Climate Talks Offer too Little, too Late for the Planet and its People

Closing plenary meeting in Genf Room of Bonn World Conference Centre where ADP2.11 of UNFCCC has just ended on Friday evening 23 October 2015
Closing plenary meeting in Genf Room of Bonn World Conference Centre where ADP2.11 of UNFCCC has just ended on Friday evening 23 October 2015

After a roller-coaster week of negotiations, the last before the annual Climate Change Summit in Paris in December 2015, the 196 States of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change closed their meeting with a 33-page draft text that remain largely in brackets and thus mostly not agreed.

Crucial issues remained unresolved such as mitigation obligations (how much States will cut their emissions), support for the adaptation and loss and damage, and implementation that achieves enhanced ambition both before and after 2020.

Important points have returned to the text, if even in weak form, such as Mother Earth, health, human rights, and the call for an International Climate Justice Tribunal.

At the closing contact group meeting of all the State Parties Malaysia urged the ADP co-chairs and the Presidency to ensure greater participation of Observers (civil society).

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INTLawyers Calls for Climate Talks to be Transparent after Civil Society Excluded

After the Co-Chairs made a decision to ban civil society (known as observers in the UNFCCC process) from the climate negotiations based on the request of a minority of States, INTLawyers joins the almost unanimous call from NGO’s and others for opening negotiations to at least the participation of duly accredited observers.

INTLawyers also directed a communication to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Independent Expert on an equitable and democratic international order, Mr. Alfred de Zayas, and the Special Rapporteur on the Environment, Mr. John Knox, asking them to publicly call for opening the negotiations to observers at all stages. Special Rapporteur Knox was reminded that some European States that are apparently calling for the banning of civil society from the negotiations are State Parties to the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, that requires its State Parties to ensure public participation to decision making forums considering environmental issues.

The problem arose when the co-chairs of the ADP2.11 agreed to a request of a minority of States to close the negotiating groups to observers, despite a public call from the 134 States of the G77 to allow observers to attend the negotiations. At the open consultation that took place in the afternoon of 19 October 2015, Malaysia for the Like-Minded Developing Countries and South Africa the G77 asked for civil society to be present in the rooms during the contact groups and spin-off groups. Although only Japan publicly called for the exclusion of observers, according to the co-chairs, sixty-states led by the USA, Japan, Australia and European Union, apparently asked the co-chairs to exclude observers.

It is noteworthy that some States claim to support a strong role for civil society. For example, the Algerian and American co-chairs both hail from States whose capitals have said they support strongly ensuring the highest degree of public participation possible.

Again, many thanks.

Regards,
Curtis

TEXT of Draft Letter to Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order and Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment:

Dear Independent Expert and Special Rapporteur,

We seek your urgent attention for the problem caused by the banning of observer organizations from the important contact group negotiations currently taking place on climate change in Bonn, Germany under the auspices of the UNFCCC.

On Tuesday, 20 October 2015, the co-chairs of ADP (which is  holding it 11th session of its 2nd meeting in Bonn, Germany at the International Conference Centre until 23 October 2015) ruled that despite the request of the 134 States that are the G77 (representing approximately 85% of the people in the world), the negotiations in contacts groups on the text of the global climate agreement to be adopted in Paris in December, should be behind closed doors. This excludes observer organizations, including duly accredited NGOs and other Major Group participants.

The below news report by the Third World Network provides more details.

We urge you to exercise your authority to encourage States, the co-chairs and tge UNFCCC, to allow observers to observe the contacts groups that are taking place and in which the text of the agreement is being negotiated. We ask that you issue a public call and/or press release calling for the climate change talks to be inclusive and transparent and to allow the highest degree of public participation possible, which includes at the very least the presence of duly accredited representatives of observer organizations in room during contact groups.

We note that among the States who call for the talks to be secret maybe be State Parties to the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters. Although only the single government of Japan voiced public objections, the co-chairs decided to close the meetings after meeting with the United States and the European Union, and attributed their decision to the views of States expressed to them in these consultations. As the requests of South Africa on behalf of the G77 and Malaysia on behalf of the LMDCs, indicate and which are reported below, there are numerous legal and political arguments in favor of ensuring that observer organizations are able to observe the contact groups.

Please be kind enough to inform us if any action you take.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter and for your commitment and efforts to ensure respect for human rights.

Sincerely yours,
Tomas Solfaro
for International-Lawyers.Org (accredited by ISMUN to tge UNFCCC talks)

INTLawyers at Bonn Climate Talks Calls for Reference to Mother Earth, Human Rights, and Health in Draft Agreement

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Plenary meeting at the Climate Change negotiations (ADP2-11) at the World Conference in Bonn, Germany

INTLawyers is attending the UNFCCC climate change talks with a call for reference to Mother Earth, human rights, and human health in Draft Agreement as well as a reference to exploring the creation of an international climate justice tribunal in a draft COP21 decision. The INTLawyers delegation can be reached at tomassolfaro@gmail.com in Bonn.

INTLawyers Urges International Climate Justice Court with Argentinian Nobel Prize Winner Esquivel and Spanish Judge Garzon

Opening Ceremony of the 2nd World People's Conference on Climate Change and Defense of Life held in Cochabamba, Bolivia
Opening Ceremony of the 2nd World People’s Conference on Climate Change and Defense of Life held in Cochabamba, Bolivia

INTLawyers called for the establishment of International Climate Justice Court together with Argentinian human rights defender and Noble Peace Prize recipient Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón in a panel before about 300 participants at the 2nd World People’s Conference on Climate Change and Defense of Life held in Cochabamba, Bolivia from 10 to 12 October 2015.

People gathering at the 2nd World People's Conference on Climate Change and Defense of Life held in Cochabamba, Bolivia
People gathering at the 2nd World People’s Conference on Climate Change and Defense of Life held in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

The calls gained the backing of Bolivian President Evo Morales, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and Ecuadorean President Raphael Correa.

The final Declaration of the Conference (see link below) include the call and length statements of support for a more equitable world where sustainable development is possible for all.

Opening Ceremony of the 2nd World People's Conference on Climate Change and Defense of Life held in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Opening Ceremony of the 2nd World People’s Conference on Climate Change and Defense of Life held in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

For more information, please read the following:

An International Climate Justice Court (PDF)

An International Climate Justice Court (PowerPoint)

Declaracion de la Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos Sobre Cambio Climatico y Defensa de la Vida Tiquipaya – Bolivia

​INTLawyers to Attend 2nd Cochabamba Peoples Conference on Climate Change in Bolivia from 10 to 12 October 2015

International-Lawyers.Org will be an active participant in the ​2nd Cochabamba “Peoples World Conference on Climate Change and Defense of Life”​ to be held from 10 to 12 October 2015 in Tiquipaya (Cochabamba), Bolivia. INTLawyers primary focus will be on gathering support for an International Climate Justice Tribunal with jurisdiction over both state an non-State actors  whose action cause significant harm to the atmosphere of the planet. ​INTLawyers advocates for such a Tribunal to hold State and non-State actors accountable for obligations to be defined in a instrument taking into account international climate change law (found in, among other instruments, the UNFCCC) and international human rights law.

Link to Peoples’ ​Agreement at 1st Cochabamba Conference on Climate Change in 2010: https://pwccc.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/peoples-agreement/

INTLawyers Seeks Attention for Decade of People of African Descent and UN Related Actions

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International-Lawyers.Org at the 30th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council made a statement (see attachment) supporting the Decade for People of African Descent and seeking a review of the OHCHR’s alleged failure to spend up to 1 million USD that had been allocated to support this decade.

For more information, please see attached document:

Statement at the 30th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council in the General Debate on the Report of the Working Group on People of African Descent, Item 9

INTLawyers Calls for Achieving Palestinian Self-Determination

International-Lawyers.Org at the 30th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council made a statement (see attachment) calling for recognition of the importance of Item 7 on the agenda of the Council and the need to ensure the achievement of Palestinian’s human right to self-determination as an urgent concern.

For more information, please see attached document:

Statement at the 30th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council in the General Debate on Human Rights in Palestine, Item 7