Friday, May 8, 2009

"The Missing Platform" in Copenhagen worries Uchita de Zoysa

This is an article written by Uchita de Zoysa who is he Executive Director of the Centre for Environment and Development, and Chair of Global Sustainability Solutions.

Different Agendas, Separate Forums & Isolated Initiatives
The Missing Platform
for Consensus Building on Climate Sustainability

The upcoming UNFCCC COP15 in Copenhagen in December 2009 has once again sparked interest and action across the world on climate change. With just nine months to go, different governments, sectors and organizations are planning and implementing thousands of activities to demonstrate their views and demands for a climate secure world. While governments are gearing up for their negotiations, stakeholders are making their own preparations to influence these negotiations. In all these isolated efforts the people and the earth still requires common meeting ground to enable a collective agreement on a sustainable climate framework to evolve.

An Appeal to Engage in Inclusive Dialogues:
The 'Climate Sustainability Platform' is proposed as an open ended concept which attempts to bring together the decision makers and influencers from different stakeholders, sectors and people. The platform intends to utilise existing processes, forums, organizations and mechanisms to create collective consensus building towards a climate sustainability agreement. The platform can operate any where, under any forum, and by anyone that aspires to create a common climate regime on earth! Wherever civil society is organising themselves, we request that they invite and include a platform to engage in dialogues with the negotiators. Wherever scientists meet, ensure a platform to engage in dialogue with policy makers. Wherever business meets, invite decision makers to hear your proposals. Wherever people meet to discuss climate change, we appeal that they go beyond their own hemispheres, comfort zones, friends, networks, constituencies, ideologies, and engage decision makers and stakeholders by creating a 'Climate Sustainability Platform'.

Breaking the Impasse by Confronting the Wait & See game
COP15 lead-up does not demonstrate any positive initiative by global leaders and policy maker to break the global impasse on a climate deal. Lack of climate change commitments by the developed countries and the demand for greenhouse development rights by developing countries has created an impasse within the UNFCCC deliberated global climate change negotiations. While a serious lack of trust between the developed and developing countries in the negotiations has laid the foundation for an impasse, the attitude by several western European countries to wait and see how the USA new administration approaches the commitments is providing fuel to the situation. It is not that efforts are not made to lobby for commitments by all sides, but the problem is the lack of a open ended platform that can lay down the cards for all to see in a consensus building process. The cat and mouse diplomacy between nations and groups with the UN system and outside it on bilateral levels will not help create a trusting environment. By nature UN negotiations are meant to be diplomatic manoeuvring that tries to juggle the obvious ball into unknown territories. UNFCC is only one forum and the official platform to get a universal agreement. What is important is for all of us in the business of influencing decision is to understand that global decision making happens on how we as citizens can create the required environment for political will power to prevail. Influential people, organizations and processes are the key to breaking the impasse, and for that we need to create platforms to explore building trusted positions.

Climate vs. Development Debate will continue:
Climate change is now said to be the greatest challenge of our generation towards securing the lives of future generations on earth. With international research claims that climate change is taking place, the global North and South are hardly agreeing with each other on the required scales of commitment to meet the challenge. The main divide is between the demand for eradicating poverty (predominantly resident in the developing countries) and the climate mitigation, technology transfer and financial commitments from developed countries who are at-large responsible for climate change.

While climate policies at international levels are split between the developed and developing countries, science too cannot be seen as unified in their approaches to facilitate a climate change policy regime. While the scientific community acknowledges the great challenges on the front of climate change, they do require quantifying in unison the path towards creating humans alike in North and the South.

Therefore, greater North-South cooperative efforts are required for climate change policy agreements on mitigation, adaptation, technology and the financing for climate change polices within developed and developing country policy research as well. The 'Greenhouse Development Rights Framework' needs a greater dialogue within the established climate positions especially from the IPCC to evolve wellbeing for all based sustainable development path.

Towards Climate Sustainability
The idea is to steer climate sustainability and wellbeing as core concept for negotiations. The target group would be organizations and individuals from scientific, NGO, business and other stakeholder groups with capabilities to influence negotiators at national, regional, and international levels. The platform would be flexible to operate at national to international level depending on the need, resources and capabilities of the core group and other members. The immediate challenge is to set-up and initiates some action towards COP15 in December, and to evolve into a global mechanism from that point.

Action Plan
A Climate Sustainability Platform is proposed in the wake of the reality that the climate vs. development (poverty) impasse may further prevail in Copenhagen and lead to unsuccessful negotiations at the COP15. Currently it is very unclear as to what these Global Forums are going to be in Copenhagen, and a host of organisations and initiatives appears to be splitting the participants into different directions. If these different forums are not designed to unite all the wonderful initiatives, the establishment will further benefit in the it delaying tactics for a climate agreement. Therefore, it is proposed that we all join hands effectively and try to create a ‘Climate Sustainability Platform’ that starts in Copenhagen and works together, engaging in an open 'Global Forum' get the negotiators and global leaders committed to sustainable climate agenda.

We believe that its important to engage all those people coming to Copenhagen as meaningfully and effectively as possible to place pressure towards achieving an agreement not simply on climate mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer or financial commitments, but essentially to find "Agreement on Climate Sustainability'. Copenhagen will achieve much less than what the expectations are drawn through the entire circus, and have a danger of making the climate debate quite sour and disappointing. Hope can be provided if we all rally together as possible as we could to create a new movement towards Climate Sustainability. The fore, the following action is proposed;

1. Climate Sustainability PLATFORM. An open platform for negotiators, policy makers and influencers from various countries to meet participating stakeholders and the public. The Platform will be launched for participants to place their various demands to be heard.
2. Climate Sustainability MANIFESTO. A manifesto by the Copenhagen Climate Exchange participants to be presented to the COP15, Global Forum, and other important constituencies for lobbying during the COP15 period and after. The Manifesto will become a living document for an evolving network of global climate sustainability advocates.
3. Climate Sustainability Dialogue. An open plenary with keynote presentations, panel discussion and a moderated dialogue with audience. Top level speakers and panelists will be invited to make motivational presentations.
4. Climate Sustainability CAMPUS. A series of training on climate change and sustainability issues offered specially for NGOs and stakeholder participants to enhance heir knowledge required to engage in climate negotiations and lobbying. A faculty of expert lecturers and resources persons will be invited to deliver these workshops.
5. Climate Sustainability Entrepreneur, for the SMEs of the world who are left out in the world business forum as well and will be a crucial player in ensuring climate sustainability.

For detail contact:
Uchita de Zoysa
Chairman - Global Sustainability Solutions (GLOSS)
Executive Director - Centre for Environment & Development (CED)
253/10, Thilakaratne Mawatha, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka
tel/fax: +94 11 2768459 mobile: +94 777 372206
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