ACT Alliance welcomes the hard-fought victory championed by the EU, small island states and the least developed countries in the waning hours of the UN climate conference in Durban, where governments of the world’s largest polluters finally signed onto an agreement about how to tackle climate change.
For the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, however, the agreement proves largely disappointing, says ACT Alliance. Indeed, the global agreement will not take effect until 2020 – a date that will be too late for many. The world’s poor are already ravaged by floods, droughts, failed rains, deadly storms, hunger and disease –which will only worsen as a result of climate change.
Secretary General of ACT Alliance, John Nduna, said that while governments are relieved the climate summit in Durban delivered at least some sort of agreement, “the poor and vulnerable will weep at its content. The agreement is too careful and vague to stave off the worst impacts of climate change in sufficient time.”
While the Durban outcome left much to be desired, the clear success of this COP has been to mobilize the Green Climate Fund, a new tool to channel climate finance to developing countries. Nduna explained that the Fund “is of huge importance for the adaptation, disaster risk reduction and support work needed at the grassroots level.”
However, a fund without money will not be able to deliver. Governments must urgently agree on how to mobilise the necessary funds.
COP17 also agreed on a continuation of the Kyoto Protocol, but the current deal severely watered-down the only existing international legal agreement on climate change.
Nduna explains “We did not want the Kyoto Protocol for its name, but its content – and we therefore regret this development. We are concerned that the basic spirit of the Kyoto Protocol is fading.”
The outcome in Durban places a huge burden on emergency response organizations like ACT Alliance in its support of vulnerable communities in their adaptation and mitigation efforts – as climate-induced emergencies increase in number and intensity. As such, ACT Alliance and related organizations must also pressure governments to live up to their promises made in Durban.
Looking forward Nduna concludes, “the world will need to work hard in the next months and years to concretise the loose agreement made in Durban.”
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