Workshop participants with Prime Minister Swaziland, H.,E. Sibusiso Dlamini and
UNEP's Robert Ondhowe.
UNEP has a mandate to build capacity among the caucusing groups in the climate Change Negotiations under the UNFCCC. Robert Ondhowe, Legal Officer with the Division of Environmental Law and Convention(DELC) has led this process over the last 5 years, and to date 12 different preparatory workshops have been held in Africa, Latin America, Asia and among the countries of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).
The least Developed Countries group Meeting started on 30 September through 2nd October under the Chairmanship of Nepal (Prakesh Mathema). The meeting was official opened by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Meteorology, Swaziland, and opening remarks were made by the Chair of the Africa Group, Chair LDCs, UNDP Swaziland on behalf of the wider UN family, and UNEP, as co-convenors of the workshop.
All speakers made note of UNEP’s continued contribution to this capacity building initiative on behalf of negotiators from LDC and Africa. Speakers also took note of the just release Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC (AR5) and note the incontrovertible evidence contained therein on the challenges of climate change and the current development paradigm. The Chair of the LDC noted the reduced capacity of the LDC Group to effectively combat climate change, and stated the need for future agreements to place equal emphasis on adaptation, vis a vis mitigation. He also called for greater financial support for LDC countries.
The body of the workshop was taken up by formulating policy positions for the Conference of Parties which will take place in Warsaw, building upon the Durban Platform and intercessional meetings since Durban. Key presentations were made by UNEP, highlighting the climate related activities undertaken by UNEP in support of Countries obligations within the Convention. Specific focus was laid on work pertaining to strengthening of environmental law in aspects of adaptation, REDD and low emission, climate related development. A general understanding on the implementation of workshops to this effect was agreed upon.
The COP Presidency, represented by Special Ambassador for COP 19, Ambassador Anna Grupinska, read a statement on behalf of the Presidency informing the LDC Group of Poland’s commitment to an inclusive, multilateral process at Warsaw during COP, and of Poland’s continued support, through the European Union, of climate related policy interventions in LDCs.
Key resource persons made presentations of various thematic aspects of the negotiations as structured within the Group, namely the Chair and the relevant group members (e.g. LEG Meeting, Standing Committee on Finance, GCF, CGE, Adaptation Committee). The UNFCCC Secretariat also made a broad based presentation linking the LDC positions to various positions taken by other negotiating groups within the Convention. A complete agenda of the LDC meeting is attached.
The Africa Group meeting began on 30 September through 2nd October, and was officially opened by His Excellency the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Swaziland, and the opening ceremony was attended by the Head of the Environment Directorate of the African Union, Resident Representative of UNDP Swaziland, UNEP, and the COP Presidency.
In his remarks, the Prime Minister noted the findings of AR5, made mention of the challenges facing the continent with regard to the effects of climate change, and noted progress which had been made since the signing of the Convention. His Excellency noted with dismay the inability of the international community to find a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, and hoped that COP 21 in 2015 would produce a globally acceptable agreement that contains all the elements required for a concerted effort in the fight against climate change. Special mention was made of UNEP’s role in enhancing the ability of the Africa Group to effectively engage with the negotiations, and called upon the international community to continue to avail resources for this very critical function.
The Chief Legal Officer of the UNFCCC Secretariat made a comprehensive presentation on the implications and effects of the absence of an agenda going into the Conference of Parties. Much trepidation has existed within the negotiation circles over this unprecedented situation but the Secretariat is of the opinion that consequences emanating from this situation are minimal, and should not impact adversely on negotiations.
Presentations were made by various resource persons from within the Group, and sourced from without by UNEP on the various thematic areas under negotiation, and covered the key negotiation issues, adaptation, mitigation, finance and technology transfer, including capacity building. UNEP made a similar presentation to that made to the LDC Group. A complete agenda for the Africa group is attached herewith.
The meeting closed on 2nd October with policy formulations and an agreed strategy by the Group for COP 17.