FOCUS COP21

FES events regarding the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference

From November 11 until December 12, 2015, the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) will be held in Paris. It is of special importance as it aims to achieve a new binding agreement on climate, following the Kyoto Protocol. In preparation of this conference, FES offices wordwide are organizing a series of events:

 

South Africa

From 3-6 March and from 8-12 June, two Leadership Trainings took place in South Africa. Focusing on the question »What is at stake at COP 21 in Paris?«, between 30 and 40 activists from trade unions and social movements participated in workshops on the science and politics of climate change. With new insights at hand, they are now better equipped to advocate for a sound government position on mitigation, adaption and COP 21.

The Africa AIDC Program is available here.

Unions 4climate

Together with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the FES is organizing several events preparing COP 21. They aim at launching national trade union campaigns on climate action, which will be presented in Paris:

Lima, Peru: 18 June
Accra, Ghana: 16 July
Dakar, Senegal: 18 July
Buenos Aires, Argentina: 19 August

Furthermore, ITUC published a front line report highlighting this year’s diverse climate actions, including a global climate lobby week and measures to strengthen individual countries’ climate commitments, which will be presented prior to COP 21.

For further information, see also the website of the Global Week of Action.

Morocco

On June 2nd, 17 Moroccan environmental and development NGOs released an open letter to the Moroccan Ministry of Environment. They call for more ambitious national and international measures to adapt to and mitigate climate change and demand a stronger inclusion of civil society into the preparation processes for COP 21 in Paris and COP 22 in Marrakech in 2016.

The position paper was developed during a workshop organized by FES Morocco, WWF, Germanwatch, Bread for the World, Climate Action Network and World Future Council.

The open letter is available in English and in French.

Jordan

On September 2-3, a regional conference on »Social Impacts of Climate Change« will take place in Amman in cooperation with IndyAct Jordan, different Middle Eastern and North African NGOs and representatives from European NGOs, including CAN, Greenpeace, WWF, 350.org and GermanWatch. The conference aims at adopting an Amman Declaration supported by NGOs from the southern and northern Mediterranean region.

Furthermore, FES and Green Generation Foundation supported a community based training on climate change. The project activities included trainings in five different governorates in Jordan and were concluded recently.

They were conducted against the background that, in Jordan, current climate change policies are designed and implemented without consulting with local communities. Youth based organizations are even more marginalized. On the other hand, they have only limited knowledge of the science of climate change, multilateral, UN-based negotiation processes, networking and organizational skills.

Thus, the training program aimed at capacity building among youth organizations and future leaders. The training dealt with climate change science, the climate change negotiation paradigm and gender in responses to climate change. During the final ceremony of the project, youth local community representatives, government representatives and National Climate Change Committee representatives fruitfully discussed Jordan’s priorities and position in climate change negotiations on the regional and on the international level.

The final report is available here.

Vietnam

FES Vietnam is organizing several advocacy trainings for civil society organizations on »How to Change Climate Policy From Below«.

Vietnam is among the 10 countries most affected by climate change worldwide. The Vietnamese government has adopted several highly acclaimed strategies for climate change adaptation and mitigation. However, those strategies have not been implemented successfully until now, due to inadequate capacities on sub-national levels. Another important factor impeding implementation is policy makers’ top-down approach in formulating such strategies, with which they neglect the needs, but also the expertise of stakeholders »on the ground«.

Nonetheless, numerous local NGOs and international NGOs are working on climate change. Since 2008, more than 100 organizations are collaborating in the Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) aiming at coordinating the work of its members and at building their capacity on behalf of those most vulnerable to the effects of global warming.

COP 21 offers a great opportunity for strengthening the cooperation between the Vietnamese government and CCWG. This year’s COP will be the first one to be attended by a small delegation of CCWG representatives supported by FES alongside the »official« Vietnamese Government delegation. Currently, possibilities for joint events between the government and CCWG delegation at COP are being explored.

In the run-up to Paris, FES supports a series of workshops on policy advocacy for CCWG members. The advocacy trainings aim at enhancing the overall capacity of the network to develop joint positions and to »channel« those to policymakers, donors, and the media. A more tangible result of the workshops will be a joint COP 21 position paper of CCWG, which shall be launched at a high-ranking event at the Institut Français in Hanoi in fall.

Sudan

On June 14, FES Sudan together with Sudan Climate Change Network and the National Center for Research hosted the »Sudan Climate Change Dialogue«. Representatives of Sudan's civil society, scientists, and governmental as well as institutional representatives met in order to discuss present adaptation and mitigation challenges for Sudan and to prepare for COP21. The event focused on the rural population, as it is especially vulnerable to environmental impacts. Participants identified problems and research gaps regarding the consequences of climate change for Sudan. Furthermore, the debate highlighted the chances for a sustainable ecological development of the economy. The »special guest« was Sudanese environment and energy expert Ismail El-Gizouli, who currently is the provisional head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The full program of the Climate Change Dialogue is available here.

Geneva: The Impact of Climate Change on Human Rights

Climate change-related impacts have a range of implications, both direct and indirect, for the effective enjoyment of human rights. With four different events in February and March 2015, FES Geneva addressed the question how policies can be designed that not only mitigate climate change but also protect human rights in a global context: FES Geneva, Earthjustice and CIEL, as initiators of the GeCCco (Geneva Climate Change concertation group) organized an NGO information meeting on 6 February 2015 at the occasion of the Geneva session of the UNFCC ADP negotiations that took place from 8-13 February. The meeting helped to coordinate the NGO communities focused on the HRC and the UNFCCC respectively.
The full report is available here.

On 27 February 2015, a De-Briefing Session was organized, where Sébastien Duyck (University of Lapland) and Yves Lador (Earthjustice) provided details and further insights on the outcomes of the eighth part of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP). One of the most important outcomes is the ADP negotiating text that constitutes the basis for further discussions at the next sessions in June, August-September and October 2015 in Bonn towards a Paris Climate Treaty. The draft as it is now contains much more references to Human Rights and Human Rights language as previously anticipated. This is also and not least a result of the intense lobbying of different Civil Society actors before and during the session. Another pleasing result is the »Geneva Pledge for Human Rights and Climate Action«, an initiative started during the Climate Justice Dialogue, hosted by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Mary Robinson Foundation on the eve of the ADP on 7 February. In this document the 18 underlining parties recognize that »climate change-related impacts have a range of implications, both direct and indirect, for the effective enjoyment of human rights« especially for vulnerable groups.

Further, FES together with GeCCco and the Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change and Human Rights (GIF), as well as further NGOs concerned about the impact of climate change on human rights, hosted a side event to the 28th session of the HRC on 6 March 2015 in Geneva.
The full report is available here.

On 10 March, the FES Geneva hosted an NGO consultation meeting with the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment John Knox to discuss possible issues to focus on during the next three years of his mandate. FES will support the Special Rapporteurs John Knox and Hilal Elver to develop a joint statement on climate change and human rights for COP 21. Suggestions by NGOs concerned most prominently the environmental aspects of the rights of the child, the issue of ecosystem collapse, environmental justice, climate change and the establishment of the right to a healthy environment at international level.

In June at the Bonn Climate Change Conference FES Geneva hosted a side event .

Brussels: EU Climate Policy – The Way Ahead

On 3 February, CARE International and FES Brussels organized an expert roundtable tackling the question »Climate action and development: will the EU lead the way to ambitious global commitments in 2015?«. In this meeting, the nexus of Climate Change and Development as well as the role the EU has to play to ensure ambitious global commitments was discussed.
The full report is available here.

Madagascar

Madagascar is part of the LDC negotiation group in UNFCCC meetings – a group of 48 nations (Least Developed Countries) that are especially vulnerable to climate change but have done the least to cause the problem. They work together at the intergovernmental negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to demand that wealthier nations act in accordance with their responsibility for creating the problem and their capability for addressing it.

FES Madagascar supports the official delegation of Madagascar to the UNFCCC in preparing their positions and demands for climate negotiations. On 3 February as well on 5-6 March 2015, they hosted a follow-up meeting on COP 20 as well as a planning workshop for COP 21. Both meetings were organized jointly with the Ministry for Environment in Madagascar (MEEMF – Ministère de l’Environment, l’Écologie, de la Mêr et des Forêts) to discuss the position of Madagascar for the upcoming COP 21. Further, FES Madagascar supports the development of a media (Radio and TV) programme for general information on climate change and on the conference in Paris.

FES Berlin: Study »Pioneers of change: How to combine sustainable low carbon development and poverty reduction. 21 climate solutions« with Side Event Presentations in Bonn, Berlin and Paris
Reducing carbon emissions and overcoming poverty must not compete but could be combined. FES Berlin is preparing a study which approaches from different countries and sectors have been successful and what lessons learnt can be taken. The study will highlight 21 examples and will be presented in side events on 9 June 2015 in the Bonn Climate Change Conference, in autumn in Berlin and in December in Paris. In all events, international experts will discuss concrete examples from different countries and sectors.

FES Berlin: Engaging Young Leaders in Climate Policy
From 19-25 October 2015, FES Berlin will organize a one week model UNFCCC negotiations simulation game for young leaders from all over the world.

FES Berlin: Trade Unions for Climate Change
Throughout the year, FES Berlin supports trade unions in formulating their positions towards COP 21. Activities include the development of a »Unions4Climate«-Campaign with workshops in several countries, a Summit on Climate Change and Jobs on 14-15 September 2015 in Paris as well as several activities and side events in December during COP 21 in Paris.