The 23rd Conference of Youth (COP23) will be the first ever COP that will be hosted by a Pacific Nation which is the Nation of Fiji making this year’s COP also known as the Pacific COP. The nation of Fiji is only a small island nation with a population of less than 1 million inhabitants. Although Fiji emits a negligible amount of CO2, they are the first to feel the effects of Climate Change such as rising sea levels, increasing intensity of cyclones, intrusion of salt beds in aquifers and much more.
Thus, there are a few specific things that COP23 are setting up as a yardstick for success, one of which is to construct a proper mechanism for the Facilitative Dialogue (FD) or what is now known as the Talanoa Dialogue (TD), a preamble to the Global Stocktake (GST) that acts as a benchmark for countries to analyse and progress into more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The next main objective is to create a mechanism for the mobilisation of the Paris Agreement in the year 2020. Although COP23 will not hold any major UNFCCC event such as the TD of COP24, the importance of COP23 lies on how it lays the foundation for the mechanism of the TD and the Paris Agreement (PA).
During the CAN session, speakers from the Global South and the Global North gave their input on how the main agendas can manifest into a successful outcome in regards to finance, education and enhanced action. In regards to Finance, Lucile Dufour from Réseou Action Climat France stresses on how the climate finance is crucial in the UNFCCC process and how it is crucial to enhance solidarity between developed and developing nations. However, the 100 billion dollar promised by the developed countries to provide climate finance is still far from reaching the value by 2020, as promised among other issues such as transparency and the discussion of new areas in climate finance.
From the education side, Yongsong Chen from Green Education Center China stresses on the importance of green education towards the public especially the youth to provide a global impact against combating climate change. Only through green education shall people be able to improve their own lives towards a greener path progressing from the bottom up. He proposes to use policy and international conventions which liberates into teaching materials according to each country’s situations especially on climate change issues.
Adrian Martimez, from the Asociacion la Ruta del Clima, talked on why civil society participation is important in international negotiations and the national level in the implementation of climate actions. The main concept of public participation comes from the convention text itself. It has to come education, access to information and training to be an informed participant. He mentions how public participation has developed over the past COPs as public participation topics have become more in depth. He also explains on how the GST should include public participation and that there are much more void to exploit from where we are now in the decision making process especially in the national level such as governmental programmes, budget allocation, prioritization etc.
The closing remarks was given to the Genevieve Jiva representing the Pacific Island CAN (PICAN). She mentions on how she had seen the devastating effects of climate change how she lived through a category 5 cyclone. She enlightened us on how Fiji resorting to 100% renewable would not be enough to tackle climate change. She added that at the Pacific COP there must be a recognition of increased urgency and recognition and lock fossil fuel in the ground and move towards a safe and just renewable energy and limiting temperature increase to only 1.5 degrees celsius.
To summarise, the success of the Pacific COP looks like;
- Strong support for COP23 and COP24 Presidencies to take this forwarded next year,
- Avoid a negotiated outcome,
- Clarity on active participation of non-party stakeholder, which is through the submissions of inputs through science, impact assessments, technology etc and the inclusion to participate in technical discussions, and
- Consensus on purpose of the TD which highlights both the need for enhanced action as well as the opportunity and allow third discussion questions (how do we get there) should identify tangible impact and meaningful actions that countries can take forward to enhance.
CAN hopes to push negotiators to insure that the Pacific COP will carry the Talanoa spirit in hoped that we can achieve what have been pledged in the Paris Agreement. The seas will be rough but if we take care of each other, we will reach the rainbow on the other side of the storm.
Written by Azam
Edited by Varun