LDC Chair: Co-operating with CSOs is the Way Forward

By Vositha Wijenayake 

As the June UNFCCC intersessions and the September Ban Ki-moon Summit (BKM Summit) approach, the Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group spoke to CANSA on his expectations from the BKM Summit, Bonn Ministerial and the 2015 Agreement.

Political Will and Ban Ki-Moon Summit

The BKM Summit will be the final opportunity for countries to meet before COP 20 to push for a binding agreement and will be held in September in New York 2014. Prakash Mathema, the LDC Chair commenting on its importance stated, “The BKM Summit 2014 is an important event for mobilizing the much needed political will for ambitious commitments to address climate change. This is perhaps the last chance for all the political leaders to come together before 2015 agreement and we have pinned much hope on this meeting”.

He further added that there has been positive messaging from some country groups, and countries on commitments, and highlighted the need to build more pressure to push countries to do their part.

Commenting on the participation of country heads at the event, he pointed out that in the past there have been highest representation by countries at the annual UN General Assembly (UNGA) meetings. He expects that most top leaders will attend the BKM Summit as it is just a day before the UNGA.

Negotiations, and Ministerial

Mr. Mathema expressed his thoughts on the Bonn ministerial meetings and added that the participation of ministers of LDC countries is not finalized yet. The LDC Group expects to brief all the LDC Francophone and Anglophone ministers coming to June ministerial, and provide them with information packs in order to prepare them for the ministerial meetings.

Commenting on the June session, he added, “We need to allocate our human resources to be able to follow all discussions that take place in different tracks of negotiations. This is a challenge to be overcome.”

In Warsaw, many countries highlighted concern of not having enough delegates to follow the multiple informal consultations that were held in parallel, and pointed out that this method was disadvantageous for countries which did not have a large team of negotiators. It would be interesting to see what the UNFCCC has in store for the up-coming sessions of negotiations to address this problem.

LDCs and South Asia

Climate Action Network South Asia was keen on finding more from Mr. Mathema on how he perceived the path to move forward in South Asia. Would there be a way to implement the Thimpu Statement on Climate Change Would there be more opportunity SAARC as an entity?

Mr. Mathema agreed on the need for more regionally focused work and prioritizing. He also added that the Community Based Adaptation Conference which is starting today in Nepal as one of the events that brings more attention to the issues faced by this region and other most vulnerable countries. He further added that more such events need to be organized to highlight the vulnerability of South Asia and other climate vulnerable countries.

While highlighting the need for more ambition on the part of governments, he also added that collaboration with CSOs is a way forward to increase the effectiveness of changes that need to be implemented.

“I believe that CSO groups play a key role in efforts to address climate change. The LDC Group looks forward to working with CANSA towards a strong, effective and fair climate agreement in 2015, and for bold climate actions”, concluded Mr. Mathema.

About The Author:

Vositha WijenayakeVositha Wijenayake is the Policy and Advocacy Coordinator of CANSA and, Regional Facilitator for Asia for the Southern Voices Programme. She is a lawyer by profession and has an LLM from University College London. She specialises in International Environmental Law and Human Rights Law. She has been tracking the UNFCCC negotiations since 2009 with a legal and gender focus.