Nepal has been the elected chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Coordination Group for UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process for two years between 2013 and 2014. This group participates in negotiations on UNFCCC process on behalf of 48 LDCs and advocates for the poor and climate vulnerable people.
The science of climate change is clear in that it will continue to happen. The present concern is accelerated change in climate system due to anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) after industrial revolution. Increased events of climate-induced disasters have claimed many lives and properties. If unchecked, they will continue to threaten the very survival of human beings and their life support system. This challenge has to be addressed in a timely and efficient manner.
In 1992, governments agreed to work together to stabilise the global anthropogenic emissions of GHGs by adopting the UNFCCC. In 1997, to achieve the Convention's objectives, Kyoto Protocol (KP) set targets for GHGs emissions reduction by at least 5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2012. Twenty years have passed in making concrete decisions to reduce GHGs emissions and promote climate adaptation including finance, technology, and capacity building. During this period, unseasonal and unusual climate-induced disasters have claimed additional lives and properties at accelerated rates.
The institutional and financial architectures of the Convention provide hopes to address the impacts of climate change to a certain extent. The Parties to the Convention and the KP met 17 and 7 times, respectively, in Copenhagen in 2009, at the political level, including at the level of the Heads of State or Government, to make decisions and take actions to address climate change impacts.
As climate change is happening at an accelerated rate and political and economic interest have increased, climate negotiation is becoming more complex in the recent years. There are two major groups recognised by the Convention for climate negotiation—Annex I Parties (industrialised countries having higher per capita GHGs emissions) and non-Annex I Parties (developing countries). In fact, each issue is finally negotiated between these two groups. In UN practice, there are regional groups, which represent the conventional bodies. Besides these groups, politically negotiating groups, which are formed on the basis of their common interests, actively participate in decision-making. The Convention also recognises the LDCs. These groups meet informally during sessions, exchange information and views, develop and agree on common positions, and negotiate with other groups for the effective implementation of the Convention in order to stabilise GHGs concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
The major groups involved in climate negotiations are: (i) Group of 77 and China, (ii) European Union, (iii) Umbrella Group, and (iv)Environmental Integrity Group. Many LDCs are also the members of the G77 and China. Negotiations start with the adoption of the agenda. Decision is made after intense discussion in the issue-based informal groups. Each negotiating group may meet, as necessary, to agree on group positions before participating in the contact or informal groups or "informal informal." For example, LDCs meet as required by organising internal coordination meetings, agree on group positions, and provide views orally and in writing. In practice, each issue or thematic area is coordinated by a LDC delegate. The designated coordinator speaks on behalf of the LDCs. Parties also may present their views and ideas.
For UNFCCC, LDC Coordination Group was established in 2001 as COP7 made packages of decisions for LDCs (LDC Work Programme, NAPA preparation guidelines, LDC Fund, and LDC Expert Group). Out of 48 LDCs Parties to the Convention, 32 are from Africa and 10 from Asia and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Hence, the coordination is done twice from African LDCs and one each from LDC of Asia and SIDS. Mali, Tanzania, Bangladesh, the Maldives, and Lesotho have coordinated this group. Gambia is serving as the Chair for 2011 and 2012.
Asian LDCs have entrusted Nepal to function as the Chair of the LDCs Coordination Group for 2013-14. They have been looking at our activities closely for the last 4 years. Nepal prepared NAPA within a short time period, accessed about US$ 40 million for its implementation, including from LDC Fund, and accessed over US$ 125 million from the Climate Investment Fund to implement programmes related to climate resilient programmes and the scaling up of renewable energies. In addition, Climate Change Policy and National Framework on Local Adaptation Plan for Action (LAPA) were approved by the government. Similarly Nepal is engaged in preparing the second national communication, assessing the climate technology needs, conducting economic impact assessment of climate change in key sectors (agriculture, water and disaster), and supporting participation in UNFCCC meeting. Furthermore, Nepal organised international and regional conferences and meetings annually from 2009 to April 2012, including the International Conference of Mountain Countries on Climate Change in April 2012, which agreed on the Kathmandu Call for Action. Nepal's participation in the climate negotiation has been effective in recent years.
The roles and responsibilities of the Chair are increasing rapidly. Gambia has initiated a number of activities. Nepal should build on what Gambia has accomplished. It needs a strong group having knowledge on procedure, substance, and language. Nepal has six months to learn, prepare, and take the very prestigious seat of the Chair. The Chair will lead, participate, and speak on behalf of 48 countries. Hence, it is of utmost importance to have a balanced representation. It will provide opportunities to position Nepal in the UNFCCC process. It is high time to start homework and establish ground rules to make this coordination effective, efficient, and transparent and to strengthen the LDC group as a major negotiating block on UNFCCC process.
(Vice-Chair, LEG (LDC Expert Group) to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change)