ECA Press Release No. 106/2010
CANCUN, Mexico, 13 December 2010 (ECA) – Last-minute agreements at the just-ended Cancun UN Climate Change Conference have been greeted with enthusiasm by negotiators and participants who now see a real possibility for some kind of a legally binding instrument being adopted in Durban, South Africa next year, according to the Information and Communication Service (ICS) of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
Citing key aspects of the agreements arrived at in the Mexican sea side resort, ICS reports that after the post-Copenhagen pessimism, the mood among negotiators and participants was generally upbeat, heightening expectations for the next conference, COP17 billed for Durban South Africa towards the end of 2011.
The Conference adopted series of decisions, called the Cancun Agreements, setting governments on the move toward a low-emissions future and support enhanced action on climate change in the developing world.
Most significantly for African countries, the Parties agreed to set up the Green Climate Fund intended to raise and disburse $100bn a year by 2020 to protect developing countries against climate impacts and assists them with low-carbon development.
The fund would be steered by a board of 24 members chosen evenly from developed and developing nations. It will initially use the World Bank as a trustee – as the US, EU and Japan had demanded – while giving oversight to a new body balanced between developed and developing countries.
On the eve of the landmark decision, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Mr. Abdoulie Janneh urged the Parties to use at least 60 percent of the fast-track fund meant for financing climate change adaption and mitigation activities in developing countries to kick start the future African Green Fund.
Speaking at a panel discussion on progress on the Green Fund project, Mr. Janneh argued that since “Africa’s ability to deal with impacts of climate change depends essentially on the availability of financial resources, the mobilization of resources for the African Green Fund should be done in a sustainable manner, bearing in mind that it cannot be a one-year affair”.
“We want resources that are sustainable. That is why ECA will work closely with the Green Fund through the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) to ensure that it succeeds”, Mr. Janneh said. He made it clear that ACPC, a joint programme of the ECA, the African development Bank and the African Union Commission has a clear mandate to strengthen capacities in Africa to deal with climate change challenges.
Mr. Janneh led the UNECA delegation to the conference where the newly launched African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) played a leading role in projecting African institutions represented at the two-week long exhibition at the Cancumesse grounds. Occupying booth No. 2, ACPC distributed documents and CDs, fliers and post cards on climate change initiatives on the environment, agriculture and sustainable development in Africa.
“As we are among the few African institutions exhibiting here, our booth has been a key attraction for negotiators, government representatives, NGOs and civil society organisations in Cancun”, said Ms Sophie Denekew who manned the booth throughout the Conference.
Denekew said she literally engaged hundreds of participants with information on climate change issues in Africa and booked future encounters between different stakeholders, ECA and ACPC officials.
After two weeks of negotiations in Cancun, countries agreed to launch a series of institutions and initiatives aimed at reducing the impacts of climate change among the developing countries, especially the poor and the vulnerable.
The texts adopted recognise that deeper cuts in carbon emissions are needed, although they did not go as far as establishing a clear mechanism for achieving the pledges countries have made, as developing countries had wanted.
The text on emission cuts only calls for “urgent action” to cap temperature rises at no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels and for work to be undertaken on a second period of the Kyoto Protocol to ensure there is no gap when it expires in 2012, but the deal does not oblige countries to be part of the new round.
The Kyoto Protocol makes no demands on emerging economies to curb emissions, and China persistently refused to be subjected to a treaty, although India said it would at least consider binding action in the future, a move that surprised many because throughout the conference it had toed the Chinese line.
Although the Cancun decisions fall short of the comprehensive agreement that many countries wanted at last year’s Copenhagen summit and continued to seek in Cancun, African negotiators worked for and obtained the setting up of a fund to administer assistance to developing countries, especially those in Africa.
It is a well known fact African countries are already suffering more floods and drought due to rising temperatures, even though their combined share of carbon emissions is insignificant.
For the first time, actions by developing countries to reduce emissions have been officially recognised under the multilateral process, as a registry will henceforth be set up to record and match developing country mitigation actions for financial and technological support from industrialised countries. Developing countries will be required to publish progress reports every two years, according to the agreements.
The Parties agreed to continue negotiations with the aim of completing their work and ensuring there is no gap between the first and second commitment periods of the treaty, as African negotiators had demanded.
The conference also established a new Cancun Adaptation Framework that would allow for better 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.
It is also significant that Parties agreed to boost action to curb emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries by establishing a technology mechanism with a Technology Executive Committee and Climate Technology Centre and Network to increase technology cooperation to support action on adaptation and mitigation.
Just when participants began to fear another fiasco in Cancun, the wordings of the initial draft on the Kyoto Protocol were amended to accommodate concerns of Russia and Japan. The adopted text leaves them a possible route to escape extension of the Kyoto Protocol’s legally binding emission cuts, while strongly implying that the protocol has an effective future – a key demand of developing countries, according to analysts.
The Cancun Climate Change Conference encompassed the sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP) and the sixth Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP), as well as the thirty-third sessions of both the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), and the fifteenth session of the AWG-KP and thirteenth session of the ad hoc working group and the long term cooperative action (AWG-LCA).
The next Conference of the Parties is scheduled to take place in South Africa, from Nov. 28 to December 9, 2011. ECA and ACPC are planning an Africa Day to further mobilize support behind the positions and concerns of the continent, as part of their support for the African common position.
An Africa Pavilion will also be established to give space to all African countries who may wish to hold targeted side events at COP 17.
ECA Information and Communication Service
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Fax: +251-11-551 03 65
ECA Press Release No. 98/2010
CANCUN, Mexico, December 4, 2010 (ECA) – The Chair of the Climate Change Adaptation Fund on late Friday announced that the fund is currently accepting proposals, although it is yet to meet the demands of some 20 project documents awaiting financing at the fund.
Addressing participants at a side event on the accreditation process for National Implementing Entities (NIEs), Farrukh Iqbal Khan expressed uncertainty about the fund’s ability to meet the demands for the 20 proposals saying it is still in a learning process.
The Information and Communication Service of the Economic Commission for Africa quotes Mr. Khan as saying that the Adaptation Fund is the “first direct access climate funding project in the world, needing new ideas and new support”.
Mr. Assize Toure, Centre du Suivi Ecologique (CSE), presented Senegal’s experience with NIE accreditation that was completed in March 2010. He said that as a National Implementing Entity, Senegal had been empowered to switch from a “passive victim” to a dynamic actor in the fight against climate change impacts.
Toure said that the CSE was working across sectors and cross-cutting environmental issues, highlighting a project on coastal erosion in vulnerable areas, which is likely to become part of Senegal ’s National adaptation strategy.
ECA Information and Communication Service
P.O. Box 3001
Tel: 251 11 5445098
Fax: +251-11-551 03 65
At key side events where focused discussions on climate change technical issues are taking place and during one-on-one encounters with various stakeholders, the Centre received warm welcome and high-level interest from potential partners who said they had been waiting for a Centre like ACPC as their entry-point to engaging Africa.
The Centre was again introduced yesterday at a well-attended side event jointly organized by UN regional economic commissions on energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy security. The side event was organized by the Swedish Government, one of the earliest and staunchest supporters of ACPC, and chaired by Ms Helen Clark, the Administrator of UNDP.
Reporting on energy programmes supported by the various UN economic commissions, Mr. Jan Kubis, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Europe said that “the Africa Climate Policy Centre based at ECA will serve as the knowledge hub for climate information for development (ClimDev) and provide analytical support to Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and national governments.”
He cited the provision of analysis on low carbon development in Africa CDM, carbon finance opportunities to support energy projects, regional cooperation and integration on matters related to energy among areas where ACPC could add value to knowledge.
Mr. Kubis also presented regional commissions for Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific. On Europe, he recalled that the UNECE undertakes activities to assist countries in enhancing their energy efficiency, promoting the formation of energy efficiency market in the countries so that cost-effective investments can provide a self-financing method of reducing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
UNECE also assists countries to address the financial, technical and policy barriers to energy efficiency and renewable energy investments, Kubis noted.
He said that the UNECE Committee on Sustainable Energy is initiating a dialogue within the Energy Security Forum among senior executives from major oil and natural gas companies, energy producers, and leading financial institutions.
It would be recalled that ECA’s work also includes analytical studies to guide policy formulation, capacity building and providing platforms for experience sharing and knowledge networking in activities such as scaling up rural energy access in Africa, supporting actions to promote the sustainability of Africa’s power sector, promoting the adoption of renewable energy technologies, exploring policy and regulatory issues concerning biofuels development in Africa.
The regional commission also provides platforms to broaden and deepen policy dialogue on energy issues, and supports regional initiatives such as the Programme for infrastructure development in Africa ( PIDA).
As the Secretariat of UN-Energy Africa, ECA supports Africa’s energy agenda through the Africa-regional coordination mechanism (RCM).
Earlier, participants at the side event had listened to an inspiring presentation on the Moroccan experience by Ms Aminata Benkhadra, Minister of Mines, Water and Environment. Experiences from Argentina and Nepal were also shared.
Mr. Tariq Banuri announced the forthcoming Focused Political Document, with thematic focuses on a Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty reduction; and the institutional framework for sustainable development.
He said that the document had been commissioned by the UN General Assembly and would be launched sometime mid next year, with the “highest level of participation, including Heads of State and Government”.
The main thrust of Banuri’s presentation is the notion that economic development in the world has entered a critical period marked by a “race between growth and catastrophe because “we cannot live without growth and we cannot live long with current the growth pattern”.
Issued by the ECA Information and Communication Service
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Tel: 251 11 5445098
Fax: +251 11 5510365