UNFCCC « Climate Equity

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Designing the Green Climate Fund: So much disagreement, so little time …

19. September 2011,

So much disagreement, so little time: With three out of four scheduled meetings of the Transitional Committee (TC) tasked with designing the new Green Climate Fund (GCF) now completed after the recent one in Geneva, severe differences remain primarily, although not exclusively, between the 25 developing and 15 developed member countries about form and functions of the Fund. This despite the fact that some progress and convergence of opinions on some important matters is emerging, such as that funding decisions should be driven by and consistent with developing countries’ own national climate and development plans. However, the points of divergence and disagreement are too many and too fundamental in nature to simply hope for a rapid alignment or quick compromise between the TC members.

Given that there are just two full days of negotiations in the 4th TC Meeting in Cape Town on October 16th and 17th and a mere four weeks of behind-the-scenes hackling and drafting left to bridge that divide, it is hard to agree with the optimistic assessment of UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres that the TC “is now fully on track to conclude the design of the Fund for the approval by the UNFCCC’s Conference of the Parties in Durban” in late November. The road to Durban remains bumpy, and TC members have little time to cover a lot of distance. (more…)

From Anticipation to Confusion and Delay: The First Design Meeting for the Green Climate Fund

4. March 2011,

When the Parties in Cancun agreed to set up a global Green Climate Fund (GCF) and tasked a new Transitional Committee (TC) of experts to meet by March 2011 for the first time to get to work on designing the new global climate fund, this was hailed as one of the most important concrete outcomes of the Cancun Agreements. Observers also noticed with hope that the TC would have a majority of its 40 members (namely 25 of them) come from developing countries.  This, so the expectation would ensure that the new Green Climate Fund would be more needs-based and recipient-country driven than is the case with most of the existing climate financing instruments, and less guided by industrialized countries’ demands as primary fund contributors.  Developing countries, having fought so hard before and in Cancun for the Green Climate Fund, seemed eager and excited to get to work quickly…. (more…)

Gender Coherence at the UN — An Action Plan to Combat Climate Change

29. January 2011,

According to Michelle Bachelet, the former Chilean President and now the Executive Director of UN Women, the UN’s new agency promoting women’s rights and their full participation in global politics, “Women’s strength, women’s industry, women’s wisdom are humankind’s greatest untapped resource.” And in her first 100-day work plan as head of the new entity, she has put one big issue front and center on the agenda: promoting coherence with respect to gender equality and gender awareness within the UN system and its processes.  A good starting point for this endeavour: the UNFCCC and its executive director, Christiana Figueres… (more…)

“Challenging, but feasible,….”

9. November 2010,

…. this is the condensed conclusion of the final report – recently released — of the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing (AGF), which was tasked with trying to find ways to raise US$100 billion per year by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation actions in developing countries.  This number — far less than what many experts believe is really needed — was the sort of political compromise, the lowest common financial denominator, leaders came up with at last year’s international climate negotiations in Copenhagen. 

Just a few short weeks before the international climate negotiations head into the next big round of  talks at the COP16 in Cancun, Mexico, the panel hopes that their guardedly forward-looking assessment — it would be too optimistic to call it optimistic — on how the long-term climate funding promised in the Copenhagen Accord can be pieced together, might move global climate talks forward by securing. if not a comprehensive climate deal, so at least a financing package. 

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Climate Talks in Tianjin: Will China Assume a High or Low Profile?

1. October 2010,

On the road from Copenhagen to Cancun, climate negotiators from around the world will meet in Tianjin, China, from October 4th to October 9th for a last round of negotiations prior to the next COP in Mexico at the end of November.

ClimatEquity asks Chinese climate expert Yu Jie, who has participated in UNFCCC negotiations and COPs since 2004, about her expectations for Tianjin and Cancun.

CLIMATEQUITY: What do you expect will happen during the UNFCCC talks in Tianjin? Will we see any progress? Will climate finance be one area where there might be some high expectation for Tianjin and Cancun? What is the Chinese position on climate financing resources?

YU JIE: At the last session in August in Bonn, the parties in the working group on long term cooperative action (AWG LCA) finally agreed on the new chair’s text to work on. Currently, this text with 70 pages will have to be cut down to more manageable size, although it will be an extremely though job to remove hundreds of brackets, particularly when the thread to connect these pieces is missing. This missing thread is strong political will which in reality, seems to have been sapped by the domestic legislative process in the United States. Therefore, I agree with the view that climate finance could be an area where a substantial result in Cancun seems possible. Tianjin will then be one of the stops to build consensus towards Cancun.

The Chinese government holds the same position as the G77 on finance, but in contrast to many developing countries, it is pretty neutral on issues related to finance such as the debate who should govern a Global Green Fund. On providing resources for financing, China thinks they should come from a global carbon tax, rather than from carbon market proceeds.  (more…)

Transparency in Climate Finance: Gaining Global Ground in Geneva?

3. September 2010,

One might disagree over sources, amounts, governance or beneficiaries, but nobody seriously involved in global climate talks doubts that climate finance, especially how to secure the long-term funding needed for migration and adaptation globally, is — to speak with the words of UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres — “the central propeller that drives climate change action”

So, the recent initiative of the Mexican and Swiss governments to convene a two day meeting of  high-level government representatives from 46 countries in Geneva to discuss the sources and governance structure of long-term climate finance in order to prepare the ground (mostly through the building of trust via open dialogue — under the Chatham House Rule) for a far-reaching and binding climate finance agreement at the COP 16 end of November is commendable.  Talk they must, the more open and “out-of-the-box” the better, but the buck (in form of some vague commitments of  future funding some time, somehow)  cannot stop there. 

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Bonn Climate Talks: Basically, Busted from the Beginning…

31. July 2010,

On Monday, the climate negotiations go into their next round toward the COP 16 in Cancun, when UNFCCC delegates come together in Bonn.  But the hopes of those expecting a boon in talks for a 2012 post-Kyoto climate regime are likely to be busted.  Already before the meeting starts, it seems certain that the results will be minimal — at best. Turnout of negotiators, in the midst of vacation season, is expected to be low.  Even lower are observers’ expectations: Basically, the only joint approach currently thinkable is one blockading further progress in emissions cuts, in which the industrialized countries and the largest emerging market countries operating as BASIC group (Brazil, India, China and South Africa) seem to be, sadly, in agreement…. 

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Climate Finance Arrives in Mexico’s Domestic Debate

30. July 2010,

This entry was written by Janne Rohe, who works at the Heinrich Boell Foundation’s Regional Office for Mexico, Centralamerica and the Caribbean.

Climate finance has played an important role in the ongoing debates within climate change negotiations and is one of the relevant issues to be discussed at COP 16. Yet the debate has focused so far more on donor than on recipient countries.

Although in Mexico climate finance has been a popular topic at governmental level and for the Mexican delegation within UNFCCC negotiations, the international debate has not yet reached all sectors and local agendas in the country. This is why the Mexican NGO Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental (Mexican Center of Environmental Law) in coordination with the World Resources Institute (WRI), Oxfam Mexico and the Mexican Office of the Heinrich Boell Stiftung (HBS) organized a two-day workshop “Financing the change, without changing the climate” in Mexico City in mid July. Actors from civil society, the private sector and the academic field participated on this occasion and learned about recent international negotiations, finance mechanisms and institutions, open challenges, criteria for a possible agreement and financial options for Mexico. The discussions during the workshop mainly reflected the discourse on the national level. (more…)

The UN and Women’s Equality: A New Beginning?

9. July 2010,

It has taken the 192 member states of the United Nations a little while (what, four years?) to come to a decision on how to best promote gender equality within the international institution.  The result, agreed upon by General Assembly in a resolution beginning of July, is a newly formed agency within the UN, the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women.  

Now, ordinarily, one would refer to this UN unit henceforth under its acronym.  Unfortunately, “UNEGEEW”  doesn’t exactly role from the tongue.  Nor does it ring with positive connotations — in US English, “eew” is an utterance of distaste and disgust.  So, with tongue-in-cheek and decidedly unimaginative, the entity will be known in the future as “UN Women” or “ONU Femmes” in French.  One can only hope that this nomen turns out to be a good omen,  even as it downplays the gender dimension of its work…  At least, the new structure provides some clarity and with the expected appointment of the head of the new UN Women agency at the rank of an Under-Secretary-General, directly reporting to the Secretary General and included in all senior-level management circles some much needed authority boost for gender equality issues at the United Nations. (more…)

Germany’s international climate budget zeros out…

30. June 2010,

The German conservative-liberal coalition government of Chancellor Angela Merkel (who in an earlier incarnation was portraying herself as international climate policy champion) has apparently decided that in the face of budgetary shortfalls and fiscal consolidation its international climate finance commitments can be considered nill and void.  This seems the only explanation for the cabinet’s recent decision to appropriate in its draft budget for 2011 and its projection for 2012 under the budget lines “Climate Protection Measures in Developing Countries” for the Development Cooperation and Environment Ministries only one dismal figure: ZERO.

(more…)

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