CoP21 behind the Purdah

Photo: Amiruzzaman/AAB
Bangladesh team
Country Director

For positive change, I believe in the power of people

Right now in the Paris negotiations it is getting a little gloomy even with the sun shining outside. It feels like the calm before the storm.

I have attended previous Climate conferences and there were opportunities to participate, engage with negotiators and attend the informal sessions. In Paris, all has been closed off except for a few plenary. The French Presidency of CoP21 had stated that the negotiations would be all transparent, and one wonders transparency behind doors!

Why are we representing civil society and the affected communities kept at bay? What is it that the parties will agree on in Paris that they don’t want us to know now? Is it about the position they are holding on to around the “differentiated but common responsibility”? Rich and developed countries don’ t want this to be a negotiation point as they argue they point to countries such as South Korea, Singapore, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, who are non-Annex 1 countries – countries that have high per capita emissions, high per capita income and high human development index. The North is now including China, Brazil, South Africa and India in this group because of their high aggregate total emissions and rapid economic growth. But what about the decades of pollution by the North and fossil fuel dependent countries that have wrecked havoc on the climate?  Weren’t all the previous climate negotiations also a part of the countries agreeing to act and take action? Were those drafts and agreements not worth the paper written on? How do the negotiators in Paris retract on what the global leaders agreed in Durban, Doha, Warsaw and Lima the past 4 years? Behind the purdah are the global leaders endorsing all this?

If a fair climate agreement is to be delivered, the parties present in Paris negotiations have to discuss finance and contributions. Since 1992, the developed countries have miserably failed in regards to providing the funds for adaptation, or transformation to a green pathway. USA and EU are not willing to discuss finance; they are not willing to discuss compensation. We had to have those discussions in Paris but when USA and EU followed by other countries refuse to engage constructively on this, it is of GREAT CONCERN.

To our utter dismay, negotiators here in Paris are unwilling to add human rights in the operation part of the text. Why? Is it still confusing to them that it is due to climate change that the communities have faced major droughts, repeated floods and saline water intrusion, and are struggling to put food on the table, losing their land and homes and having to disrupt the education of their children? In parts of South Asia, girls are being married off at 14/15 due to greater rise of poverty freshly reinforced by the devastating effects of the climate change. How will the developed countries evaluate their development support for the education of girls and all other programmatic interventions in developing countries without first resourcing adaptation adequately? Does women’s empowerment project make any sense when climate change is continuously increasing the risks women face?

When developed countries put themselves forward as development partners of the least developed countries and the developing countries, why would they still shy away from taking the liability of climate change impacts on the weather, agriculture, economy and women, people with disability and the indigenous communities? Countries from the south have already started to take measures and they have set themselves the target for emission cut even when the per capita emission in some of these countries is negligible. Is it not logical to support these countries to transit to the green pathway, the eco-friendly development model?

Working together by accepting this responsibility, would the developed and the developing countries not truly move towards a harmonised and peaceful world? Lift the veil and let us see what is behind the purdah and what waits the world in terms of climate action.