February 25, 2014

STILL HOPING FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE EVEN AFTER POST COP 19



     Kenya joined the United Nation membership in 1963 hours after independence, being part of the big league or the community of nations. The 19th conference on climate change was held in Warsaw Poland and Kenya took part as one of the policy makers at the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from the 11th to the 23rd November in 2013. At the national stadium in Warsaw there were three subsidiary bodies, one being the thirty ninth session of Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 39), the second was the thirty ninth session of Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 39) and The third part of the second session of the Ad hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP 2-3)

     The first section of the conference involved the SBI and the SBSTA while the second section involved the high level section which was the last part of the conference, and as usual these sections involved the political negotiations section.  The last section was highly polarized and it had to be extended to the 23rd as it had been proposed to end by 22nd of November . The East Africans were at the front line as the Tanzanian president was at the political front during the opening of the high level section. A number of decisions and agreements were passed and Warsaw was a road map to 2015 as new decisions to cut emissions from deforestation and damage losses which are associated with climate change were forth coming.

     There was an advancement of the Durban platform which brought a new ‘legal binding’ proposal which will involve all parties from the Global North and Global South. The Kyoto Protocol was holding responsibilities on the development and now ‘the new agreement’ or ‘legal force’ as you may want to call it will bring all States on the same ship and whoever jumps will sink in deep waters. There was also a mitigation effort which brought a work plan. This ‘legal force’ or ‘protocol’ and the work plan has a time frame which will make COP 27 or the year 2021 an interesting year but my grandfather reminds me in my vernacular Jogi ee joka, meaning they are the same individuals who make decisions and that the 1997 Kyoto Protocol had a time frame too which was to come into force by 2005. Throwing the benefit of doubt in the deep sea, I wait hoping that 2020 will give us politicians who are lovers of wisdom and not power or lovers of wisdom will get into political powers. They say politics is about resource allocation and climate finance has always been a slow decision and parties hoping to mobilize 100 million US dollars by 2020 is far from reality. As a developing country, we hope and take each step carefully in realizing the right path of development which is exploiting but trying to save for the future.

        Back home to my country Kenya, she is also a party among the 193 countries at the COP process, She is hoping to be part of the developed countries or the Global North by 2050 and her effort on following the sustainable development path will ease things out on cutting her emissions and therefore as she is focusing on adaptation, mitigation is also very important to her because she is heading towards being a big shark (developed). Kenya has made very big efforts as she is one of the first countries with their executive arms having a Climate Change Secretariat (CCS) and her climate change bill in due process. She also has a legislative arm with interrelated committees looking at issues on environment and climate change which are; Environment and Natural Resources Committee, Agriculture Livestock and Cooperatives Committee, and Energy Communication and Information Committee. There is need for Kenyan lawyers or rather the Judicial arm to take part in international climate negotiations since the world is on the road map of yet another legal binding or protocol, the greatest concern is that the law interpreters are distant from the climate knowledge and negotiations.  Kenya has also embraced the relationship between the civil society and her government and being in the international climate negotiations with a government budge and yet you want to join the worlds civil society in a demonstration was one of the challenges at Warsaw.

      As an individual who has been brought up by farmers, I was more disappointed as the Warsaw meeting did not focus much on Agriculture but SBSTA, and the Kenyan delegates lacked the representation from the Ministries of Agriculture and Devolution and Planning. Despite all this I still walk this path with optimism, that 2015 climate negotiations will bring up a smile on my grandfathers face as he hopes to increase his farm produce, pay his taxes and if resources allow him to enable me to attend the Peru conference (COP20). Without further ado please visit the UNFCCC website www.unfccc.int for more information or connect to ayicckenya@gmail.com and you will become a school in climate negotiations.  

Prepared by Clifford Omondi 

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