Sunday, December 4, 2011

Can Something Good Come Out of COP17 in Durban?

By Charles Ogallo in Durban, South Africa.

United Nations Climate Change Conference enters its final week in Durban, South Africa, with delegates rushing to reach agreement, on whether to save or burry forever the most loved, hated and debated Kyoto Protocol, an internationally binding agreement on climate change.

The Seventeenth Conference of Parties popularly known as COP17 has been organized by United Nation Framework convention on Climate Change-UNFCCCand hosted by South Africa.

The conference may have come at a better time especially for Africa, where many countries are faced with severe effects of climate Change and global warming. And when top world scientists have just predicted scary and devastating climate events such as heavy storms, droughts and floods in the near future due to climate change.

The scientific prediction may have also been fulfilled within a shorter period to many COP17 negotiators whose arrivals in Durban were met with some harsh realities of climate change. This followed heavy storms and floods that hit parts of the city the previous night, sending severs among scientists, environmentalists, Journalists and Climate Change activists converging at the venue of the Conference.

These realities could be felt deep inside the voices of main speakers among them UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figuere’s as they presided over the official opening of the two week Conference at the International Conference Center in Durban.

The UNFCCC boss however emphasized the need for the COP17 delegates to reassure the venerable especially those already suffered and all those who will still suffer from climate change of a better world tomorrow today.

The same sentiments were echoed by South African President Jacob Zuma who openly challenged members of the international community to stop taking climate change as any other environmental problem and help save the world today.

With main agenda focusing on discussions over proposed extension of the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012, as while as removing deadlocks on Green Climate Fund talks, Durban Conference success will relay on the approval of outcomes of the COP16 in Cancun which spelt out far reaching international responce to climate change the world had ever seen to reduce carbon emissions and build a system which made all countries accountable to each other for those reductions .

According to many climate change activists, Africa has bared the greatest brunt of climate change and global warming , with over 12 million of her people having been displaced from their homes and suffering from famine and poverty, and that it was time for them to come together and use the Durban conference to demand to be heard.

John Kioli , the Chairman of Kenya Climate Change Working Group who features as one of delegates in the COP17 called for the international community to listen to the Africa's Voice in Durban . He added that the Durban conference should be a success story for Africa if the World agrees to extend the Kyoto Protocol, whose first phase comes to an end later next year.

African countries have listed fair share of allocations of Green Climate Fund among their demands. Their fears has been that the Agreement they much agitated for may be thrashed and buried in the African own soil thus leaving them more vulnerable to devastating effects of climate change and global warming.

Developed Nations among them US, Japan and the EU had however pledge over 30 billion dollars to go to the fund by 2015 and another 100 billion dollars by 2020. US and Japan are also among countries championing some sort of reviews on the Kyoto Protocol demands that many developing countries are opposed to.

The Green Climate Fund is expected to help promote sustainable developments as well as mitigating diverse effects of climate in emerging economies such as Africa and Asia.

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