Civil society welcomes advances on equity at Climate Negotiations
BONN, GERMANY, May 16, 2012 - Today, experts and countries presented to a workshop on 'equitable access to sustainable development' at the UN climate talks in Bonn.
Equity became a flashpoint at the Durban climate conference last year when it became clear that many countries would not agree to a "post-2020" round of negotiations unless the mandate for those negotiations referred to the principle.
Civil society experts reported back on the workshop at a press conference at the talks in Bonn.
"Equity is the gateway to ambition, for it allows parties to recognize what needs to be done and provides a framework to operationalise this. If equity is the gateway to ambition then finance and technology are the gateway to equity." Mr Martin Khor, Executive Director of the South Centre, an intergovernmental research centre for developing countries said.
"There has been a growing realisation that equity is the central piece of the climate puzzle that the Bonn talks have now begun to unpick. Agreement on a framework for equity means tackling climate change and poverty at once - for one cannot be negotiated without the other. Governments must now set a process to bring together these twin goals. It's impossible to envisage a deal to achieve a safe and sustainable future that is not fair." said Mohamed Adow, Senior Climate Change Advisor at Christian Aid.
"The numbers presented today show that over 70% of all warming inducing pollution has come from developed countries, yet they have less than 20% of the population. The equity principle means that they have to take on 70% of the effort now - be it in emission cuts or in providing finance and technology to make cuts in developing countries." Meena Raman, negotiation expert at the Third World Network said.
"Equity means there will be the provision of finance and technology to developing countries to see that agreed targets can actually be met. To agree to targets before agreeing to the equity principle would be like jumping out of a plane and then checking for a parachute later." Ms Raman said.
"There are competing claims on a national budget or a family budget. The trade-offs and dilemmas are more acute for the poor. A poor family would put greater priority on feeding the children and on health care, and also on adaptation action such as preventing floods and rain from occupying the house, ahead of spending on mitigation. Thus, financial assistance is required if changing to more environmentally sound cook stoves is to be done by the family." Mr Khor said.
"So too regarding a typical budget making exercise by developing countries. Thus the provision of finance to support mitigation in developing countries, which is operationalising the equity principle, would be a necessary piece of effective global mitigation action. Recognising the gateway role of equity to higher environmental ambition is not a rhetorical but a logical and realistic way of getting to a successful mitigation framework." Mr Khor concluded.
Negotiations will begin tomorrow on the "Durban Platform" for a post-2020 agreement and many countries have made submissions to those talks to include explicit reference to equity principles.
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