Dec 25, 2015 News
– pushed negotiations for protection for SIDS, other vulnerable states
The Guyana delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference; (COP21), held earlier this month in France, attained its agenda to secure a legally binding Paris Agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and protect vulnerable states.
The delegation, which was headed by Mr. Raphael Trotman, Minister of Governance; and Minister of Finance, Mr. Winston Jordan; also included Mr. George Talbot, Permanent Representative of Guyana to the United Nations; Mr. Andrew Bishop, Chief Negotiator, Ministry of the Presidency; Mr. Troy Torrington, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Guyana to the United Nations; Negotiator, Ms. Kandila Ramotar – Climate Change Officer; and Negotiator, Ms. Michelle Kalamandeen – Biologist and Civil Society Representative; Ms. Jocelyn Dow – Civil Society Representative; Mr. Stefan Rickford Knights – Student and Youth Representative; and Ms. Teresa Gaime – Technical Officer, Department of Natural Resources.
GUYANA’S PRINCIPAL OBJECTIVES
Guyana’s principal objectives going into the negotiations were to secure a legally binding Agreement, a long-term goal for deep emission cuts consistent with a 1.5 degree warming pathway, led by developed countries; an article that anchored REDD Plus (+) and previously approved COP decisions in the Agreement, provisions for finance for helping developing countries combat climate change, anchoring the loss and damage mechanism in the Agreement and the provision in the Agreement for special consideration for low-lying coastal countries and small islands (SIDS) in terms of finance, mitigation commitments and reporting.
The Conference, while centred on the larger negotiations for the creation of a climate agreement, offered the opportunity for the advancement of a number of bilateral and multilateral relationships which Guyana sought to capitalize upon.
Guyana played a key role in the negotiating blocks of CARICOM, Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the Coalition of Rainforest Nations. CARICOM countries stood firm in their call for 1.5 degrees as the warming limit to be included in the agreement and its support of the REDD+ framework, which is particularly important to Guyana and Suriname.
In addition, Guyana pursued a number of bilateral engagements, meeting with the Norwegian delegation, Italy and the Green Climate Fund. Meetings were also held with high level representatives from Conservation International and the World Wildlife Fund.
The Green Climate Fund, which administers the financial mechanism within the UNFCCC supporting projects and programmes in developing countries for climate change mitigation and adaptation, accepted a readiness support proposal from Guyana. Guyana’s proposal for institutional strengthening of its Climate Change apparatus to implement its Climate Resilience Strategy and Action Plan (CRASP) which is currently being developed; and to increase its access to GCF funding for future projects, was approved for the US$300,000 grant to be implemented over the next year.
At the close of the Conference, a dedicated Article for Forests, in particular REDD Plus, which secures the previous COP decisions on REDD Plus as a framework, provides for support, including through results based payments, for forest conservation and sustainable management of forests; and provides a corresponding COP 21 decision, which provides for financing for REDD Plus; was established. Guyana played a leading role in securing this Article and Decision.
A Finance Article which provides for developed countries to provide financial resources to developing countries for both mitigation and adaptation; for developed countries to take the lead in mobilizing the required financial resources; was also reached.
A Mitigation Article which provides for a long term goal of well below two degrees while pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees; developed countries to take the lead with emission reduction targets, with developing countries preparing and communicating strategies, plans and actions, but moving over time to emission reduction targets also; early peaking of emissions, but with developing countries taking longer; nationally determined contributions by all Parties, to be submitted every five years, and which should be progressively ambitious over time, fostering adaptation and low emission development in a manner that does not threaten food production, was also agreed to by the parties.
An Article for Loss and Damage (those impacts of climate change which we would not be able to adapt to), which includes enhancement of action and support for early warning systems, emergency preparedness, risk management and risk insurance facilities was also reached in Paris.
There were several recommendations aimed at strengthening Guyana’s fight against Climate Change.
An early assessment of the implications, opportunities and way forward within the provisions of the Agreement in terms of the ratification process, project development, and access to finance and implementation would be valuable.
As such, the repositioning of Guyana’s Climate Change Agenda through review and possible structural changes, clarification of roles and reporting channels of Office of Climate Change, Project Management Office and the Sustainable Development Unit with the aim of ensuring a more coordinated approach is demonstrated, has been recommended.
The policy framework within which Guyana can target new opportunities for support, based on national priorities, is required, and necessitates the formalisation of the Green Economy Strategy as a critical next step, has also received recommendations for it to be examined while considering REDD+ and related forestry linkages, a closer review and assessment of reforestation and reclamation plans as matters of priorities, has also been recommended.
Further, it has been also recommended that Guyana should pursue the potential partnerships for assistance in establishing green towns.
The government indicated that it is highly appreciative of the support provided by the UNDP, WWF, Conservation International (CI), and the Guyana Policy Forum that ensured Guyana’s successful participation.
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