The evening before Day 1 of COP 20, the Singapore Youth Delegation had the privilege of meeting Ambassador Kwok Fook Seng (Singapore’s Chief Negotiator). We were thankful for the opportunity to have an enlivening chat with Ambassador Kwok, who fielded questions on issues ranging from universal participation in the fight against climate change and public consultation, to Article 6 and the importance of education.
Ambassador Kwok started off the discussion by contextualising the climate change negotiations leading up to COP21 in Paris next year. There was an opportunity to build an agreement which could bring the major emitters on board. The present state of the global economy presented different circumstances at the national level for each country. Nevertheless, countries would have to work together to reconcile such competing pressures in order to step up on mitigation efforts for a successful Paris agreement. Ambassador Kwok impressed upon us how Singapore’s desire for universal participation in the 2015 Paris Protocol stemmed from our belief in the importance of upholding the primacy of the UN system. It was also particularly important for the global climate negotiations to maintain credibility with a Paris agreement which was upheld by all Parties to the UNFCCC. Climate change is a global problem that the international community needs to tackle together.
Ambassador Kwok also drew on his personal experiences when sharing his views on Article 6 and the importance of education in tackling climate change. For example, Ambassador Kwok drew a comparison between recycling habits in Geneva, Switzerland (where he lived for four years) and Singapore. In general, the culture of recycling is far more advanced and ingrained in the habits of Swiss citizens as compared to Singapore. Recycling efforts in Geneva are also far more comprehensive than in Singapore. For example, in Geneva, sorting out your own recyclables is mandatory, and residents have to take their recyclables to the recycling facility on their own. In contrast, Singapore provides large recycling bins in every housing estate and all that is required of residents is placing their recyclables in the bin at their doorstep. Although there is much to admire about the recycling habits of the Swiss, Ambassador Kwok shared that much of these environmentally friendly practices are enforced by law. It was interesting to reflect on whether a carrot or stick approach to entrenching environmentally friendly behaviour was more sustainable and suited to Singapore’s context.
Ambassador Kwok also spoke about the importance of public consultation and incorporation of public feedback during the policymaking process. As members of the public, youths have the capacity to influence and encourage positive changes in the fight against rising global temperatures. This was very encouraging, and we hope to gain insights from other youths attending COP20 and bring fresh ideas back to Singapore to further inspire and empower other youths to make constructive changes within their community.
We wish to thank Ambassador Kwok for taking the time to meet with us and for sharing his valuable thoughts and insights.
National Statement of Singapore Delivered by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources at the UNFCCC COP-20 High Level Segment, 9 December 2014, Lima, Peru
View Original Source Here: http://app.mewr.gov.sg/web/Contents/Contents.aspx?Yr=2014&ContId=2058
Date Published: 09 Dec 2014
Moment for action
1. The IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report provides a stark warning of the consequences if we do not limit global warming to below 1.5 or 2°C. This COP-20 is a crucial test of whether we stay on-track or let ourselves get distracted. It is incumbent on all of us to be pragmatic and constructive. We need to affirm the concepts of ‘applicable to all’ and ‘universal participation’. Whilst we cannot solve everything here in Lima, it would be negligent of us to delay what we can agree upfront. We must try to build momentum to clear a pathway to Paris next year.
2. As we work towards a new global agreement, it is important to remember that we are not starting from scratch. We are building on the foundations of the UNFCCC. To build a durable and effective post-2020 regime, we should be prepared to give each other some reassurances:
(i) First, that the principles and provisions of the Convention should be upheld in toto. This means that the previously achieved fine balance in the Convention should not be wrecked by selective cherry-picking of partisan interests. We should simply use the entire Framework Convention, as is, as the durable foundation for the new regime;
(ii) Second, that we recognise each other’s respective and unique national circumstances and that we will all put forward, in good faith, our best efforts in our INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions); and
(iii) Third, that we are all in this together and there will not be any free-riders in Paris. If any country faces difficulties, help can be rendered, but everyone would have to be on board and make a contribution.
3. In our view, if these three assurances are in place, this will help drive momentum towards achieving significant outcomes in Lima:
(iv) First, we can have a decision on upfront information to provide clarity, transparency and mutual understanding of our respective INDCs. But we should not unwittingly create undue burden that would prevent countries from tabling INDCs next year. The idea that it is “without prejudice to the legal form” gives us some room to achieve balance.
(v) Second, the draft elements of a negotiating text for the 2015 agreement can be resolved. We need to provide assurances that the issues which are important to all different stakeholders will not ignored. At the same time, those of us making demands must be willing to accept a middle path to find consensus. No agreement can be achieved by simply sticking to our original demands.
(vi) Third, the enhancement of pre-2020 ambition. As this is the base for our post-2020 goals, we should not avoid doing more before 2020, but when that happens, the 2015 agreement should recognise the early actions of countries. Otherwise, countries will have perverse incentives to delay action until the new agreement is implemented in 2020.
4. Singapore is a member of the Small Island Developing States. We contribute very little at aggregate level to global emissions but we will play our part. Singapore generates relatively low levels of carbon emissions per GDP dollar in the world, ranking 113th out of 140 countries. From the year 2000 to 2010, our carbon intensity decreased by 30%, which compares favourably with the global average decrease of only 0.12%. We ratified the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol and we will submit our INDC in a timely manner before COP-21. We just submitted our Biennial Update Report and we have also launched the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015 which updates our plans, especially in areas such as energy efficiency and climate resilience.
5. In conclusion Mr President, I assure you of our commitment and support for Peru’s leadership and we look forward to a successful conclusion of this meeting. I would also like to add Singapore’s appreciation to the government and people of Peru for the warm hospitality and meticulous arrangements at this Conference.
. . . . .
 Source: IEA Key World Energy Statistics, 2014.
Definition: Climate finance refers to local, national or transnational financing, which may be drawn from public, private and alternative sources of financing. Climate finance is critical to addressing climate change because large-scale investments are required to significantly reduce emissions, notably in sectors that emit large quantities of greenhouse gases. Climate finance is equally important for adaptation, for which significant financial resources will be similarly required to allow countries to adapt to the adverse effects and reduce the impacts of climate change.
Taken from UNFCCC website.
Climate Financing takes up a significant proportion of the discussion in Lima’s Convention of Parties (COP 20). On the 9th of December during a COP side event on International Climate Finance, a number of esteemed speakers from various international financial organization took the stand and shared the current state of play of climate financing.
Mr. Luis Enrique Berrizbeitia, a board member of the International Development Finance Club (IDFC) opened the session and stressed the importance of climate financing for the global fight against climate change. He also reiterated the common but differentiated responsibility (CDR) principles that guides climate financing. Also present in the panels are Fakhrouk Khan from the Executive Office of the UN Secretary General, Ousseyno Nakoulima from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Amal Lee Amin, a private sector advisor in the GCF and Christian Grossman from the World Bank.
In his capacity as the executive vice president of the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), Mr Berrizbeitia highlighted some of the sectors in Latin America that are forecasted to be attractive for investments are energy, water treatment and waste management, and the process would incorporate the public, private and local agents and authorities.
Private investors are expected to be key players in climate financing in the near future. Mr. Khan discussed about the strategic importance of the mobilization of GCF’s financial resources. A key move would be to use GCF’s financial commitments to leverage larger funding volumes from private investments for long term projects. This has the potential to exponentially increase the volume for climate finance. To further smoothen the process, donor and recipient countries can incentivize private investment through direct financial support and risk coverage in the forms of feed-in tariffs, risk sharing agreements, long term concessionary loans, equity investments and guarantees
The benefits of private involvement is are clear. Ms. Amin forecasted that USD 0.5 billion to 1 billion of GCF resources can be used to leverage up to USD 10 billion private funding. This is a particularly enticing forecast given that country pledges to date still amounts to less than USD 10 billion out of the estimated $100 billion needed to combat climate change by 2020. Ms Amin proposed a focus on 2 sets of issues: mobilizing funds at scale and using GCF funds on supporting investments in green SMEs in developing countries.
This development, however, has to proceed with caution. Intimate involvement of the private sector gives new nuances on the dynamics of international climate finance. Already, some global finance institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank are seen suspiciously by some developing countries for fear of hidden political agenda behind the financial resources. Private investors with massive financial leverage can influence or even dictate the distribution or terms that come with the climate funds. The key challenge for the international institutions like GCF is then to ensure independence and transparent and fair involvement of all stakeholders in their strategic decision making processes.
Hello People of Singapore!
This Friday, 10.15pm Singapore time (9.15am Peru time), the team will be online to have an interactive session with you on the Coveritlive platform.
We will be sharing with you highlights of week 1 of COP, briefs on national statements and NGO statements, highlights from team members on what they have been following, as well as of the People’s Climate March.
This live interactive session will be a 45 mins session and open to the public.
Participants of the session can watch videos and ask questions live!
So if you are interested, do sign up on this link below for a reminder of the event.
Note: If you click it between now Tuesday 1.45pm to Friday 10.14pm, you will be redirected to the Coveritlive event reminder signup. Please enter your email address and choose how early you want to be reminded, 1 day, 3 hours, 1 hour, 15 mins before the event.
Come Friday 10.15pm, the team will publish the Coveritlive page, and then you will be redirected to the pop-up interactive browser where we can start chatting :)
Me: So.. how may COPs have you been to?
AJ: 5. And they all come to me.
(Lastrina, AJ and Kjell laughs).
Me: Aha. And what was the crime?
AJ: Them being policemen ;)
And that was perhaps the most lighthearted and part of a genuine chat I have had with a new-found-friend this one week in COP. Also, I enjoyed it because I like one-liner jokes the best :D
The last few days, aside from trying to participate in the “fun” side of COP such as COP20 opening reception hosted by the Peruvian government on Thursday, the Asian youth dinner that the Singapore youth team organised on Friday and the NGO party organised by CAN International on Saturday, I have been trying to spend time away from large groups of people and spend more time with myself. So, the past week I have been going out taking morning walks and down to the different parts of the coast, and these two nights, I have been to the Convergence Space.
Casa de Convergencia TierrActiva (a.k.a TierrActiva Convergence Space) is an activist hub managed collectively by TierrActiva Peru and Bolivia with the support of Global Call for Climate Action. It is an independent, autonomous space, collaboratively created by dozens of local and foreign activists and artists. The space is open and can be used for meetings, workshops, presentations, discussions, making art, cultural events, and generally for bringing together and nurturing the movements for alternatives. You are welcome to use it for your informal meetings, presentations, trainings etc.
While financial support for the space came mostly from the GCCA. Oxfam and CAN-LA have provided support for additional needs. Countless activists have supported with their creative energies and hard work.
We operate under a philosophy of system change, not climate change. Beyond TierrActiva, several collectives are centrally involved in creating the space—including f.ex. the Arts and Culture Commission of the People’s Summit. TierrActiva Bolivia is running a “conscientious food” kitchen on the spot.
Yesterday, I dropped by and painted some 8 masks as my contribution to the People’s Summit March. I was only satisfied with the first 4 masks to be honest. But anyway, I had fun. Tonight I dropped by again to attend a workshop on “Legal Strategies to Stop Extraction.” I have yet to digest that information and will be sharing that on a later post. Back to the People’s Summit March..
DATE and Gathering PLACE.
Join us for the mobilization on the 10 December at 9:00am in Parque CAMPO DE MARTE, at the crossing of “Avenida de la Peruanidad”, 28 de Julio and Salaverry neighbourhood of Jesús María in Lima and in every other place where you are!
The people will start to march around 11:00hrs.
The 10th of December is the International Day of Human Rights and commemorates of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly.
It has been celebrated annually across the world since 1950 but this year it is up to social movements and not the States to show how the whole of humanity can participate in preserving and respecting their rights in a completely different way.
Nevertheless this year the commemoration will tackle more than human rights: this year the world will mobilize to defend living systems’ right to last on this planet despite the predatory nature of capitalism, and try to remove the corporations’ influence in the climate negotiations.
This year during the International Human Rights Day we invite you to come and defend YOUR rights, OUR rights and those of LIFE on Earth. This year we could have a major breakthrough in the negotiations that could lead to key agreements which would be decisive progress in containing the process of climate change which threatens survival on earth.
Main Message for banners
Change the system not the climate!
Stand up for the earth!
The track and the final meeting
The march will start at the Campo de Marte at 11:00am and will finish at Plaza San Martin, where the main lecture would start at 12:30hrs.
To complete the whole lap, the march would take around 1:30 to 2:30 hours to complete the whole route.
They are expected to have a lecture from President of Bolivia Mr Evo Morales, and thereafter people from the different groups will take the floor.
The agenda of the People’s Summit is here: http://cumbrepuebloscop20.org/agenda/
I should be giving COP a miss on Wednesday morning to join in the march. If you’re around in Lima this Wednesday, do consider joining in the march.