Friday, November 09, 2007

Global partnerships important in dealing with climate change

“Today is not time to seek personal or national interests, nor is it time to time to seek to be elected or re-elected into office by politicians. Now is the time to place global interests high on the agenda in dealing with climate change”, Gordon McGranahan (IIED) informed delegates to a parallel session on global partnerships at the recent European Development Days.

Climate change is real. It is a global issue with catastrophic consequences. Therefore, the interests and livelihoods of present and future generations should be placed high on the global agenda, as the world inches closer to the Bali meeting where the climate change debate will once again be on centre stage.

“The climate change situation is such that humanity will all sink. The difference is only when this will happen. Some will sink earlier than others”, Gordon McGranahan warned.

The present climate change situation is a result of the quest to develop. While most assessments have pointed blame on climate change to the unsustainable development paths by the developed world, recent findings also point to the fact that even developing countries are becoming major players in the generation of greenhouse gases.

Speaking to the same session on Global Partnerships, Achim Steiner, the UNEP Executive Director, highlighted that of the top five countries in the generation of greenhouse gases, three are developing countries. These are Brazil, India and Democratic Republic of Congo. The only difference is that their contribution comes from unsustainable practices, which include deforestation and land degradation.

Steiner warned that not much of the Kyoto provisions are being followed. For example, despite commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the Rio Earth Summit, emissions have actually increased by as much as 35 percent.

Such trends in greenhouse gas generation point to the need for global partnerships, whereby individuals and countries should move away from apportioning blame but to concerted efforts to manage climate change.

Both the developed and developing countries are advised to ensure that they use clean technologies. Developing countries are further advised not to emulate consumption patterns followed by the developed world as these have been proven to be damaging to the environment.

by Clever Mafuta, SARDC