(Photo: UNFCCC Chief, Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica (L), and Patricia Espinosa (R), COP16 President & Mexican Foreign Secretary) 6:23 am, the surgery is shut down, the patient, multilateralism, once given up for dead, is alive and showing signs of what might be a remarkable recovery. A year ago in Copenhagen, nearly all faith in the United Nations system to address climate change was gone.  Secret drafts of agreements by the Danish president were leaked out, and the final Copenhagen Accord was penned by an exclusive group of just five nations, who forced the other 186 nations to simply sign on to their deal.
By Arielle Balbus, Brown University On Tuesday, December 7th, “1,000 Cancuns” recognized the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice.  La Via Campesina, Klimaforum, and Dialogo Climatico-Espacio Mexicano as well as activists in over 20 countries worldwide took to the streets to make a strong statement about who is most affected by climate change and how it should be resolved internationally. The official slogan of La Via Campesina’s march was “Small Farmers Cool the Planet”.  From November 25-December 10, La Via Campesina convened the “Forum for Life, Social and Environmental Justice”, which focused on building a potent climate justice movement among the largely rural and indigenous groups who traveled in caravans from across Mexico and beyond.
Friday, 10 December 2010 15:29

The Final Sunset at the COP16 in Cancun?

By Adam Kotin and Emily Kirkland, Brown University As darkness falls here in Cancun on what was meant to be the final day of COP16, rumors abound that these talks may yet see another day. Ministers are said to be changing plane flights as the scheduled final hour nears without any substantial progress yet solidified. Here at the Moon Palace resort, where negotiations are still in full swing, the corridors remain crowded with activists, journalists, ministers, and just about anyone else who could get a hold of conference credentials. The U.S. and U.N. cancelled their press conferences this afternoon, suggesting to many that deadlocks still remained impassible—and largely leaving the media out in the cold.
As the Cancun climate talks stagger into the final few hours, the need for the wealthy countries to support actions by developing countries remains a core issue for negotiators.  But for Latin American nations, the amount they can expect to receive is uncertain. Ever since the very first U.N. conference on the environment back in Stockholm in 1972, developing countries have feared that aid funds they desperately required for basic needs like education, health, and infrastructure might be diverted to green issues, and that they’d have to slow their much-needed economic growth. Way back then, Brazil’s negotiator tartly remarked that it was a “happy coincidence” that those countries who created the problem of global environmental damage were also the ones with the resources to clean it up, including by paying to help developing countries reduce their pollutants.
Published in Climate Finance
By Emily Kirkland, Brown University It’s impossible to discuss forests without considering the rights and needs of indigenous peoples. This is particularly true in Central America, where the majority of forests are either managed or used by indigenous groups. In Mexico, indigenous groups already have full legal title to broad swathes of forest. Elsewhere, indigenous communities use forests for hunting, firewood, and other purposes, even if they lack full legal right to the land.
Published in REDD+ @en
  By Adam Kotin, Emily Kirkland and Guy Edwards, Brown University Following the release of two new negotiating texts yesterday, today’s high-level segment is set to chart a course for the next 36 hours of high-octane negotiations. COP16 President Patricia Espinosa said that she is optimism for a productive outcome but nothing is guaranteed at this delicate stage. During the conference numerous experts have reminded us that reaching an agreement is an extremely difficult task. However, many have consistently stated that sufficient political will could break the impasse. Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose position has been under fire for his consistent critic of developed countries’ feet dragging and climate debt, gave an impassioned speech on why the international community must make history in Cancun. Here we capture some of his remarks given earlier this morning:
Tuesday, 07 December 2010 11:43

The Via Campesina Caravan rolls into town

Meena Menon over at the Climate Change Media Partnership has the latest on the Via Campesina's alternative NGO forum in Cancun for the COP16:
Led by Via Campesina, or the International Peasant Movement, farmers have been traveling around Mexico to get here by caravan. A day of protests Dec. 7 to reject the “false and market based solutions” to climate  change is one of several actions planned. Positioned as a direct challenge to the United Nations climate change conference, Via Campesina has a presence in over 70 countries, uniting farmers, workers and indigenous people to stake a claim for their rights and make their voices heard, the organizers said. Unlike venues of some past UN climate summits like Copenhagen, the arrangement in Cancun is to disperse them across a large area separated by security points. Another alternative forum of NGOS, Klima Forum, is an hour bus ride from the main UN venue. “It is impossible for people to go near the conference or have any say,” remarked Paul Nicholson, member of the Basque Farmers Union. The Via Campesina Global Forum is a platform for grassroots movements  which need a space to express their dissent and discuss solutions.
To read the program of events for the Via Campesina's Forum for Life, Environmental and Social Justice taking place from the 4th to 10th December in Cancun click here.
By Adam Kotin and Emily Kirkland, Brown University Interview with Julio Garcia, Program Officer at the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, Regional office for the Americas, and former Peruvian negotiator for climate change adaptation. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ5iTik0TrI[/youtube]
Published in Natural Disasters
The Climate Action Network's ECO Bulletin released today a rallying cry for Latin American countries to create a unified position at the COP16 and to demonstrate greater leadership:
COP16 was supposed to have a particular focus on Latin America, and that could offer an opportunity to generate not only an internal dialogue related to climate change  but also room for their countries to insert the topic as a priority into their discourse and into their national policies. Nevertheless day after day ECO had a hard time hearing the Latin American region sharing either a whole integral vision or a truly active participation. Latin American leadership has also failed to face up to the challenges of the current climate scenario. Diverse groupings have formed in a continent with similar features and problems. But remaining differences have divided efforts and left the path open to stronger groups to block progress. Latin America: that way must not be continued! You are facing a threat but also an opportunity. Latin American countries are not showing either the leadership or the needed consistency. The Latin American region is particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts. COP 16 is the opportunity for Latin America to express itself in a single voice, projected strongly beyond these slow, rough international negotiations.
  Latin American leaders should attempt to improve collaboration at the climate talks on a range of big issues such as adaptation, REDD+ and climate finance. Toning down the radical rhetoric in order to find compromise in these areas would also appear sensible to prevent the summit from collapsing and Latin American countries such as those within the ALBA cohort being branded as saboteurs.
Published in Adaptation
Thursday, 02 December 2010 15:06

COP16 press briefing 1st December

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moDqkwpsm3A&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]
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