Climate Negotiations and Justice for Vulnerable Populations

Volunteer inspects trees at a tree nursery in Oviedo, Dominican Republic

On Monday I had the opportunity to spend the day at a learning conference that Nature Canada, as a member of the Canadian Coalition on Climate Change and Development (C4D), helped organize.

C4D brings together many of Canada’s development and environmental organizations around climate change adaptation, financing and other climate change issues that affect our partners in developing countries. Nature Canada participates in C4D primarily because our integrated conservation and development work cannot ignore climate change and to advocate for the protection of nature and ecosystem-based approaches in climate change adaptation policy and action.

This year, C4D decided to learn more about REDD – the mechanism that is being negotiated internationally to reduce emission from deforestation and forest degradation – and about the debates around its potential impact on small farmers, indigenous peoples and other marginalized and vulnerable people. Earlier this year we held a small learning session about REDD and on Monday 4 panels of fabulous speakers from Canada and the South helped us learn and reflect on the upcoming meeting of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban in November and the upcoming Rio + 20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012; REDD and other financing mechanism for mitigation; the role of agriculture; and the opportunities for Canadian civil society organizations around these international fora.
I am still taking all this in, but I heard a few clear messages:
1. Governments are not listening to scientists and are not acting on the opportunity to keep climate change below the level that may avert great human and ecosystem harm (an average increase of less than 1.5 degrees Celsius) before it is too late
2. The most vulnerable, including women, will suffer the most: climate change is a social justice issue, and developed countries need to fund and support adaptation. We need to build RESILIENCE
3. Social and local mobilization are sources of hope, as are, potentially, municipal and provincial governments
4. Upcoming meetings promise little if any progress; but we need to avoid bad decisions, particularly on agriculture, technology transfers and forests
5. Every effort to support action on climate change mitigation and adaptation counts: we can’t give up!
Learn more, talk to others, talk to your government, mobilize!
The conference was organized by C4D in collaboration with the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) Africa Canada Forum and Asia Pacific Working Group and Canadian Food Security Policy Group. It was possible thanks to the support of Canadian Foodgrains Bank, CARE Canada, CCIC with support from the International Development Research Centre, and the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
Reading suggestions, more detail on the conference and a related public event held Monday night are available here.
A webcast of the conference will be available soon. Check back on this blog for the link.Want to know more about Nature Canada’s work in developing countries? Check out our projects in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.