Poor countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change finally registered a victory following agreement to establish Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage on the final day of the UN Climate Conference at the Polish capital of Warsaw. The 19th Conference of Parties, better known as COP19, went overtime Friday evening and finished after final 30 hours marathon on Saturday evening when all the countries agreed on providing finance to the adaptation fund, establishing international mechanism on loss and damage and setting a clear timeline to make public their greenhouse gas emissions.
The conference in Warsaw which was dubbed as “finance COP” was able to bring together developed countries to donate $100 million to the climate adaptation fund, which was setup in 2008 to provide money for poorer countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
However, most of the developing countries were disappointed with the level of compromise they had to agree to at the last few hours and said that they wanted to see ambitious commitments from the rich nations on emission targets on time. “We are disappointed with this COP which despite reaching consensus on many issues failed to address long term finance,” said Nepal’s Prakash Mathema who chairs the Least Developing Countries at the UN Climate Conference. “Without a midterm pathway, it will be difficult to see how the promised $20 billion will be managed starting from 2020 for the Green Climate Fund,” he said.
It is also yet to see how the loss and damage mechanism will work to address the aftermath of climate induced weather events. “The specific scope of the mechanism will be decided by member states in the months to come but the most important thing is that we have the mechanism in place,” said Marcin Korolec, who was dismissed last week as the Environment Minister as a part of Polish government’s reshuffle but continued as the President during the UN Climate Talks
All eyes are now set on the Ban Ki-mon’s leaders’ summit in September next year where the developing countries are hoping to see rich nations come with ambitious reduction targets leading to the pathway for a new climate accord in Paris in 2015.
“The challenge for us is to speed the pace of policy on greenhouse gas emission to be on track to remain below 2 degrees in the next half of this century,” Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Governments from 195 countries at the UN Climate Conference also agreed on Friday to a set of decisions on ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through REDD+ (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) initiative which is backed by pledges of 280 million dollars in financing from the US, Norway and the UK. The decisions adopted provide guidance for ensuring environmental integrity and pave the way towards the full implementation of REDD+ activities on the ground. The package also provides a foundation for transparency and integrity of REDD+ action, clarifies ways to finance relevant activities and how to improve coordination of support.
The next conference of parties will be held in Lima, Peru in 2014 which will lay the final building blocks to lead the member states towards a new climate accord in 2015.