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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

COP28: Experts enlighten CSOs on principles that underpin climate justice

Nigeria’s civil society organisations (CSOs) have increased their capacity to understand the concepts of climate justice and climate change, which are essential for understanding their applications within the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations.

Participants at the virtual training workshop

This follows the second part of the CSOs training held virtually on Thursday, November 16, 2023, tagged: “COP28: Strengthening Nigeria’s Civil Society Organisations’ Engagement with Global Climate Change Policy”, even as the world heads towards the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, UAE.

Titilope Akosa, Executive Director, Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st), in her presentation on “Key Climate Change and Climate Justice Concepts in the Context of the UNFCCC Negotiations” at Week Two of the training on UNFCCC processes, said: “Climate justice is the bedrock of the climate change negotiations, and climate change advocacy as it is known today is that the world’s richest 10% are responsible for 50% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while the poorest 50% contribute only 10% of emissions.

“There is an unequal historical responsibility that countries and communities bear concerning the climate crisis. It suggests that the countries, industries, businesses, and people that have become wealthy from emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases have a responsibility to help those affected by climate change, particularly the most vulnerable countries and communities, who often are the ones that have contributed the least to the crisis.”

She listed some of the principles that underpin climate justice to include respecting and protecting human rights, the polluter pays principle, fair financing for climate, intergenerational equity, safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable people, and sharing the burdens and benefits of climate change and its impacts equitably and fairly, among others.

She said intergenerational equity calls for responsible stewardship of the planet, recognising that the choices we make today profoundly impact the well-being of those who will inherit the earth tomorrow.

Speaking further, she said climate change is not gender neutral; it affects men, boys, and women and girls differently, but women are disproportionately affected. Akosa noted that the UNFCCC has acknowledged gender and climate change and now has a gender and climate action plan that is under implementation, as Gender Day is now celebrated at COP.

She stated further that countries are now obligated to have gender and climate action plans.

“It is mandatory to have gender action plans for climate projects approved by climate finance institutions, for example, the Green Climate Fund,” she stated.

On the “polluter pays” principle and climate finance, she noted that the principle is a widely accepted practice that holds those responsible for pollution accountable for managing it to prevent harm to human health and the environment.

“For instance, if a factory produces a potentially poisonous substance as a by-product, it is typically held responsible for its safe disposal.”

She said that the “polluter pays” principle plays a crucial role in shaping climate mechanisms and ensuring that financial responsibilities are distributed fairly based on historical and current emissions.

Speaking on other concepts in the current UNFCCC negotiations, she stated that the Global Stocktake is a crucial component of the UNFCCC negotiations.

She, however, said that, at COP28, governments would continue their negotiations on a new climate finance goal to replace the $100 billion commitment.

“The deadline for reaching an agreement is 2024, but significant progress in Dubai is critical to laying the groundwork for next year’s COP, even as finance will also figure prominently in negotiations on the GST and on loss and damage,” noted Akosa.

Gboyega Olorunfemi, Project Lead, Society for Planet and Prosperity (SPP), stated in his presentation titled: “Nigerian CSOs on the Way to COP28: Concept of the Nationally Determined Contributions and Paris Agreement” that the Paris Climate Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change adopted by 196 parties at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris, France, on December 12, 2015, and entered into force on November 4, 2016.

He said that the overarching goal is to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and pursue efforts “to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels” to achieve net zero by 2050.

He listed the key elements of the Paris Agreement as the global temperature goal, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Also, the transparency framework establishes a common framework for reporting and reviewing progress, ensuring transparency and accountability in NDC implementation.

Finance and support are another key element that commits developed countries to providing financial resources to support developing countries in their climate action and adaptation efforts.

On the NDCs, he said each country commits to its own set of climate actions, outlined in the NDCs, reflecting its ambition to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.

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).

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