Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Peru This Week: COP 20: Important climate change conference hosted in Lima this December

"COP 20: Important climate change conference hosted in Lima this December"
W. Alejandro Sanchez
Peru This Week
August 4, 2014
Originally published: http://www.peruthisweek.com/blogs-cop-20-important-climate-change-conference-hosted-in-lima-this-decemeber-103583

COP 20, which is to be hosted in Lima this December, will be dealing with some serious climate change issues.

The Peruvian government will host an important conference on climate change this December. Namely, the Peruvian capital of Lima will organize the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties and the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP20/CMP 10). Though this is a particularly lengthy name for two simultaneous conferences, the objective of both meetings is clear: to negotiate a new universal climate agreement; essentially a new blueprint for nations around the world to follow in order to combat climate change.
Even though the COP 20 is still months away, major preparations are already underway in Peru. Currently, the Peruvian government is focusing on outreach in order to secure diplomatic support before the event. For example, this past June, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala met with Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, during the G77+China summit in Bolivia. The Peruvian media praised the meeting, reporting that the UN leader asked the Peruvian head of state to take leadership of COP 20 so that an agreement is reached. Additionally, in mid-July, President Humala traveled to Germany to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel, where they discussed COP20, among other topics. The German government has long been a critical supporter of pro-environmental initiatives and climate change policy.
There are positive signs that the conference will allow often-suppressed voices to be heard. On July 4, the Peruvian office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), representatives ofCOP 20, and the government of Norway all signed an agreement that will help indigenous peoples attend the December conference. The UNDP and Norway will provide logistical support for indigenous leaders to have a pavilion during the conference; this will give them the opportunity to voice their specific concerns about climate change and other environmental challenges that affect their people, like deforestation and resource extraction. The participants will represent the Indigenous Organization of the Amazon Basin (COICA), an entity that oversees the indigenous communities that live in the nine nations that share the Amazon Basin. The agreement will makeCOP 20 the first Conference of the Parties with indigenous participation.
Likewise, research centers and other non-governmental organizations are also organizing themselves for the COP 20. From July 15 – 18, some 180 delegates from research and advocacy organizations from across the globe met in Margarita Island, Venezuela, with the objective to draft the “Declaration of Margarita of Social Movements and Organizations.” The document will have recommendations that the Venezuelan government will give to the other delegations that will attendCOP 20.
In other words, COP 20 will be a place where not only delegations will go to discuss climate change while also protecting their national interests; indigenous organizations and social movements will also have the chance to voice their concerns, which some governments tend to disregard.
Nevertheless, some experts are not particularly optimistic about COP 20. For example, Eduardo Rojas, Assistant Director-General and Head of the Forestry Department at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, declared to the media that COP 20 conference will be “very complicated” and it would be “naïve” to think that reaching some major agreement will be easy. Rojas thinks that “the real risk of the summit is that we will reach a weak accord or one that will need a long time to be carried out.”
Certainly, there is a lot at stake here. During COP 21, analysts expect a new agreement that will replace the Kyoto Protocol, which will expire in 2020. Hence, there is one clear goal for this multinational conference: COP 20 will hopefully end with a draft of an accord that will then be accepted in COP 21, which will take place in Paris in 2015.
At the domestic level, President Humala is under pressure to ensure that, from a logistical standpoint, COP 20 is successful and incident-free. However the Peruvian leader will also have another, more important task, that COP 20 is successful as a platform for meaningful negotiations for a new Kyoto Protocol. At this point, whether humanity can reverse the constant changes to the global climate is debatable, particularly after recent statements from NASA that the melting of parts of Antarctic ice may be “unstoppable.” The pressure is on for the Peruvian president to truly lead the world to save the planet this December.

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