chronological arc."

Moderator, Gail Bindley-Taylor Sainte Information Officer, NGO Relations, Department of Public Information (DPI) presented backround information of the Briefing. She emphasized climate changes no longer scientific curiosity at her inaugural speech according to UNEP's scientists. It was during the 19th century the scientist became aware cumulated carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere could create what is known as green house effect and increase of the planet. By the middle of the 20th century, it also became clear the human activity one of the significant contributors to the increasing production of these gases and the phenomenon known as global warming also accelerating. Also, she said that this brought concern and concern brought action on climate change.

Ms. Cynthia Scharf, UN Secretary General's Climate Change Support Team at United Nations,
upon starting she explained what difference between weather and climate was. The weather concerned what happened on a short term time scale anything from what you would see tomorrow and answered yes. Climate change by contrast was about much larger chronological arc. It was concerning with Trans that spends through decades if not through centuries and had impacts throughout of our ecosystem.

After, her speech was continuing with big picture of perspective. She started with a political perspective and then moving to a scientific perspective.
First on political perspective, the secretary has prioritized climate change from very first days in office. Because the climate change was the larger framework for nearly all of them key concerns UN occupied with. It concerned development, security, human rights, economic and trade issues, evaluation of poverty, the MDGs, global energy, water, food, and you can go down the list. Therefore, the Secreatry General has prioritized climate change as an issue. He has spent extraordinary number of hours and concerned attention meeting as states with regional groups, with NGOs, reaching out the media, and the public to first raise awareness of the treat the climate change poises to draw attention to the solutions that was possible and to the most importantly urge action. Action was at every level which was at the multilateral process level through the UN, the national level, and the community and local levels. The climate change was perhaps the most complex issue ever tackled in the multinational negotiation, precisely because it was at juncture point of the fundamentals concern from member states. It was perhaps even more difficult than the law of the sea treaty or some of the recent multilateral discussion including the Montréal Protocol. She said that they had taken nearly 20 years to get where they were today was a reflection of that complicity and the fact the climate change drives to the hard international concerns about peace, security, and sustainable development.

Secondly, she spoke about scientific perspective. Scientist predict or estimate that if they continued on global scale at business as usual, they might see 4 degrees or higher increase in global temperature rise the century. Before Cancun, UNEP was working variety of very prominent Think Tanks came up with the reports looking at where we stood that day in terms emission pledges and what that translated into scientific terms. Their conclusion was that of all the pledges that voluntarily put forth in Copenhagen by both industrialized countries and the developing countries. If all this pledges fully realized, we would still end up only 60% where we needed to be.
Concluding remark, she said that Cancun had been a step forward for the multilateral process. Was it step forward for the planet? The jury was perhaps still out. One cold be hopeful but the Jury was still out.

Mr. Daniel Shepard, Focal Point for Climate Change and Sustainable Development, Strategic Communications Division, UN Department of Public Information, tried to answer that what Cancun actually agreed on.

On one hand, Countries agreed to list under the UNFCCC the mission reduction targets and actions that day announced 2010 this actually forms the largest collective bases, the largest mediate effort the world ever seen to reduce greenhouse gas emission.

Concerning the Kiyoto protocol, country did not reach the agreement on a second commitment period was turn out just was the most contentious issues during Cancun.

On, finance, Governments meet progress and both fast track and long term financing fronts. They strengthen the transparence of fast track pledges, which will help to build confidence among parties, private sector and civil society. They also launched green climate fun to house long term climate financing. They agreed to explore sources of long term financing that were identified in the secretary general adviser group on climate financing. So 30 billion fast track funding and 100 billion a year long term financing that was in the Copenhagen accord is now officially part of the UNFCCC process. The green climate fund will have equal representation from developed and developing countries and they are supposed to start work this March.

Cancun also established the Cancun Adaptation Framework. They are stream line give some coherence the all adaptation work that is being done and increase technical and financial support. The countries agreed to establish and adaptation committee to get this all up and running and country supposed to submit their views by February 21st.

Countries also agreed in Cancun to boost action to get the machines from deforestation and forest degradation in development countries with technical and financial support.

He asked that the climate change call industrialize countries. Under the UNFCCC to develop low carbon development plans and strategies and had met them through lots of measures including market mechanism center report their inventories annually and calls on undeveloped countries. Also the actions of development countries should also be recognized under the multilateral process call registrants’ be setup and recording match the developing countries` mitigation effect and to attract financial and technology support from developed countries. Developing countries supposed to publish their progress every two years.

Ms. Kate Horner, Trade and Forest Policy Analyst, Friends of the Earth International, explained equality dimensions of what happen in Cancun and detail about what did not happen in Cancun. “The Cancun agreements were incredibly rich documents,” she said. “They were a full of a lot of content that our early stage understanding the full implications for both UN framework conventional climate change its Kyoto Protocol and related institutions. But very careful and initial analysis it’s clear that Cancun failed to address its core task and mission reductions for developed countries inline what science requires.”

She thought that they provided short term multilateral system but many ways instead of strength to the multilateral system there was very real danger that the existing architecture it`s Kyoto protocol may be replaced by voluntary and pledge base system that was in shine Copenhagen accord.

She compared what happened in Cancun with what supposed to happen. In Bali 2007, Fundamental compromise and negotiation with struck and consistent three pillars.

The first pillar was agreed on second commitment period on Kyoto Protocol. The first commitment period expires in 2012. She expressed to be clear it is not Kyoto protocol itself that expired end of 2012. It was the first commitment period. Develop country parties that had an agreed to the Kyoto protocol committed to agree second commitment protocol and not core pillar of the negotiation had yet to agree to what science required.

The second pillar of the framework consists of comparable for the US. This was core element of the compromise. As everyone knew the US did not ratify the Kyoto protocol and in many ways was not part of the multilateral system to address climate change. A lot of countries expressed series concern about the impacts for the claiming of the US not participating.

In the third pillar was developing country action enabled by technology and finance provided by developed countries. This core compromise was seriously weak. She thought the most difficult and potentially alarming outcome was the threat to the Kyoto protocol. The Kyoto protocol was again the only illegally binding instrument at they had to address climate change. It required aggregate emission target to be set by all develop country parties and then individual targets were established.

Further, she touched on about how all they capture developing countries` positions in the negotiations.

The green climate fund had been established for important new institutions to help developing countries adapt to current impacts of climate and help them deviate from the current high massive development introductory.

However, there was no decision taking how much money would be in those funds. It did refer the $100 billion figure that had been Copenhagen accord. That was far less then both UNEP and World Bank have set was required and significantly less then what the G77 plus China had proposed in terms of what was needed. They proposed 1.5% of developed countries GNP which current levels $600 billion a year. There was a real question about which country`s positions the Cancun agreement reflects.

Just to close, she said that over the last several years they had seen very fears debates about how to address climate. They have seen developing countries` parties very strongly enthusing the need for the equity and the importance of the sustainable development and taking fair and effective approaches to climate. Unfortunately, many developed countries she thought the US was the most prominent among this actors have the role of the existing internationally binding legal instruments and the tempted to replace them with voluntary and pledge base system. Those had significant implications for the future of the multilateral efforts to address climate change.

Questions (Q) and Answers (A) Sessioncancun_q

Q1: Chuck: On the radio suggesting that the weather patterns we had, in the last 2 or 3 months could be leading to the melting ice caps.. Is there is an intersection between weather n climate?
A: I am a not scientist I am unable to answer. But we need to look at the picture over a decade.

Q 2: My question is regarding China: China is building a co generating stations every week increasing amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Has there anything been in Chinese in terms of slowing or using other fuels.
A: when we look at the mission, it is important to look at past present and future and clearly the industrialized countries for the vast majority of the atmosphere. For that, in this century comes from emerging economy. We need to look at present and future and not only past.

In terms of what China is doing, they are doing great deal. After 2008, 2009, they dedicated 17 – 20% f fiscal stimulus package for greener economy. I believe the figure was about 586 million US dollars. I must say upfront, I have spoken to many people and all came back with the same reports, in terms of green technology. Is it sufficient what they did, for the balance is still to be done? Credit is due.


Q3: In view of the substantial funds required for adaptation, failure at the moment any financial organization or developed countries, what consideration if any has UNEP given or others given to tax on international financial transaction as a way of getting funds.
A: After COH has tried to work hard on this, one is climate financing. They set up a financial group, financial ministers primarily, to see how to raise funds that were contained Copenhagen accords. They had brief things with GA and throughout the last year, they came up with reports, right before Cancun opened. That came up challenging and feasible and perhaps more even easily to raise $100 Billion a year. They looked at tax forms, wide variety of financés, etc; they did not come back and recommend the certain type of transactions. As we saw in the Cancun agreements where the money will come from, it is still a to be determined.

About the Panelists:

Cynthia Scharf has served as the principal speechwriter and strategic communication lead for the UN Secretary-General's' Climate Change Support Team since November 2008. She also serves as the Team's communications lead with UN partners, the IPCC, [the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change} international non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. Ms. Scharf is the senior communications officer for the secretariat of the Global Sustainability Panel, which was established by the Secretary-General in August 2010. Prior to her service with the Secretary-General's office, Ms. Scharf served as the speechwriter to the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and as a consultant with the Global Food and the WHO's Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Before joining the UN, she worked in the private sector as well as with several international humanitarian nongovernmental organizations and as a journalist based in Moscow during the fall of the former Soviet Union.

Daniel Shepard is currently the Focal Point for Climate Change and Sustainable Development in the Strategic Communications Division of the UN Department of Public Information (DPI). He is responsible for communications on a wide range of issues that relate to development which promotes economic growth, improves peoples' lives, and protects the environment. From Bali through the Cancun Climate Conference, Mr. Shepard has worked to promote the UN's efforts to address climate change and has coordinated a UN interagency group that works on climate-related communications issues. At present, Mr. Shepard is also working to promote the work of the UN in biodiversity, desertification, the protection of the world's oceans and forests, and in ensuring the success of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. During his ten years with the DPI, Mr. Shepard, in addition to his work on sustainability issues, has also dealt with a variety of topics ranging from the adoption of the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to the problem of overfishing. He has served as editor of the· United Nations Development Program magazine, CHOICES, and has also worked for UNDP on advocacy issues that included small arms and the rebuilding effort after the 2004 tsunami.

Kate Horner is a policy analyst at Friends of the Earth, leading. the organization's work on forest , protection and trade policy, With a focus on ensuring that emerging climate policies lead to real emissions reductions, the protection of human rights and sustainable development. In her forest protection work, Ms. Homer tracks developments in U.S. policy, multilateral environmental agreements and international financial institutions. She has worked closely with indigenous peoples' organizations, local communities, development organizations and economists to advocate for policies that address the real drivers of deforestation in both developed and developing countries, including demand-side measures, forest governance and land tenure reform, as well as policy coherence. In her trade work, Ms. Homer examines how investment provisions undermine environmental protection and sustainable development. She has delivered trade reform policy recommendations to the U.S. Congress, the State Department and the U.S. Trade Representative. She also serves as the environmental representative on the Executive Committee of the Citizens Trade Campaign, a national coalition of environmental, labor, consumer, family farm, religious; and other civil society groups working to reform failed U.S. trade policy. Prior to joining Friends of the Earth in 2006, Ms. Homer held positions as a political campaign manager, a health and labor researcher and as an editor.

* Cevat CIVAN is also Treasurer of the IUMEZUSA.

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