In order to transition to a low-emission society the UNFCCC MUST involve all relevant non-party (not officially representing a country) stakeholders (i.e. from NGOs to Indigenous groups, the youth, women and all other non-party stakeholders). This was brought to the forefront of talks yesterday at the Bonn Climate Change Conference in Germany with a workshop being held on how to further enhance the effective engagement of non-party stakeholders with a view to strengthening the implementation of the provisions of the Paris Agreement.
This workshop allowed anyone to raise issues and promoted an open and transparent dialogue/conversation of different views and opinions. It also witnessed breakout groups to focus on different aspects surrounding the matter;
- Enhancing ambition of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) through climate action
- Expanding the scope of non-Party stakeholder contributions at the intergovernmental level
- Diversifying modes of engagement and facilitating the participation in the intergovernmental level
The main issue highlighted through the workshop was definitely the continued ‘conflict of interests’ surrounding the conference. This refers to companies that have links to the fossil fuel industry as they intentionally stall negotiations (we get it you don’t want to lose but someone has to and I am afraid it’s going to be you…just wait and see!) and many believe they have a mandate which starkly contradicts what the objective of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement are currently seeking to achieve, to restrict global warming to “well below” 2’C compared to pre-industrial times, while striving to limit them even more, to 1.5 degrees (ideally 1.5 please!). We get that countries (**cough Norway cough Australia cough Saudi Arabia and other Arab states**) who have historically based their economies on such industries are scared (you should be) but open your eyes to the future and scale-up ambitions now to rapidly decrease emissions, not pay others to decrease or rely on negative-emission technologies. This can be achieved!
This has previously been addressed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), who due to the evidence of the harmful effects of smoking placed a mandate (Article 5.3) to “protect policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry”. A similar policy should be put in place by the UNFCCC. Obviously these huge companies in the fossil fuel industry are usually involved within renewables to some extent (only to look good whilst they continue to go about their other dirty business), so this would need to be addressed and clarified to promote companies who solely see themselves in ‘official renewables’ (unfortunately clean coal is not one of them).
The host of COP23, Fiji, has even highlighted their determination to enhance involvement of non-party stakeholders within the conference. We hope this is true and look forward to increased involvement of civil society (also coconuts because hey if the conference is in Germany but hosted by Germany doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pretend they we are on an island paradise right?). We obviously don’t have a vote but watch the pressure build, we will make a massive difference!
Until next time, Bonnnn chicka wow wowww!
//Nicke (resident Swede-Aussie)