Report from CANCUN By: Tanveer Arif, SCOPE and FANSA-Pakistan

Report from CANCUN

By: Tanveer Arif, SCOPE Pakistan

Dear FANSA Friends

Greeting from Cancun, where the 16th. Conference of Parties (CoP-16), of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), started on 29 November 2010. I am here representing FANSA, along with other representatives of FANCA and FAN Mexico. I am sure you all may be following happenings at Cancun because, climate change has become a global concern for all and CoP-16 is an event which is in the lime light at present.

Cancun is a huge coastal tourist city of Mexico, with Caribbean climate and sandy beaches, where hundreds of large hotels exists. The government of Mexico has made excellent arrangements such as transportation, security and traffic to facilitate the meeting.

First let me give you a brief introduction of UNFCCC before telling you about our mission here.

The Convention and the Protocol

Over a decade ago, most countries joined an international treaty the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to begin to consider what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable. More recently, a number of nations approved an addition to the treaty: the Kyoto Protocol (KP), which has more powerful and legally binding measures.

The Convention on Climate Change sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change.  It recognizes that the climate system is a shared resource whose stability can be affected by industrial and other emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The Convention enjoys near universal membership.

Under the Convention, governments are supposed to;

•       Gather and share information on greenhouse gas emissions, national policies and best practices

•       Launch national strategies for addressing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to expected impacts, including the provision of financial and technological support to developing countries

•       Cooperate in preparing for adaptation to the impacts of climate change

The Convention entered into force on 21 March 1994.

The CoP-16 is taking place at an important juncture when the global community is expecting a firm action from the climate negotiators. I just heard from representative of Venezuela saying that we only have 15 days to take important decisions about the future of the planet.

Coming at a huge meeting like CoP-16 and follow particular issues of your interest, is a great challenge within itself. The UNFCCC negotiation process include many complex streams like mitigation, adaptation, finance and technical issues etc

FAN at CoP-16

Freshwater Action Network (FAN) is part of Water and Climate Change Coalition (WCC), which has membership of high profile organizations like IUCN, Green Cross, Stockholm World Water Institute (SWWI), WWF, Stakeholders Forum and Global Water Partnership (GWP).

WCC has come to CoP-16 with a specific agenda, which is doing advocacy and lobbying for putting water high on these climate change negotiations agenda. We had strategic meetings on Sunday 28 and today regarding lobbying with CoP-16 delegates on Work Programme on Water.

WCC is calling for the establishment of a work programme on water and climate under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The proposed functions of the work programme are as follows:

Discourse: Improving the global policy discourse on water and climate change – a work programme under the UNFCCC offers a space to ‘embed’ the water and climate discourse at an intergovernmental level, leading to improved understanding of the relationship between water and climate change.

Principles: Establishing guiding policy principles on water and climate change – the work programme will bring Parties together to coordinate and agree guiding policy principles on water and climate change which would be presented as recommendations to the COP. The policy principles would also help to guide the financial mechanism of the Convention.

Finance: providing advice and guidance to the climate change funds – the work programme would include an expert thematic advisory panel on water and climate change which would provide relevant and up-to-date information and analysis to the funds, including an assessment of the cost effectiveness of investing in water management.

Implementation: developing resources and tools, conducting analysis and capacity building to advance water and climate priorities – the work programme would include a focus on activities to enhance implementation. This would include developing resources, coordinating workshops and facilitating knowledge exchange.

Coherence: promoting synergies between global agreements and mechanisms on water and climate – the work programme would identify other Conventions and multilateral agreements that are relevant to water and climate change and promote the implementation of the provisions of these agreements. This would ensure coherence across the multi-lateral system and promote integration.

The work programme is being proposed as part of a broader range of ‘policy asks’ being put forward by the Water and Climate Coalition as part of its advocacy, outlined as follows:

•       The establishment of a work programme on water and climate under the Convention

•       Recognition of the importance of water management for climate change adaptation through the negotiations on adaptation under the UNFCCC

•       A thematic focus on water through the Nairobi Work Programme

•       Finance for climate change adaptation and mitigation that is managed through the UNFCCC should be guided by criteria that promote the sustainable management of water resources to build resilience to climate change

So this is a brief report on the opening day. I am sure the deliberations will be heated up as we go into next two weeks with intensive discussions and negotiations to cool down the Earth. There is indeed an environment of expectations and enthusiasm, which is reflected from the opening statements of delegates, who know that the public at large is focusing on them to get a breakthrough here, which they failed to take at Copenhagen.

I will come with further updates tomorrow.

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