What negotiations mean for least developed countries

Friday 04 December 2015

They insist that loss and damage is a non-negotiable element of the Paris agreement

In a media briefing on Thursday evening, negotiators from the least developed countries discussed elements critical to them with regard to the Paris agreement.  During the briefing, Pa OusmanJarju, Minister of Environment and Climate Change from the Gambia and Thinley Namgyel, Chief Climate Change Division, National Environment Commission, Bhutan answered to some questions that came from journalists. Below are some edited excerpts on various aspects from the session:

On the agreement:

We are calling for a legally binding agreement and one that has a balance between all five pillars—mitigation, adaptation, finance, capacity building, technology transfer and loss and damage. All parties need to commit to implement and maintain full extent of the INDCs and there should be no backsliding on any of the commitments.

Mitigation:

In terms of mitigation, we need an effort consistent with 1.5 degrees of global warming. This is a matter of survival for all Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Development States (SIDS). We all understand that below 2 degrees Celsius is not a safety zone, so why should we settle for that.

Collective emissions of LDCs are less that 0.1 per cent of global emissions, despite that we have submitted INDCs with mitigation elements. Developed countries should show a lot more ambition.

Finance:

Finance is the bedrock of the agreement. It is through this that confidence and trust in the process will be strengthened. Over the years, developing countries were promised fast track finance; and now there is the demand for US $100 billion by 2020, thus raising the need for a clear roadmap to achieve this and ensure availability of financial resources after 2020.

While major contributions will come from developed countries, we encourage others in a position to do so to contribute. But this is not a replacement of what the developed countries ought to do.

Also, we need a grant-based finance to the Least Developed Country Fund and a commitment for sufficient finance for the National Adaptation Plans of Action.

We welcome the OECD report that talks about climate finance to developing countries but we need a clearer definition on climate finance. We cannot accept loans as climate finance and need clear grant based climate finance. The level of money mentioned in the report also needs to be checked if it was regular Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) or specifically on climate finance.

Loss and Damage:

Loss and damage is crucial for the least-developed world. With the current INDCs, we are staring at a world that will witness 3 degrees Celsius rise. Even with a 1.5 degree or 2 degree rise, it would mean much more warming in tropical regions and so we will be facing a lot of climate change impacts. 

Conclusion:

In all, the group was seeking recognition that there were limits to adaptation and much additional support is required to deal with the climate change impacts.

As a final remark the Pa Ousman Jarju said, “One key issue we need to address the elephant in the room – differentiation. Everything else will get sorted if this issue is dealt with quickly and effectively. We have a spectrum of capabilities and we need to respect the differences and the agreement must reflect those differences. At the end of the day we have a duty and responsibility to leave Paris with this kind of outcome”.

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