A Global To Region Perspective: Raising Mountain Voice At Durban !

Nov 29th, 2011 | By | Category: Adaptation, Advocacy, Bhutan, Biodiversity, Carbon, Climatic Changes in Himalayas, CoP17, Development and Climate Change, Environment, Events, Financing, Governance, Green House Gas Emissions, India, Information and Communication, International Agencies, Land, Lessons, M-20 CAMPAIGN, Mitigation, Nepal, Opinion, Pakistan, Resilience, UNFCCC, Vulnerability, Youth Speak

K N VajpaiK N Vajpai: Writes on the expected outcomes from Durban Climate Change Conference (CoP 17)in terms of growing momentum of action and alarm bells from new researches. His discourse is about the meager role played by the leaders from most vulnerable regions like Himalayas and Andes during this important global conference.  

With the representation of about 20,000 delegates from about 200 countries there are many points of view coming up in ongoing Durban Climate Change Conference (CoP 17)and each country is trying to stick to a certain position. It sounds like a lot of conversation is going on behind the scenes.

In general in the Durban Climate Change Conference there are three major issues which are supposed to be discussed and agreed. These are: the next commitment period of Kyoto Protocol, the process on Kyoto Protocol in longer run on binding regime and the future course of actions decided at Cancun and as Bali action plans.

In setting up the larger picture, the important issues from regional perspectives are either not considered or will remain neglected during the conference of parties. There is a feeling that the marginalized communities from the mountain regions of the world will not be represented well here on many fronts. The core concern is about who can strongly represent and advocate the regional perspective from the major mountains of the world ranging from Andes to Alps and Rockies to Himalayas. Another aspect is that looking on specifics of problems and development on national perspectives, the developing nations from Hindu Kush Himalaya and Andes are more marginalized in comparison to other.

Looking upon the efforts of the regional agency, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) from Hindu Kush Himalayan region, it seems that  the ball is rolling in solidarity. But, one can observe that there is not much encouraging response coming from national governments either and their delegations from Hindu Kush Himalayan countries (it has 8 focus countries) in joining the important side events like Mountain day and a show case on adaptation ‘Meeting of Minds’.  For example India’s Environment Ministry will be organizing a separate side event with Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)- India with the presence of its Minister of State on the equity and effective climate agreement by presenting detailed case studies on low carbon economies. So, India has no plans to discuss mountain issues and perspective in general.

The Durban conference will revolve around two important aspects of; growing momentum of action and the alarm bells from new research and findings on climate change.  What has not been achieved during Cancun are Institutional Arrangements, Technology Mechanism, Adaptation Framework, Green Climate Fund and Review Mechanism are supposed to be to be rolled on to operationalize.

Towards adaptation and climate friendly measures, the adaptation framework and technology mechanisms are the crucial aspects that need to be operationalized and diffused across the world by 2012. Similarly, the discourse will consider the arrangement of Green Climate Fund as an important adaptation and mitigation tool and for this purpose there will be consideration on the review mechanism of effectiveness of actions that starts from 2013 to 2015.

It is evident that there is a deadlock about how to slow down the global warming in terms of Green House Gas emissions and international actions, as the Kyoto Protocol expires next year. The Ministerial meeting that will take place during next week will look into the aspect of Kyoto Protocol for fixing the terms for 2nd commitment period. It is envisaged that what was not achieved during Cancun on Kyoto Protocol will be considered in Durban for 2nd commitment period about how to address deeper emission reduction targets by industrialized nations.

The issue is that US has never ratified Kyoto and blocked financing during October 2011 with Saudi Arabia. There will be dialogue on long term financing which was set 10 Billion USD per year for 2010-2013 at Copenhagen to help developing nations on re-forestation, clean technology and adaptation actions for climate change, which will come to an end in 2012 and there are no aspirational goals set yet given that it was set further 100 Billion USD annually in years to come till 2020. Further, it’s interesting to note that there is no roadmap available on how and from where this huge funding will come. Therefore, finalizing the funding mechanism would be a concrete step and way forward if at all agreed during Durban conference.

There are many groups voicing around ideas like Occupy CoP 17 movement. They consider such meeting as merely circus, something that will not come up with realistic solutions.

Coming back to mountain agenda from Himalayan region it’s a matter of great concern that a collective and strong voice from the Himalayan region is badly missing in Durban to raise the issues of the mountains!

Featured Photo Credit: Mr. Bhuwan Bora, Almora  India


About Author: K N Vajpai has written this article for Climate Himalaya’s Youth Speak Column. A native of Indian mountains, Vajpai is an Environment Specialist and Convener at Climate Himalaya .

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of Climate Himalaya group.


Started in year 2010, ‘Climate Himalaya’ initiative has been working on Mountains and Climate linked issues in the Himalayan region of South Asia. In the last five years this knowledge sharing portal has become one of the important references for the governments, research institutions, civil society groups and international agencies, those have work and interest in the Himalayas. The Climate Himalaya team innovates on knowledge sharing, capacity building and climatic adaptation aspects in its focus countries like Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Climate Himalaya’s thematic areas of work are mountain ecosystem, water, forest and livelihood. Read>>

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3 Comments to “A Global To Region Perspective: Raising Mountain Voice At Durban !”

  1. Jagat K Bhusal says:

    K N Vajpai in his article:”A Global to Region Perspective: Raising Mountain Voice At Durban” has raised very pertinent issue that strong leader lacks in raising the voices of marginalized mountain people. ICIMOD on Hidukush region which wanted to be the centre of excellence, can take initiation to find a strong leadership and provide support so that Mountain Voice is strong. Voices become strong if come from influencing country. INDIA can take leadership for mountain voices and ICIMOD can play a coordinating role in bringing regional governmental support to the leadership.

    Global climates were changing (cooling and warming ?); changes are accelerating ( warming cycle ?) and continue changing (cooling warming?). If we fit we survive if not, we vanish! Participation of about 20000 delegates in Durban and million online viewers like me is representing a wish for surviving.

  2. K N Vajpai says:

    Thank you for your observation Mr. Bhusal, they are very useful. An important aspect is that organizations working in Asia as regional hubs could certainly lead through a strong voice when it’s collective and the lead members in such institutions / organizations understand that in partner countries where lies the potential to connect and network to move strategically and effectively. I personally feel that the collective voice can come from any of ICIMOD’s regional focus countries, but, only when we clearly ensure that the voice in real sense is collective and has come from leaders working in mountain regions of Hindu Kush Himalayan region. We need to understand that within our countries there are varied opinion on Mountain and Non-Mountain leaders about vulnerabilities and importance of mountains. For example in India we are strongly voicing collectively for a separate Mountain Ministry as the issues are very different in Indian Himalayan region to rest of the country! This aspect needs to be understood critically…

  3. […] ways and means for those. Where does COP 17 stand in light of those expectations? As K.N.Vajpai of Climate Himalaya summarizes, the agreed upon courses of discussions and resolutions of Durban meet had been: the next […]

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