by Christine Campeau
Greetings from the UNFCCC intersessional informal consultations in Bonn, Germany. Today marks the first day of what will be three weeks of formal negotiations – beginning here at Bonn III and continuing through to the first part of the seventh session in Bangkok at the end of September to early October, 2009.
Now that the inputs have been provided by the Parties and incorporated into the text, the main objective of this new phase of work is to begin trimming down the current 200+ page document into a more workable size. The good news is that what is needed in order to have a solid legal text in time for Copenhagen can realistically be achieved. We have witnessed it in the past with the Kyoto Protocol, in which approximately 180 pages was whittled down to 28 pages a matter of 6 months.
Another reason for optimism is that a large portion of the current text is repetitive, it lacks structure and it has several parallel issues all of which can be streamlined with straightforward editing measures. However, due to a bit of misinformation, many delegates have showed up without reading the text in full and feel completely unprepared to debate the language. Despite this mishaps, this should not be a reason to not move forward with the process.
An additional expectation from Bonn III is to set the agenda for the rest of this week and hopefully, for the work that needs to be done in Bangkok. A technocrat attending the meeting said “the text is messy because we’ve made it messy… now we just need to clean it back up.”
Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this can be accomplished in a timely manner without sacrificing the most vital issues. We need to ensure that the priorities of the most vulnerable people and countries are salvaged in the negotiating text for the duration until Copenhagen.
Floriana Polito reports on the panel discussion on human rights and climate change at the Human Rights Council in Geneva
Goodbye Bonn! Governments have just concluded two weeks of negotiations in Bonn (1-12 June) with the goal of moving closer to a new set of agreements that should be finalized in Copenhagen at COP15 in December 2009. Despite efforts to reach a consensus, many issues remain unresolved, including emission reduction targets and mitigation both for developed and developing countries, financial assistance from industrialized countries for adaptation to climate change in poorer nations, technology transfer and capacity building, etc. Moreover, what still remains weak in the negotiation process is a clear and strong link to the human rights implications of human-induced climate changes and an indication on how the new agreement could incorporate the already existing UN Human Rights mechanisms to protect and realize the rights of the most poor and vulnerable people.
by Christine Campeau
After a six a.m. start and a 5hrs bus ride through the “warm heart of Africa”, we finally reached our destination of the day: the Chitseko Village. As part of the Mangochi Diocese, this area lies near the southern tip of Lake Malawi and is strung between the main lakeshore road and the Shire River.
Following a warmhearted welcome of song and dance, the community leaders explained to us that not only do they struggle with severe droughts but that the composition of their land is one that does not retain water. As a result, the Chitseko community suffers from malnutrition and poor food security. Continue reading
By Christine Campeau, Caritas Delegate
Our Climate Change group in Malawi had a very full agenda yesterday in order to prepare for our Voices of the South video connection to Bonn, Germany. This groundwork was done in order for our Southern members to make their ‘call for Climate Justice‘ directly to those present at the UNFCCC negotiations in Bonn, Germany.
By Christine Campeau
This morning launched the official start of the Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Workshop: a meeting that brought together 69 participants from 23 countries (10 African, 3 Asian, and 4 Latin American and 5 European countries) speaking over 12 different languages.
The opening speeches began with a word from Bishop Remi Ste Marie, the President of Caritas Malawi. He spoke about the droughts that hit the whole of Malawi from 2001-2002, the dry spell in 2006 that affected 5 districts and the shift from dry spells to floods that, once again, affected another 3 districts throughout 2007-2008. These events lead to massive food shortages and the displacement of people into camps.
Father Frederic D’Souza, Caritas India; Firmin Adjahossou; and Sr. Aine Hughes, Caritas South Africa
by Christine Campeau, Caritas delagate at the UN in Geneva
Within minutes of checking into my hotel for the Malawi Climate Change meeting, I was greeted by Sr. Aine Hughes from Caritas South Africa.
She then introduced me to Firmin Adjahossou, a member of the Caritas/SECAM Working Group. One of Mr. Adjahossou’s main responsibilities is to link African Church Leaders with the experts and leaders of local communities in order to develop strategies aimed at educating people about the impact of the climate change on their daily lives. Mr. Adjahossou noted that a major challenge of his work is that most people do not yet make the causal link between climate change and the negative effects they are experiencing in areas such as farming.
By Philippe Wealer, Caritas Luxembourg
United States of America is among the largest emitters of greenhouses gases.
In 1992 the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) came to the fore. As most UN documents, this has so far not become a legally binding text for the member states of this supranational organization.
As a reaction, parties came up with the Kyoto Protocol which has put a price to greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions in 1997. This document in turn has not yet been ratified by the US. Ten years later the US government has issued the Climate Security Act, which essentially has been serving to reflect the Kyoto Protocol’s concepts within the country’s domestic ghg trading policies, whilst at the same time effectively ignoring the former.
by Floriana Polito
Meeting in front of the entrance of the Acora Hotel in Bonn with Philippe from Caritas Luxembourg and Francis from Caritas Bangladesh. Another day of frenetic negotiations and side-events organized by our NGOs colleagues are waiting for us. The tram, on the road to the Conference Centre, has become our “favorite” daily briefing venue where we share our thoughts on the ongoing climate change talks and where we organize our daily work plan. Our friends and partners from CIDSE, Cliona, Leah and Roeland travelled back to Brussels yesterday, but we are constantly in touch to decide the strategy, exchange the latest news on which governmental delegation or regional group said what.
Francis Atul Sarker in Bonn
By Francis Atul Sarker, Caritas Bangladesh
I’m here at climate change talks in Bonn trying to persuade government negotiators to think seriously about some low-tech solutions that poor countries like my own, Bangladesh, need to be able to deal with changing weather patterns brought about by climate change.
Hopefully, I’ll also gain an overview of how these negotiations work so that Caritas Bangladesh will be able to influence future climate change talks.
Climate change is a priority for Caritas in Bangladesh because we’re living with its consequences every day. Bangladesh is a low-lying country, which is prone to cyclones and severe weather. Just last week Cyclone Aila hit areas where we work.
By Philippe Wealer, Caritas Luxembourg
188 days, 17 hours, 15 minutes and 32 seconds left until Copenhagen, it says on several electronic boards in the ‘Maritim’. Anyone entering the hotel where the ‘Bonn Talks’ are taking place from 01.-12. June has to undergo the same safety procedures as in an airport.
Commercial internet sites are offering rooms for 210 Euro per night, thus nuancing delegations’ facilities to accede, roughly depending on whether they are from industrialized countries, less developed countries or non-governmental organizations. Caritas delegates are staying in an area without such hotels at the other side of town.