14 Jan 2014 -‘Climate diplomacy can build trust needed to secure common future’
Climate change negotiations – A former chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs)group at the UN climate change negotiations, Pa Ousman Jarju, has said diplomacy is the key to unlocking the treasure chest of ambition needed to tackle climate change. Jarju, who is also Special Climate Envoy for The Gambia, expressed regrets that the talks, now in their 20th year and meant to lead to a new international climate treaty for all nations to adopt in 2015, are going nowhere fast.
According to Jarju, while negotiations are an attempt to reconcile conflicting positions into an agreeable outcome, diplomacy is the art of moving the political boundaries that define what outcomes are possible.
Therefore, he said climate diplomacy is the art of influencing what is politically possible.
“Negotiators are entrenched. These civil servants work to defend national interests at all costs, and so progress towards an effective agreement remains woefully slow. What’s lacking is political leadership,” Jarju said in an opinion piece he made available to PANA here Monday.
He said the atmosphere of suspicion was so severe at the last UN Climate Change negotiations held in Warsaw, Poland, last November that he thought the meeting would end without conclusion.
“While some nations backtracked on their commitments to reduce emissions or provide poorer countries with finance, other nations’ efforts to reduce emissions went unacknowledged. Clearly, so fractured an environment does not catalyse compromise – the necessary foundation of any UN agreement,” Jarju said.
“I continue to believe that trust can end the stalemate. Building it however requires engagement on a political level – and that’s where climate diplomacy comes in,” he added.
The Special Climate Envoy for The Gambia said political will is also the key to ambition on the international stage, adding that without it, there is little hope of global agreement on a climate treaty that all nations can take home and ratify.
Jarju notes that all 48 LDCs have developed programmes to address their urgent adaptation needs, while nine LDCs are at the forefront of enacting low-carbon resilient development strategies.
Jarju said the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in September would pave the way toward the all-important meeting in Paris in 2015, when nations aim to establish an effective climate agreement.
He disclosed that over the coming years, his aim will be to try to build trust between nations by showing other diplomats and political leaders what forward-looking countries in the LDC Group are already doing to tackle climate change.
According to Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), governments remain on track towards a new, universal climate agreement in 2015, communicating their respective contributions well in advance of the meeting in Paris that year.