Climate Negotiations At Peril

In a nutshell, Bonn meeting was not productive as SBI could not adopt its agenda and it will have significant impact to COP 19 scheduled at Warsaw, Poland in November 2013.

June 29, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No. -2 June 28- 2013 (Ashad 14, 2070)

The World Bank published a report in November 2012 on 'Turn Down the Heat: Why a 40C Warmer World Must be Avoided' to inform about the impacts and vulnerabilities from a 40C rise in temperature and called for urgent action to safeguard the people and resources from the adverse impacts of climate change. Recently, a report discussed the impacts of such temperature rise on South Asian food and energy security. Similarly, the World Energy Outlook 2012 indicated that global-mean warming above the pre-industrial period would reach to 3.80C by 2100 thereby, severely threatening the existence of human beings and other life-support systems in this planet.

Recent studies predicta 40% probability of world temperature rise exceeding 4°C and a 10% likelihood of temperature change exceeding 5°C above the pre-industrial period by 2100. If that happens, climate vulnerable poor people will be greatly affected and their existence will be at peril. In a 2.50C warmer world, Nepal will face reductions in water availability for food production as early as 2050s. It might be due to a process of deglaciation and increased rate of snow melts. Nepal's NAPA in 2010 estimated that about 1.9 million people are vulnerable from climate-induced disasters. In addition, increasing variability and long-term decrease in water flows will directly affect hydropower generation thereby, accelerating energy insecurity. This predicted vulnerability calls upon Nepal to seriously adapt to climate change.

As I have been mentioning in my previous article in this magazine, 49 LDCs emit about 4 percent of the total GHGs emissions with Nepal's share at less than 0.025 percent. Hence, we should be ready for adaptation, which is equally difficult as is evident from the recent climate-induced disaster in Darchula district.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol (KP) – the international legally-binding instruments – entered into force to reduce GHGs emissions and adapt to climate change impacts. The meetings of the Subsidiary Body (SB) for Implementation (SB) and SB for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) were held in Bonn, Germany from 3 to 14 June 2013. The SBI deals with aspects related to the implementation of the Convention and the Protocol and SBSTA provides scientific and technological advice to implement them. The SBSTA meeting also drafted conclusions and decisions on issues related to REDD+, Nairobi Work Programme and Agriculture for COP 19. But SBI could not negotiate on issues important to us such as climate adaptation, LDC matters, finance etc as Belarus, Russian Federation, and Ukraine did not agree to adopt the agenda. The two weeks’ period was, therefore, a waste of time in the climate negotiation. If SBI agenda item is adopted at Warsaw, it will be difficult to have comprehensive decisions for the benefit of the LDCs. If SBI agenda is not adopted at Warsaw, there is a high possibility that it will affect the preparation of the legally binding instrument by 2015.

Nepal used the June meeting from two approaches: (i) chairing the LDC group of 49 countries; and (ii) sharing what Nepal has done on climate adaptation. The chair of the LDC Group was engaged in coordination, meeting with negotiating blocs, and making statements on behalf of 49 LDCs in plenary sessions. I was engaged in sharing Nepal's efforts on climate adaptation through presentations.

Presentations were made on: (i)NAPA and EbA (Ecosystem-based Adaptation) Projects in Nepalin a special session on Integrating EbA Options into Urban Responses in Asiaduring the 4th Global Forum on Urban Resilience and Adaptation; (ii) UNFCCC Secretariat organized Durban Forum on Capacity Building workshop on building climate resilience in Nepal: integrating climate change into poverty reduction with focus on building capacity for adaptation taking a case of Nepal Climate Change Support Programme, funded by DFID and EU; (iii) enhancing knowledge on EbA at decision making level in the Adaptation Knowledge Day IV, organized by UNEP; and (iv) GIZ organised side-event on National Adaptation Plan (NAP), adaptation costs, and climate finance readiness. In the last event, I highlighted NAP process and LEG developed Technical Guidelines; and Nepal's initiatives on climate change including the NAP process. I urged the developed country Parties to provide adequate funds to replenish the LDC Fund which support NAPA implementation, including the need for linking cities and climate change by promoting EbA to enjoy from ecosystem services.

The LDC Expert Group organized a NAP Expo: Launching of the NAP Process in LDCs on 9 June 2013 at Bonn. The NAP Expo was also addressed by Prakash Mathema, Chair of the LDC Group. I moderated two sessions – country presentation by 4 LDCs, and support to the NAP Process from developed countries, GEF, UN and its specialized agencies.

This June meeting was a new experience for me. The Government of Nepal may wish to strengthen communications, encourage enhanced participation of Asian LDCs, engage more Nepalese, andfurther promote in-country coordination on climate change negotiations. In a nutshell, Bonn meeting was not productive as SBI could not adopt its agenda and it will have significant impact to COP 19 scheduled at Warsaw, Poland in November 2013.

Batu Uprety111.jpg

Batu Uprety

Former Joint-Secretary and Chief of Climate Change Management Division, Ministry of Environment (then), and former Team Leader, National Adaptation Plan (NAP) formulation process. E-mail: upretybk@gmail.com

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