By Milton López Tarabochia
Servindi, April 12, 2014.- A workshop on international negotiations between the blocks of countries that make up the COP 20 to be held in Lima in December this year, was carried out on April 3 and 4 in the offices of the Citizens Movement for Climate Change (Movimiento Ciudadano por el Cambio Climático, MOCICC).
The workshop is part of a Group COP20 Peru Strengthening Capacities Programme and was coordinated by Wael Hmaidan, director of Climate Action Network (CAN), Enrique Naurtua Konstantinidis, CAN representative for Latin America, and Juan Carlos Soriano, manager of the website 350.org.
The overall objective was to determine the dynamics of international treaties and negotiations, to facilitate collective advocacy in political decision making related to climate change issues.
Opening day: April 3rd
Several blocks of countries seeking to negotiate their interests and perspectives will converge in the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC. One such blocks is the "less developed" countries (LDC), a definition used by the United Nations. Another is the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). The BASIC group - comprised of Brazil, South Africa, India and China - articulates the emerging economies. Other blocks are the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and the Independent Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean (AILAC).
The official COP and the other
The main body of the Conference of Parties is the plenary session, in which all countries gather to hear the voice of their representatives, either independently or on behalf of an international block.
In addition to the Nations, observers from NGOs, social institutions, committees of youth, women, indigenous peoples and the private sector, among others, will participate. Observers have no voice or vote and attend to do what the name suggests: to observe the negotiations. The only possible influence over political decisions is prior to the conference, as delegates from each country attend with predefined agendas.
As in almost every social event, human beings tend to integrate better informally. The same applies to the COP, where so called Informal Contact Group meetings are scheduled. In these meetings, delegates from each country talk "in the corridors" with other representatives, to exchange and agree their positions on particular topics. These meetings are often crucial for decision-making processes.
United Nations Pentagonito
The COP will seek to define a series of agreements leading to the development of a draft that could be ultimately approved at the next COP 21, to be held in Paris in late 2015.
From 1 to 12 December, the headquarters of the General Command of the Army in Lima, known as "The Pentagonito" (little Pentagon) will not be of Peru but the world. As the host country, Peru will have the role of mediator and facilitator. To do this, it must relate politically with the attending nations before the conference.
As in previous conferences, there will be parallel event to the COP20, the People's Summit, to be held from December 9 to 12 at the Exhibitions Park (Parque de la Exposición). This forum will bring together civil society groups committed to the issue of climate change at the national and international level. Over three thousand organizations will come to Lima to participate in the alternative summit.
The COP20 is much more than a way to raise social awareness about climate change issues. It is a space to discuss and reinforce sustainable public policies. This opportunity should be taken to exert strong international pressure to help transform the current development model that harms the environment.
The global and Peruvian agendas can converge to pressure governments to prioritize the fight against climate change, substantially and not merely declarative.
Final day: April 4
For Wael Hmaidan, director of the CAN, all countries must reach a binding commitment, but should be differentiate their responsibilities. If we divide the question between "developed" and "underdeveloped", the confusion is compounded because the block of "developed" countries range from the United States to Greece and the "underdeveloped" from China to Haiti.
Hmaidan spoke about the interests of international blocks participating in the COP20. For example, BASIC, ALBA and others argue that the distribution of responsibility lies primarily in developed countries. On the other hand, groups like AILAC, where Peru is member, support a more moderate discourse and opt for determining differentiated responsibilities. Meanwhile, the island countries block is the one that demands more ambitious commitments, because they are the most vulnerable to climate change.
The great dilemma to analyze the issue of climate change is that the root cause is not only pollution and lack of recycling. This is about a paradigm shift of the energy matrix and the global production model. According to Hmaidan, "eliminating carbon emissions and changing the energy matrix with renewable sources can solve the problem. It is not a matter of technology or money, but of political will. There are studies that suggest that the transition needed, is possible without economic collapse", he concluded.
The goal to establish a Green Fund to fight climate change is US$ 100 billion.
Costa Rica, a non-industrialized country, pledged to be carbon neutral by 2021.
There are no sanctions for non-compliant countries. For example, Canada has not fulfilled its commitments and just received a letter from the UN Secretary General.
Translated from Spanish to IWGIA and Servindi by Luis Manuel Claps.