Open Letter to the Mexican Government, President of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties: Civil Society Calls for a Transparent and Democratic Process
In a year that has witnessed millions of people affected by the adverse impacts of climate change around the world, the task of UNFCCC, to dramatically and immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has never been more urgent. Scientists have consistently noted the rapidly diminishing window for taking action to effectively address this global problem.
We, the undersigned civil society organizations, therefore call for a democratic, transparent and participatory process at the UN climate talks, leading to balanced, equitable and science-based outcomes in Cancun to implement the UN Climate Convention and the legally binding commitments of developed countries to reduce their emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.
Cancun must deliver an outcome that has legitimacy through a process that is fair and democratic, but we already see dark clouds gathering on the horizon.
The process must avoid the exclusive, un-transparent and undemocratic conduct of the December 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, which ended in acrimony, undermined trust and led to the controversial Copenhagen Accord.
The Accord, produced by an exclusive group of 28 countries selected by the Danish Government, and tabled on a “take-it-or-leave-it” basis in the final hours of the conference, is illegitimate and, even according to the UN climate secretariat, has no status.1 Scientists have confirmed that its pledges could lead to upwards of 4 degrees of warming leading to catastrophic impacts on the worlds’ people and ecosystems and irreversible climactic change.2
We are concerned by information that the Mexican government has invited a limited number of Heads of State to this meeting in Cancun. We will denounce any effort to again use a small-group process involving selected Heads of State to advance the interests of a handful of countries at the expense of the many.
We are concerned about indications that the Mexican Presidency has already convened small groups of countries alongside the formal negotiations without full transparency, and may attempt to link the two negotiating tracks, risking an exodus from the Kyoto Protocol and lowering the ambition of other Parties. Developed countries must honor, not abandon, their legally binding obligation to reduce their emissions under the Kyoto Protocol after 2012.
And we are concerned about the new Chair’s proposal for a Cancun outcome under the Bali Action Plan, which reflects the deeply biased Copenhagen Accord and has removed key demands of developing countries. Among other things it:
- Removes references to keeping warming to well below 1 degree or 1.5 degrees supported by over 100 countries in the negotiations;
- Removes references for financing of at least 1.5% of Annex I GNP supported by the G77 and China representing over 130 countries;
- Empowers the World Bank as trustee to oversee funds in a new global climate fund, when developing countries have unanimously called for a new fund to be under the authority of the UNFCCC; and
- Establishes new “carbon markets” that will enable developed countries to continue polluting, while enabling them to shirk their financial commitments and shift the burden of mitigation to developing countries.
The text has removed virtually all proposals by Bolivia based on the World People’s Agreement reflecting the will of over 35,000 representatives of social movements and organizations participating in the World People’s Conference in Bolivia in April 2010.
We call on Parties to get to work on the Party-driven text (August 13 text) that reflects all Parties’ views, and that negotiations remain Party-driven and participatory.
Finally, we are concerned about the limits imposed by the Mexican government and UN climate secretariat on the full participation of civil society. We will not tolerate any effort to shut out the people or to limit our voice.
We believe Cancun can deliver a successful result that implements the Convention and the legally binding obligations of developed countries to reduce their emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. The key to doing so is ensuring developed countries honor their commitments and the voices of those most affected by climate change are heard.
Asociacion Globalizate, Spain
Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Bangladesh
Center for Food Safety, US
Civic Response, Ghana
Dimpos Manalu, KSPPM, Indonesia
Equity and Justice Working Group, Bangladesh
Focus on the Global South
Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines
Friends of the Earth International
Fundación Pachamama, Ecuador
GAIA, Global Alliance for Incineration Alternatives
Green Camp, China
Green Zhejiang, China
Hangzhou Eco-culture Association, China
Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy, US
Institute for Essential Services Reform, Indonesia
International Center for Technology Assessment, US
International Forum on Globalization, US
International Rivers, United States
International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations
JS-Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development
Jubilee USA Network, US
Kenya Young Greens, Kenya
Koalisi Anti-Utang (KAU), Indonesia
Kruha Water Coalition, Indonesia
Mines Minerals People, India
National Forum For Advocacy, Nepal
North South Institute
Pachamamma Foundation, Ecuador
Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), Philippines
1 UNFCCC Secretariat, Notification to Parties, 25 January 2010