Augustine B Njamnshi co-founder PACJA/TPAC
The resumed forty-eighth sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 48-2) and Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 48-2) as well as the sixth part of the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA 1-6) IS currently underway from 4 to 9 September 2018, at the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC), Bangkok, Thailand to continue the unfinished business of the Bonn Sessions of May 2018. Going by the speeches of the all the dignitaries present at the opening session of September 4th, 2018, one would imagine that everyone is eager to deliver on the principal objective of these sessions, which is mainly to have a negotiating text ready for COP 24 in Katowice, Poland at the end of this year. However, if excellent speeches could solve the climate crises, we would not have been where we are today. We have heard such speeches for the last 25 years, and yet national interests still always dictate the final decisions, hence leaving the poor developing countries, especially Africa, who are already bearing the yoke of Climate Change in a disadvantaged position.
It is true, we all have to “clean the climate mess,” but in doing so, we should not forget who created the mess and continued to do so, who benefited from the mess and continued to do so, who can stop the mess and has the capacity to do so. This is what the Principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibility according to Respective Capabilities (CBDR), which is a cornerstone of the Framework Convention on Climate Change is all about. Again, remember, the impacts of climate change are already there and are increasing on a daily bases. Bearing all of these in mind, our key priorities here should be, (but not limited to) the following:
Means of Implementation (Finance): The Paris agreement is very clear about who should provide the money, for whom and for what purposes. Article 9 paragraphs 1 and 2 states that:
- Developed country Parties shall provide financial resources to assist developing country Parties for both mitigation and adaptation in continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention.
- Other Parties are encouraged to provide or continue to provide such support voluntarily.
As long as everyone has to put their hands on deck to stop and clean the climate mess, money is needed, and therefore developed countries are obliged to provide the money for developing countries to do so. Other parties (non-developed countries) are encouraged (not obliged) to provide or (for those who have already been doing so) continue to provide such support voluntarily.
The provision of this money should be anchored on the felt needs (not quick fixing) of developing countries. For this reason Article 9.3 states that (As part of a global effort, developed country Parties should continue to take the lead in mobilizing climate finance from a wide variety of sources, instruments and channels, noting the significant role of public funds, through a variety of actions, including supporting country-driven strategies, and taking into account the needs and priorities of developing country Parties. Such mobilization of climate finance should represent a progression beyond previous efforts.) What therefore are the felt needs and priorities of developing countries? In general, the priority needs of developing countries, especially Africa, are adapting to the present and future impacts of climate change, poverty eradication, sustainable development and finally mitigation. It means developed countries should provide money mostly in form grants to help them cope with the impacts of climate change that they never caused in the first place. Grants, not loans because “you cannot set fire on someone’s house and sell them the fire extinguisher or worst still, loan them money to rebuild it.” Article 9.4 provides that: “The provision of scaled-up financial resources should aim to achieve a balance between adaptation and mitigation, taking into account country-driven strategies, and the priorities and needs of developing country Parties, especially those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and have significant capacity constraints, such as the least developed countries and small island developing States, considering the need for public and grant-based resources for adaptation.”
This money should be predictable both in quantity and quality. In quantity, because we need to know how much is available to plan. The past decades have shown us that “political feel-good announcements” that developed countries make on stage each time we have a big meeting have not helped. We have heard this so many a time! We have had experiences where developed countries turn around and baptize anything as climate finance. Attempts to count activities such as efforts to stop illegal immigration from Africa to Europe and space research as climate finance are just a few of them. Predictability, therefore, remains key and for that reason the 5th paragraph of Article 9 provides that “ Developed country Parties shall biennially communicate indicative quantitative and qualitative information related to paragraphs 1 and 3 of this Article, as applicable, including, as available, projected levels of public financial resources to be provided to developing country Parties. Other Parties providing resources are encouraged to communicate biennially such information on a voluntary basis.”
In providing this financial support to developing countries, developed countries have to show utmost transparency by providing timely and useful information about it. Article 9.7 provides thus : “Developed country Parties shall provide transparent and consistent information on support for developing country Parties provided and mobilized through public interventions biennially in accordance with the modalities, procedures and guidelines to be adopted by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to this Agreement, at its first session, as stipulated in Article 13, paragraph 13. Other Parties are encouraged to do so.”
In conclusion, we believe that, when Africa insists on finance, she is doing so as a matter of right and the developed countries should understand that they have an obligation towards developing countries in general and Africa in particular, so that they are able to clear the climate mess, eradicate poverty and adapt to climate change impacts, both those that are already here and those that will come in the future. Unfortunately, this is not what we see here.
Augustine B NJAMNSHI Executive Secretary Bioresources Development and Conservation Programme Cameroon & National Coordinator The Access Initiative Cameroon BP 2626 Yaounde Cameroon Tel/Fax: 237 22812619 Skype: augustine .b.njamnshi www.bdcpcameroon.org, www.pacja.org 2014 BDCP-Cameroon Celebrating 20 Years of Conservation Research and Advocacy