Cancun climate summit: What’s in a name?

Christine Campeau at a Caritas hosted Holy Mass for climate justice. It was a side event to the climate summit in Cancun. Credit: Alberto Arciniega/ Caritas Mexico

By Christine Campeau, Climate Change and Food Security Advisor

Caritas has always worked to serve the poor and most vulnerable people around the world. However ‘who’ those vulnerable people are has come under question at the climate negotiations here in Cancun.

Certain developing countries feel that they are being left out of the group and, as a result, risk losing out on their share of the limited climate funding available that has been made available.

Some countries have challenged the difference between the Bali Action Plan classification of vulnerable countries which includes Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Least Developed Countries (LCDs), and African countries and the list that is found in Article 4.8 of the UNFCCC which includes a much more comprehensive list of eligible countries.

Under the Article 4.8 of the UNFCCC list, a rich country such as Saudi Arabia could technically apply to access adaptation funding. This is disturbing since ‘the most vulnerable’ are most vulnerable not only due to a geographical position but also because they lack the financial and technological resources to weather the climate storms.

They have little or no ability to successfully address and implement what is needed to adapt to the immediate effects of climate change. As a result, while the G77 countries deliberate over who’s in and who’s out of the vulnerability group, donor countries are free to sit back and wait before moving the process forward.

This prevents progress in the negotiations and should be dealt with among the developing countries in a smaller group mandated to sort out this issue. For now, I plead that we do not make COP16 a contest of vulnerability. Climate change compounds the poverty that exists in most developing countries and we need to focus on prioritizing funds to vulnerable countries in accordance to the urgency of their situations.

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Filed under Advocacy, Climate Change, Food, High-Level Meetings and Events, Latin America, Mexico

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