Bali : NGO’s meet Minister Tobback & Huytebroeck

On the 11th day of the Conference of the Parties to in Bali, and at 48 hours from the expected final outcome, NGO’s took the opportunity to share their vision of the process and expected outcomes with Belgian Ministers Tobback & Huytebroeck. The current lack of sense of urgency, and a number of weaknesses in the current discussion could jeopardize dangerously our future.

For the NGO’s (Climate Action Network Europe, Oxfam, VODO, Bond Beter Leefmilieu, Inter environnement Wallonie), an ambitious and concrete road map for the 2 coming years, ending in 2009 at the latest, is absolutely crucial, considering the accelerating climate changes and their reverse impact on mankind life quality and peace all over the world.

Main concerns were raised about the following issues :

 A dangerous lack of sense of urgency amongst the thousands of official delegates, leading to possible delays in decision and action, while in the real world, droughts, flooding, ice melting, and suffering of consequences by the poorest become more intense.

 The absolute necessity to come out of Bali with a consensus on a long term vision, which so far was never agreed upon at the political level, based on the consensus existing in the scientific community : limit the global warming below 2°C, and in consequence recognize the need to meet a global peak in emissions in 10 to 15 years, and decline in order to reduce global emissions by more than 50 % by 2050.

 In coherence with the above, the need to reduce industrialised country emissions in the range of 25 to 40 % by 2020, as was mentioned in the opening speech made by the Belgian Minister in the opening session of yesterday, and to engage development countries in future commitments, although not with absolute targets in the short term. They have the right to develop their economies and welfare, but should choose a different development pathway than business as usual would lead to.

 The necessity to engage all Parties requires amongst others that sufficient attention be given to the need to developing countries. Were raised :

  • The necessity to increase means dedicated to adaptation for developing countries ;
  • The necessity to strongly support capacity building, also through the Belgian overseas development aid. The need to support capacity building seems to have been underestimated so far by the negociators, resulting in an uprise of resistance by developing countries ;
  • The necessity to clearly state the importance and increment support, now, to the role of technology and particularly technology transfer, a key element if we want to reach the long term vision and be serious about climate change. So far, the subject has been too much seen as one of the building blocks for a future agreement on Post 2012 actions, with too less consideration to immediate support.

 The NGO’s also expressed concern about a number of seems-to-be agreed elements. Amongst others, the rise of the maximum size for small-scale reforestation projects lead to fear that it would jeopardize the local expected community benefits, and might lead to environmental inefficiencies.

The meeting was very open and constructive and participants could exchange views in detail about the pro’s and con’s of their positioning. Minister Tobback reassured participants that Belgium and the EU is doing its best to solve the current bloquage, essentially existing between the USA on one side, and developing countries on the other side.

Contact in Bali :

 Inter-Environnement Wallonie : Jean-Yves Saliez, Secrétaire général, +62 81 338 99 1530 (SMS), + 32 496 128 022, jysaliez@iewonline.be or skype

 Bond Beter Leefmilieu : Bram Claeys, + 32 474 59 46 70