19th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meets in Warsaw

November 2013

There is an urgent need for a comprehensive, global climate action plan to avoid the most catastrophic impacts climate change. At the Conference of Parties in Warsaw (COP19), countries will be negotiating a new legally binding agreement to address long-term climate action as well as solutions for much-needed short-term mitigation. Specific commitments on finance from developed countries will be critical to both these discussions.

The climate talks in Warsaw present a critical opportunity to identify practical and innovative solutions that will drive transformative change to minimize further environmental and human harms. This year, CIEL will be advocating for more ambitious short-term mitigation action, paying particular attention to a proposal by AOSIS to discuss practical solutions that can be taken in the short term.

In addition to advocating for more ambitious mitigation action, CIEL will be working to ensure that any mitigation or adaptation policies include safeguards to protect people and communities from unintended harms. These problems have arisen in the context of the Clean Development Mechanism (a carbon offsetting scheme) and REDD+ – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (a way to mitigate climate change by protecting forests). In the context of REDD+, countries will be working toward reaching important decisions about how finance will operate, how to measure the results of REDD+ activities, safeguards, and drivers of deforestation. It is essential that safeguards to protect rights are a central part of these discussions and that countries agree to take active steps to address both national and international drivers of deforestation. Parties will also be considering revisions to the CDM’s policies and procedures. At present, coal projects are eligible for registration under the CDM, so there will a strong push for Parties to exclude financing for coal from the CDM.

See also: In Warsaw: Low Ambition, High Risk

CIEL Experts:

  • Niranjali Amerasinghe, Director of the Climate & Energy Program. Niranjali specializes in compliance and finance issues, and will be tracking COP19 from Washington DC with a particular focus on measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) and coal financing.
  • Alyssa Johl, Senior Attorney, Climate & Energy Program. Alyssa specializes in climate change and human rights issues, and will be in Warsaw following negotiations on short-term mitigation, the Clean Development Mechanism, and loss and damage. She will also be coordinating the side event “Climate Change and Community-Based Relocation: Supporting Adaptation, Protecting Human Rights” on Monday November 18 at 14h-17h.
  • Allie Silverman, Staff Attorney, Climate & Energy Program. Allie specializes in forest governance and REDD+, and will be in Warsaw advocating for the need for safeguards to be a central part of the REDD+, particularly REDD+ financing. She will also be following the issue of drivers of deforestation as well as how to ensure that REDD+ recognizes non-carbon benefits.She will also be presenting on REDD+ safeguards at the “Rights, Governance & Climate Change” Workshop hosted by Yale and UNITAR on Saturday November 16.

Information on Related Events:

Climate Change and Community-Based Relocation: Supporting Adaptation, Protecting Human Rights
Monday, November 18th, 2013; 14:00-17:00
State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw

Many Strong Voices will hold a global consultation with affected peoples and communities – as well as community and civil society representatives, researchers and policymakers – to identify their needs as a means to develop appropriate tools and resources to assist such communities in their relocation efforts. This workshop will provide an opportunity for participants with diverse perspectives on community-based adaptation as well as internal displacement and relocation to share their knowledge and expertise.

Rights, Governance & Climate Change
Saturday, November 16th, 2013; 9:00-19:30
Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Warsaw

The workshop will convene scholars, policy-makers, practitioners, and stakeholders from a variety of fields and disciplines to examine how substantive and procedural rights can be used to support, design, and implement effective and equitable solutions to address climate change and related challenges at multiple levels of governance. Anticipated outcomes of the workshop include proposals for innovative research on the relationship between rights, governance, and climate change and identification of opportunities for collaborative projects seeking to study and enhance aspects of this relationship.