Civil Society Members Walk Out of Climate Negotiations

The climate crisis is the single biggest challenge facing humanity. Carbon pollution needs to peak in the next few years otherwise we will be unable to secure a safe climate. Governments of the world are here in Warsaw this week to move forward with a global climate action plan. However, there is deep frustration amongst civil society about the lack of political will to drive the action we need to stop the climate crisis.

The past week has brought to our notice, Japan rolling back its climate action commitments, some developed countries, such as a Australia, block substantive discussions around a loss and damage mechanism to help developing countries deal with devastating climate impacts.

In addition to this, the Polish Government presidency is focusing on its own agenda, including supporting an inappropriate coal summit, with no indications from developed countries on how they plan to ramp up climate finance towards the $100 billion pledged by 2020.

In protest of the aforementioned facts, some members of civil society – including some of CAN’s 850 members – have chosen to voluntarily withdraw from this meeting in protest against how they feel this meeting has been held hostage by fossil fuel interests.

Civil society – and Climate Action Network – is a broad community, representing  people and constituencies around the world in the UNFCCC process. The decision made to leave COP19 by many members of CAN highlight the frustration felt over the lethargic manner in which the climate negotiations have proceeded.

The groups withdrawing also wish to stand in solidarity with people affected by climate impacts around the world. Hundreds of members of civil society are fasting in solidarity with Yeb Sano, the climate commissioner of the Philippines following his emotional plea for action at the start of this meeting, after Typhoon Haiyan devastated his homeland.

The civil society is ready to engage with ministers and delegations who actually come to negotiate in good faith. But at the Warsaw Conference, rich country governments have come with nothing to offer. Many developing country governments are also struggling and failing to stand up for the needs and rights of their people. It is clear that if countries continue acting in this way, the next two days of negotiations will not deliver the climate action the world so desperately needs.

Commenting on the walk-out by civil society from the negotiations held in Warsaw, Director of CAN South Asia, Sanjay Vashist said “Climate Action Network South Asia with global civil society movements walked out from Warsaw Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC out of frustration over the empty talks of the developed countries. These countries need to address the climate issues in the developing countries where people are dying of natural disasters, but instead they are wasting precious time unable to come out with productive outcomes in the UNFCCC process.

He added, “The Polish government has undermined the process by getting sponsorship from fossil fuel corporate for COP, while organising the World Coal Summit on the sidelines of the UNFCCC negotiations.”

The civil society members who have walked out of the Warsaw negotiations Coming out of the Warsaw Climate Conference highlight that without pressure, the governments cannot be trusted to do what the world needs. They add that we need to return with the voice of the people in Lima to hold our governments accountable to the vision of a sustainable and just future.


For further information on the press release please contact Vositha Wijenayake, Outreach and Advocacy Coordinator, CANSA on, +48789097826