Members of the climate & development Network, formed by nearly 40 African and French NGOs, met for a capacity building workshop in Tunisia from 25th to 27th of May this year. For this occasion, they worked on elements which are critical for the new agreement on climate change to be adopted on next December in Copenhagen.
Global agreements and conventions follow a negotiation process which is not always known by the main actors directly affected by climate change. In the framework of a global initiative to build their capacity on the subject of international negotiations regarding climate change, NGOs from 13 different countries gathered in La Marsa (Tunisia) from 25 to 27 May, for a workshop hosted by IUCN and ATPNE, and financed by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
This initiative has been developed following discussions on climate change held in Bamako (Mali) in May 2008. IUCN and ENDA’s Climate Development Network led by the RAC (Climate action network) jointly organized a workshop for NGOs to work together and draft a joint declaration expressing their requests and concerns to be presented at COP15 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in December 2009 in Copenhagen.
This common declaration, representing the Africa platform, sends a clear message with concrete recommendations and actions to politicians and governments in the Northern hemisphere. Reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases, adapting to climate change, access to energy in developing countries, transfer of technology, financing, and the fight against deforestation and degradation (the REDD concept that IUCN is promoting to enhance the key role of forests in biodiversity), are amongst the issues raised.
Civil society and NGOs are essential actors in these negotiations to voice local concerns, implement relevant actions and help establish the links between current needs and political priorities. The African continent is not considered a major contributor to CO2 emissions, but is nevertheless witnessing the impacts of climate change such as drought, loss of crops and water shortage. In order to avoid the over exploitation of natural resources and the consequent economic loss, funds aimed at promoting adaptation to climate change, capacity enhancement, communication and education, the transfer of technology in the field of renewable energy as well as major changes in production and consumption patterns are required urgently. This, along with the mainstreaming of climate change adaptation and mitigation in policy processes, will help increase the resilience of rural people faced with the expected impacts of global change.
Similar workshops are due to be held in Asia and Latin America through the IUCN network over the coming months so as to bring a global and united perspective to this process.