We must persist

08 December 2011 | Blogs

In traditional African culture, people gather in an Indaba to listen to one another and find a common story that can resolve disputes, says Elizabeth Burleson a member of IUCN's Commission on Environmental Law.

Ecosystem based climate resilience may be emerging as the shared story, or in Bali roadmap language the shared vision. This morning’s gathering on women and climate brought Mary Robinson’s climate justice movement together with grass routes initiatives from around the globe to carry forward Wangari Mathai’s message that “we must not tire or give up – we must persist.”

While we still struggle to agree on what constitutes a timely and robust response to climate destabilization, the topic of innovation is providing common ground upon which to build multilateral trust. I have spent the past several days following the “technology executive committee” and “technology center and network” discussions. This has involved following four different tracks of negotiations.

Technology mechanism governance and financing has been pushed up to ministerial level discussions. I am hopeful that Durban will succeed in providing a framework for "innovation hubs" yet I remain mindful that current text does not include mention of “environmentally sound” technology transfer. Life cycle analysis, capacity building, and cultural sensitivity remain open issues. That said, it appears likely that knowledge portals will become a reality and that best practices may be more easily shared through on-line uploading/downloading of innovations (including rainwater harvesting, drip irrigation, and culturally sound solar cookers.)

In addition to online clearing house capacity building, I hope to see a network of innovation centers to facilitate diffusion of climate friendly innovations. Just as the longest journey starts with a single step, the amalgamation draft text can help close the 6-11 gigatonne greenhouse gas gap.

Germany has just pledged €40 million and Denmark €15 million toward the Green Climate Fund (GCF). We are still debating bracketed text and trying to raise ambition for resilient and sustainable societies. We are trying to share articulate insights to achieve a near term peak year and long-term goals. A comprehensive, fair, ambitious and binding agreement remains elusive but operationalizing the GCF and technology mechanism are within political reach.