Civil society organisations (CSOs) in the country have been urged to acquaint themselves with the necessary history, principles and objectives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and leverage on the latest information in the course of executing their respective projects, while holding parties to be accountable and responsible.
Gboyega Olorunfemi, Project Lead, Society for Planet and Prosperity (SPP), made the call while speaking at a virtual meeting tagged “Nigerian CSOs on the way to COP28: Navigating UNFCCC process and participation”.
Olorunfemi, who spoke on issues related to understanding UNFCCC; history and background of UNFCCC, key principles and objectives of the UNFCCC and key milestones and agreements within the UNFCCC process, stated: “From the feedback that we have gotten, we have noticed that it is difficult engaging CSOs, pre-COP, at the COP and post-COP. We are starting this to create that platform where COP or no COP, CSOs are engaged and at the same time find opportunity to thrive and make their voice to be heard at all times.”
He said that the UNFCCC provides the basis for concerted international action to mitigate climate change and to adapt to its impacts.
According to him, its provisions are far-sighted, innovative and firmly embedded in the concept of sustainable development, that with 197 Parties, the Convention has nearly a universal membership.
On the UNFCCC ultimate objective as spelt out in Article 2, he said: “The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt is to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
“Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.
“You will agree with me that some of the conversations leading to COP28 are in the area of food security and also diving into SDGs.
He listed precautionary principle, principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) and respective capabilities; and principle of sustainable development as some of the UNFCCC principles.
Speaking on the UNFCCC parties, he said it is grouped according to differing commitments, such as Annex I party which include the industrialised countries that were members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1992, plus countries with Economies in Transition (the EIT Parties), including the Russian Federation, the Baltic States, and several Central and Eastern European States.
He stated that Annex II parties consist of the OECD members of Annex I, but not the EIT Parties.
He noted that these ones are required to provide financial resources to enable developing countries to undertake emissions reduction activities under the Convention and to help them adapt to adverse effects of climate change.
Other parties are non-annex I parties, which are mostly developing countries.
While speaking on the key milestones and agreements within the UNFCCC process, he listed the Kyoto Protocol (1997) which established legally binding emission reduction targets for developed countries, also COP7 in Marrakech (2001) which resulted in the Marrakech Accords, addressing issues related to the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.
Also, COP27 in Egypt which closed with breakthrough agreement to provide loss and damage funding for vulnerable countries hit hard by floods, droughts and other climate disasters, among several other milestones.
In his presentation, on the Evolution of International Climate Policy and the Role of COP and SBs, Israel Prince Orekha, Executive Director, Connected Advocacy, stated that the UNFCCC Foundation of International Climate Cooperation established in 1992, provided a framework for international cooperation to combat climate change.
He said that the goal was to limit average global temperature increases and cope with the impacts of climate change, stressing that this laid the foundation for subsequent climate agreement.
According to him, Conference of the Parties (COP) plays a pivotal role in international climate policy, Subsidiary Bodies, including SBSTA (Scientific and Technical Advice) and SBI (Implementation), advice the COP; SBSTA deals with scientific and technical matters, while SBI focuses on implementation.
While speaking on the roles and functions of the COP and SBs, Orekha noted that COP sets the overall direction and goals of international climate policy, SBs provide technical and advisory support to COP and together they advance climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.
He added that the National Focal Points play a critical role within the UNFCCC structure, that they represent their countries and facilitate communication and cooperation in climate negotiations.
The training is part of the British High Commission (BHC) sponsored project aimed at improving the communication, lobbying and advocacy competencies of climate civil society organisations (CSOs) ahead of COP28, to ensure a more active participation at the global summit.
The project is being implemented by the Centre For 21st Century Issues (C21st), EnviroNews Development Network (Endenet) and Society for Planet and Prosperity (SPP).