Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Final day of UN confernece looked like an Indian fish market

Warsaw, November 24: It resembled a typical Indian fish market. The last leg of the UN climate change summit turned out to be a marathon session of almost 40 hours of hard bargaining in high decibels by the environment ministers from across the globe, who mostly pushed their national agendas rather than the health of Mother Earth.

It was a mix of joy and pain for the global media—there were hundreds of journalists covering the summit—to watch and report on the proceedings that took unexpected turns every other minute. As the talks that should have been over on Friday spilled over to the whole of Saturday, many delegates appeared agonised. Some African delegates already left the COP19 stadium to catch flights back home.

Fiji and Philippines won their match against the super rich nations that ultimately agreed to provide funds for the loss and damage in poor countries hit by natural calamities. With India and China pecking at the polemical issue-- timeline for the climate finance--the US, UK, Australia, Singapore and Canada gave up dodging and agreed to put some
money in the loss and damage fund basket.

Earlier, the UN Chair- Poland minister Marcin Korolec and executive secretary of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) Christiana Figueres found it difficult to knit up the climate fabric as the countries kept demanding for redraft of the agreements on finance and emission targets.

After some three to five hours of hard bargain, the developing nations agreed to announce the emission targets in early 2015. That was a celebrating moment for the UN Chair because there is no text in the UNFCCC that has a word “all parties (countries)”. For all these years, only the rich nations had been asked to come up with targets. This was
the first time that all the countries, both the developing and developed nations, are on the same page.

Then came the finance drama. The rich nations were reluctant to give away money for the countries that suffer extreme weather events because of climate change. The rich nations, which have their pockets full of historical responsibilities, were obliged to give as they had polluted the earth since the 18th century with the industrialisation. The UN Chair announced a 15-minute huddle to arrive at a final conclusion on finance. The clock ticked on to over 50 minutes when the rich finally gave in and agreed to pay for the disasters.

The UN Chair immediately announced that loss and damage funds could be distributed from the current year itself. Philippines, which lost 5,000 lives in Typhoon Haiyaan just a fortnight back, took the opportunity and announced its application would be put up immediately. Source said Philippines climate change commissioner Yeb Sano, who
fasted for the last 13 days to observe solidarity with the people back home starving for food, broke the fast; and danced.