Durban Post by Dr.C. S. Silori*: This note is on the major happening during COP 17 at Durban in South Africa during UN Climate Change Conference on December 4-5, and how the ‘equity’ issues has emerged as major challenge for the world leaders in context to future development and climate change.
December 4, Sunday, was an important day. Starting from Bali COP, every first Sunday of COP remains key feature for hosting “Forest Day”. Forest Day is a collaborative partnership of 14 members, organized at every COP in a leadership of Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). The attendance on Forest Day keeps growing in every COP. In Durban, Forest Day 5 was organized on December 4 and attended by 1000+ participants at a venue called Olive Convention Centre. The key theme of Forest Day 5 was on policies and practices.
The key feature of the day was discussion around REDD+ going beyond forests – to the agriculture lands, dry land forests and grasslands and savannahs. In her opening remarks, the Minister of Environment for South Africa, Ms. Tina Joematt-Petterson, reminded a quote of legendary Nelson Mandela – “A good head and a good heart makes formidable combination”. While reminding participants that forestry remains a low cost option to mitigate the climate change, she proclaimed that “agriculture is critical while dealing with deforestation and degradation, and therefore advocated for “smart agriculture practices”.
Agroforestry in this context was highlighted, as a potential solution for mitigation and adaption. This is very much relevant in our situation in the Himalayas, where agroforestry has been an important and sustainable land use practice and a way of life for rural communities for ages. Further research and integration of technology and reliable and effective ways of measuring changes were suggested, with the support of very high technology to monitor changes, and also engaging local communities for ground level monitoring and making it cost effective and thus also building their capacity.
Besides carbon benefits, the importance of agroforestry was also highlighted in the context of food security. At a discussion forum titled “The place for agroforestry, afforestation and reforestation in REDD+”, it was pointed out that to feed 2 billion more people by 2050, REDD+ will need to explore the opportunities to grow more food and not hinder it.
Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Chair of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests reminded participants that we need to measure carbon from all sources, and not just the forest. Also, we can’t just look at the CO2 and not other green house gases. He highlighted the importance of dry lands in this case. While presenting few statistics, he mentioned that “dry lands have low carbon, but hold opportunities for restoration and for capturing synergies between adaptation and mitigation”. And therefore there is a need of paying due attention to the research on dry land forests with respect to their potential of carbon storage.
On Monday (December 6) the key attraction for me was a side event organized by Centre for Science and Environment (CES), New Delhi, chaired by Minister of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India, Ms. Jayanti Natrajan. Attended by a packed house, the focus of the side event was to bring in equity issue in climate change debate. Ms. Sunita Narayan, Executive Director of CES strongly presented her views on how blame of green house gas emissions is being shifted from developed world to the developing countries, without owning the historical responsibilities of emissions and hindering the growth of developing countries. In another presentation by her colleague, it was interesting to report that the green house gas emissions efficiency of Indian industries, particularly cement and coal was better than the global average and even from other developed and developing countries such as US and China respectively. Based on these scientific facts the CES strongly advocated for factoring issue of equity in climate change negotiations. Echoing the views of the team from CES, Minister Mrs. Natrajan reiterated India’s stand on the equity issue and the role it is playing to bring in fairness in the climate change deal.
While I leave Durban today, I hope that Climate Himalaya will keep bringing latest updates to all of you from Durban COP 17. Let us also hope that that something positive comes out of COP 17 and it paves a way for moving forward in the next COP 18 in Doha with a “spoonful of words and bucketful of thoughts”.
Featured Photo Credit: Gaby Lopez, Peru (South America)
*Dr. Chandra Shekhar Silori, kindly agreed to write ‘Durban Post’ from Durban for Climate Himalaya’s readers . Dr. Chandra Shekhar Silori is Project Coordinator for Grass Roots Capacity Building Needs on REDD+ at RECOFTC-the Centre for People and Forest at Bangkok, Thailand. As a team member of delegation of observer organization RECOFTC he is at present participating in COP- 17 at Durban. His organization has a couple of side events organized, one to share the findings of our recent study on capacity building needs of the service providers for REDD+, and other on the gender and REDD+. The RECOFTC will have a booth where the team will display the work on forestry in general and REDD+ in particular. Dr. Silori recently did a regional study on Capacity Building Need on REDD+ and will be sharing it during CoP 17 at Durban.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of Climate Himalaya group.
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