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Reflections on the UN Climate Talks (Guest Post)

Indi Mclymont-Lafayette (L), Journalist and the Regional Director of Panos Caribbean

Indi Mclymont-Lafayette (L), Journalist and the Regional Director of Panos Caribbean

COP 20 wrapped up in Lima, Peru last week and many attendees are reflecting on the negotiations. Today Caribbean Climate features a review by Indi Mclymont-Lafayette, a Journalist and the Regional Director of Panos Caribbean – a non-government organisation that focuses on development communication.

Soo… what has been achieved after two weeks of talks?

That was the question one of my friends whatsapped me – knowing that I was attending the 20th United Nations Climate Talks in Lima, Peru from December 1-12.

I hesitated before answering.

Truth to tell, if you followed the achievements highlighted by the United Nations – then a lot had been done. The achievements included:

  • Country pledges to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) pushing it past a US$10 billion start up target.
  • Germany pledging and giving 55 million Euros (roughly US$68 million) to the Adaptation Fund – ensuring that it had most of its US$80 million that it had budgeted for 2014.
  • The Lima Ministerial Declaration on Education and Awareness raising which calls governments to ensure that schools and learning institutions incorporate climate change awareness. It also recommends infusing climate change into national development plans.
  • Progress on raising climate adaptation to the same level as mitigation (the cutting and controlling of greenhouse gases).
  • Confirmation of the Executive Committee which oversees the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage for a two year period. This Committee has representation from developed and developing countries.
  • Governments made progress on coordinating the delivery of climate finance and the various climate funds while China in turn pledged 10 million dollars for South South Cooperation.
  • The Lima Work Programme on Gender focusing on gender balance and promoting gender sensitivity in developing and implementing climate policy.

‘I feel good about the direction of climate financing,’ former lead negotiator for Jamaica, Clifford Mahlung said in a conversation two days before the Conference ended. This, he said, was primarily because there was an agreement that funds going into the GCF would be split 50/50 between climate adaptation and mitigation.

This on the surface sounds good for Small Island Developing States like the Caribbean. It would mean there would be more money to prepare the islands for the longer droughts, stronger hurricanes, unpredictable weather events, sea level rise and other climate impacts that the islands are experiencing.

But… there is always a BUT.

These are pledges…. How many countries will follow through on their commitments?

How many are going to put their money where their mouths are?

Similarly for the overall agreement many things are proposed on paper but what will happen when it comes time for follow through?

If the two weeks talk are anything to go by – there was a lot of quibbling when it came time for countries to put on paper their continued climate financing commitment. Who would commit to something sustainable – many more backed off than committed. So leaving Lima I am still looking for more action and less talk.




  1. advansa says:

    Reblogged this on emergingmktstories and commented:
    The pledges are a good sign if followed up with action. Meanwhile there is a role for the private sector in promoting and implementing renewable energy, as well as energy saving and monitoring products and services. This is a huge opportunity for impact investors to achieve measurable, tangible results.

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