Negotiators have been meeting twice a year to effectively implement the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for nearly two decades now, but the temperature is rising and extreme weather events are continuing to claim life, livelihood and property, particularly of the poor people.
Adopted on 9 May 1992 in New York, Parties to the UNFCCC decided the Berlin Mandate during the first session of the Conference of the Parties (CoP1) in March-April 1995 in Berlin. The Mandate focuses, inter alia, on updating and making available national inventories of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases, and formulate and implement national and regional programmes to mitigate climate change impacts and facilitate adequate adaptation to climate change. Several decisions have been made to implement the Convention during the last 19 years of Convention’s entry into force.
In 1997 (CoP3), Parties adopted the Kyoto Protocol that obliges the developed country Parties to reduce GHGs emissions by 5.2 percent below 1990 level. The CoP7 (2001) made a package of decisions to support LDCs (LDC Work Programme, guidelines for NAPA preparation, establishment of LDC Fund and LDC Expert Group) to adapt to climate change impacts. In 2005, Kyoto Protocol entered into force to reduce GHGs emission. Parties adopted Bali Action Plan in 2007 to decide on shared vision, enhanced actions on mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity building. In 2009, climate change got high priority in the international agenda as Heads of State or Government of about 120 Parties met at Copenhagen to decide on future of global poors, livelihoods and resources affected by climate change. They agreed to generate USD 100 billion annually by 2020. In 2010, Parties made important decisions on adaptation, finance and technology. In 2011, Parties decided to start a process of making a protocol to address emerging threat of climate change by 2020 and formed an Ad Hoc Working Group on Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP). The 19th session (CoP19) will be held in Warsaw from 11 to 22 November 2013 and Parties are expected to decide on roadmap to Paris (CoP21).
Nepal has participated in all CoPs and meeting of the Subsidiary Bodies (SBI and SBSTA) including other climate change meetings since 1992. Nepal has influenced decision on non-renewable biomass methodology to benefit from Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in 2007 in Bali. In 2009, Nepal drew the attention of the international community on the impacts of climate change in the Himalayas, and started 'Mountain Initiative (MI)'. The International Conference of Mountain Countries on Climate Change in April 2012 in Kathmandu decided the Kathmandu Call for Action (KCA) on MI. Nepal's in-country initiatives and regional and international conferences on climate change since 2007 also contributed to be a Chair of the LDC Coordination Group for 2013 and 2014. Nepal has now two responsibilities – leading 49 LDCs and raising national concerns to benefit from UNFCCC process. National interests and priorities might be inconsistent with other LDCs. If Nepal does not raise impact of climate change in the mountain and move forward KCA, three years of government efforts will be of no use. It is likely that Nepal's concerns will not be raised till early 2015.
Nepal established the Core Negotiating Team (CNT) on UNFCCC process in early 2012 to ensure multi-sectoral delegation (at least at diplomatic, legal and subject specialist levels). Nepal started preparing country concerns, ideas and inputs for CoPs since 2009. This year, Clean Energy Nepal has prepared the information note and resource kit on UNFCCC negotiation for Nepali participants attending the CoP19. This note provides key issues on: (i) adaptation, loss and damage, and agriculture; (ii) ADP – pre-2020 and post-2020 agreement; (iii) equity; (iv) finance; (v) low carbon economic development strategy, technology development and transfer, and capacity building; and (vi) mitigation (REDD+).
Two separate pre-CoP19 interactions were organised in Kathmandu on 30 and 31 October 2013. The NGO organised interaction focused on Nepal's issues to be raised in Warsaw, and Government-organised consultation focused on LDC Group coordination approach and strategies to influence the climate negotiation. It seems that government formed support team and CNT did not met and discussed on national issues and priorities to be raised during CoP19.
UNFCCC negotiation is between and amongst governments and climate change focal point should drive the process and engage more government officials in the national team. It helps to build and strengthen national capacity, translate understanding and knowledge into national policies, implement climate change activities and benefit from the UNFCCC process as in the past.
UNFCCC negotiation is more political and economy-driven. Nepal's CNT and previous delegation from 2009 onwards recognised representations at diplomatic, legal and technical levels, and it requires up-scaling, at least, till 2015 Paris Conference.
Nepal has twin roles of negotiating on issues from the interests of LDC Group and a sovereign country. The major concerns for Warsaw would, inter alia, be to coordinate effectively the interests of 49 LDCs, protect national interests, keep partners at equidistance, and strengthen Nepal's capacity in general, and government capacity in particular, on climate negotiation to benefit from UNFCCC process.