As the international sustainable development community converges on Poznań, Poland, for the 2008 UN Climate Change Conference, it is remarkable to consider all of the inputs that delegates must strive to take into account as they work their way along the Bali Road Map, toward the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
In the past two weeks alone, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat convened an expert group on biodiversity and climate change, which considered the positive and negative links between biodiversity and climate change mitigation. The CBD Secretariat also co-organized the Global Indigenous Peoples Consultation on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), during which participants adopted a global indigenous peoples strategy on REDD. African Ministers of Environment discussed their continent’s preferences for the post-2012 climate change agreement, and called for the creation of a task force to forge a common position. The UN Development Programme organized a workshop to develop gender-based guidelines for climate change finance decision-makers. And the list goes on.
While contemplating all the ideas to take on board and all the work to be done, climate change policy watchers may have also been buoyed by the evidence that many sectors and actors are considering how to move forward and mainstream these issues. Local level authorities considered their roles in the climate solution, at the US Governor’s Climate Change Summit in Los Angeles, US, and the Better Air Quality workshop, in Bangkok, Thailand. Delegates at the eighth Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the 20th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer made efforts to maximize the climate change benefits of ozone protection, by agreeing to finance the accelerated phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons. And an Arab Water Forum considered climate change and its impact on water resources and arid environments.
A key event before all eyes focus on Poznań will be the Follow-Up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, which is convening in Doha, Qatar, from 29 November-2 December 2008. UN General Assembly Resolution 62/187 mandated this Conference to “assess progress made, reaffirm goals and commitments, share best practices and lessons learned, and identify obstacles and constraints encountered, actions and initiatives to overcome them, and important measures for further implementation, as well as new challenges and emerging issues.” While not focused on climate change, the Doha Review Conference has been linked with the global partnership at the heart of sustainable development negotiations, and could set the tone for the December climate change talks. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited Heads of State to an advance meeting on 28 November, co-hosted by the Emir of Qatar, at which responses to the financial crisis and economic slowdown will be discussed. As a story in this issue of Linkages Update
indicates, the Secretary-General has recently stressed that the financial crisis should not be allowed to “eclipse the global effort to address climate change,” highlighting the costs of delaying action. It remains to be seen how States will respond to this warning and seize this opportunity to advance green economic growth, and then turn their attention to the Poznań agenda.