Cop17 – Durban climate change conference. A deal yes….but what are the consequences?

Cop17  – Durban climate change conference. A deal yes….but what are the consequences?

At the 11th hour a deal was reached (in fact later than that as the conference had to be extended to the ’13th’  hour). But what does the deal mean?

Here are some immediate comments:

Climate deal salvaged after marathon talks in Durban –  Guardian

Chris Huhne Minister for the Environment – “significant step forward”

Landmark Deal Saves Durban Climate Talks (Huffington Post)

Damian Carrington : Climate deal: A guarantee our children will be worse off than us!

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the deal represents “an important advance in our work on climate change.

They haven’t reached a real deal,” said Samantha Smith, of WWF International. “They watered things down so everyone could get on board.”

Michael Jacobs, visiting professor at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment in London, said the agreement could bring real changes.

The agreement here has not in itself taken us off the 4C path we are on,” he said.

But by forcing countries for the first time to admit that their current policies are inadequate and must be strengthened by 2015, it has snatched 2C from the jaws of impossibility.

Durban fiddles while Africa Burns! (Climate Alliance)

After an extra day’s hard negotiations, the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed this Sunday on the second commitment period (KP2) under Kyoto Protocol.

and a taste of last minute diplomacy by Norway…

Climate Justice Now!, a broad coalition of social movements and civil society, emerging from the UN COP17 climate summit in Durban argued that the talks constitute a crime against humanity. That here in South Africa, where the world was inspired by the liberation struggle of the country’s black majority, the richest nations have cynically created a new regime of climate apartheid The press statement is at:

They make the connection between the overspending on arms with underspending on the environment.

It seems the moment of truth has been put off for many years. Over the next few years we will see more and more climate catastrophes ; the estimate is that the planet will warm up by another 3.5 to 5 degrees. This can be prevented by the politicians and the powers that be, but only if they massively invest, diverting the resources that go into wars into a war against climate change.  There is only one way to force them to act, and that is building a social movement, from below. That is how all governments can be forced to change.

The deal doesn’t explicitly compel any nation to take on emissions targets, although most emerging economies have volunteered to curb the growth of their emissions.

Currently, only industrial countries have legally binding emissions targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Those commitments expire next year, but they will be extended for at least another five years under the accord adopted Sunday — a key demand by developing countries seeking to preserve the only existing treaty regulating carbon emissions.

Scientists say that unless those emissions — chiefly carbon dioxide from power generation and industry — level out and reverse within a few years, the Earth will be set on a possibly irreversible path of rising temperatures that lead to ever greater climate catastrophes.

The package gave new life to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, whose carbon emissions targets expire next year and apply only to industrial countries. A separate document obliges major developing nations like China and India, excluded under Kyoto, to accept legally binding emissions targets in the future.

Together, the two documents overhaul a system designed 20 years ago that divide the world into a handful of wealthy countries facing legal obligations to reduce emissions, and the rest of the world which could undertake voluntary efforts to control carbon.

Richard Black, BBC environment correspondent  talked of ‘winners and losers’. He mentioned that one set of winners were those countries highly vulnerable to climate impacts, such as those within the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis) and the Least Developed Countries bloc (LDCs) which have more than 70 members combined.

Another group of winners were the youth:

Unfailingly charming, youth delegates brought a freshness, a “Yes-we-can” -ness, to the often jaundiced proceedings.

Some of their demonstrations worked too. US envoy Todd Stern was visibly rattled when his set-piece speech was interrupted – not so much rattled by the young heckler as by the prolonged applause generated by her heckling – applause coming from people who were supposed to be her elders and his peers.

And the “occupation” on the final scheduled afternoon made an impact simply because it went on for so long – a couple of hours – bringing a distinct feeling of substance, a “we’re staying here until you sort it out” kind of vibe.

So, after a lot of huffing and puffing some sort of deal has been made. It also seems that after decades of questioning  the scientific evidence a better understanding is emerging that climate change is real and we need to unite across country boundaries and age boundaries to make a difference for the next generations.

click the ‘4’ below for another video:


Youth in Rwanda and Burundi: Contrasting Visions

In some ways ‘youth’ often miss out. Internationally, the main focus in recent times has been on basic education with early childhood care and development coming in second. Youth are more difficult , maybe more rebellious or sometimes too passive. It is time to nurture young people, particularly as many will have missed out on their childhood due to war or poverty.

Youth in Rwanda and Burundi: Contrasting Visions

This report compares the results of parallel research projects carried out among impoverished, non-elite youth in postconflict Rwanda and Burundi. Arguing that the plight and priorities of non-elite youth should be of serious national and international concern, particularly in countries that have unusually youthful populations that are overwhelmingly poor and undereducated, it finds striking differences between the groups, with a significantly bleaker picture for youth in Rwanda.

The full report is available here

Who knows best? Children do!

We underestimate children. In all my education careers (there seems to have been many) I have tried to facilitate the development of skills for participation by children (and adults). Allowing opportunities for participation are not enough -first develop the skills, such as communication and social skills – then provide the  real opportunities for using them. More and more organisations are realising the importance of article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and are now willing to not only give children opportunities to express themselves but are also willing to listen to them. War Child has produced a report based on children’s evaluations of their programme in Uganda.

(War Child)

We are pleased to share the report ‘Who knows best? Children do!  How children evaluate the effects of a War Child programme. In this report we present the findings of a study in Uganda which explored the effects of War Child’s life skills based intervention ‘I DEAL’. In the study child-friendly and participatory monitoring and evaluation tools were piloted. For more information, contact

The full report is available here


An Experience of Capacity Development on Education in Emergencies from Lesotho – UNICEF

From the INEE newsletter:

In 2009, the UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) launched a

strategy for national capacity development in partnership with Save the Children under the aegis

of the IASC Education Cluster. The objective was to  build and strengthen sustainable national

emergency preparedness and response capacity in the education sector in ESAR holistically and

strategically, by supporting national authorities at all levels.


A first step in achieving this objective is  training of  frontline responders from Ministries of

Education and other authorities from national, provincial and district levels, and key education

actors. A training package was devised which centres on practical and technical components of

education in emergencies including contingency planning and preparedness processes to mitigate

the impact of disasters on schools and learners. A key focus on disaster risk reduction (DRR) in

countries and localities experiencing recurrent emergencies such as floods, cyclones and drought

has also been incorporated.
The full report is available here

At What Age… Are School Children Employed, Married and Taken to Court?

INEE has reported on a recent report from Right to Education

This publication analyses national legislation on the duration of compulsory education and legal safeguards against adult responsibilities infringing on children’s education. What it shows is that children’s right to education is currently under threat from early marriage, child labour and imprisonment; States have not adapted their legislation in favour of the right to education, and they do not have agreed standards for the transition from childhood to adulthood either internationally or nationally.

The full report is available here

World Development Report 2012 – Gender Equality and Development.

The lives of girls and women have changed dramatically over the past quarter century. The pace of change has been astonishing in some areas, but in others, progress toward gender equality has been limited—even in developed countries.

This year’s World Development Report: Gender Equality and Development argues that gender equality is a core development objective in its own right. It is also smart economics. Greater gender equality can enhance productivity, improve development outcomes for the next generation, and make institutions more representative.

The Report also focuses on four priority areas for policy going forward: (i) reducing excess female mortality and closing education gaps where they remain, (ii) improving access to economic opportunities for women (iii) increasing women’s voice and agency in the household and in society and (iv) limiting the reproduction of gender inequality across generations.

The  Complete Report can be downloaded below, or can be selectively downloaded, chapter by chapter.

World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development  (19MB, pdf) I Issuu

Main Messages (multilingual)

English | Español | Français | عربي | Русский | Português | 中文

Overview (multilingual)

English | Español | Français | عربي Русский | Português | 中文


A guide to the Report (1.0MB, pdf)

Download by Chapter:

The Report has nine chapters in three parts.

Part I Taking stock of gender equality

Part 1:Taking stock of gender equality—presents the facts that will then provide the foundation for the rest of the Report. It combines existing and new data to document changes in key dimensions of gender equality over the past quarter century and across regions and countries. Its main message is that very rapid and, in some cases, unprecedented progress has been made in some dimensions of gender equality (chapter 1), but that it has not reached all women or been uniform across all dimensions of gender equality (chapter 2).

Chapter 1: A Wave of progress (913KB, pdf)
Chapter 2: The persistence of gender inequality (1.2MB, pdf)
Spread 1: Women’s pathways to empowerment: Do all roads lead to Rome? (219KB, pdf)

Part II What has driven progress? What impedes it?

The contrast between the patterns and trends described in the first two chapters of the Report prompts one to ask what explains the progress or lack of it. Part 2—What has driven progress? What impedes it?—constitutes the analytical core of the Report. It presents the conceptual framework and uses it to examine the factors that have fostered change and the constraints that have slowed progress. The analysis focuses on gender differences in education and health (chapter 3), agency (chapter 4), and access to economic opportunities (chapter 5)—discussing the roles of economic growth, households, markets, and institutions in determining outcomes in these three spheres. Part 2 concludes with a discussion of the impact of globalization on gender inequality, paying attention to the opportunities and challenges created by new economic and social trends (chapter 6). The analysis in these four chapters leads to the identification of four priority areas for action: reducing gender gaps in human capital endowments, promoting higher access to economic opportunities among women, closing gender gaps in household and societal voice, and limiting the intergenerational reproduction of gender inequality.

Chapter 3: Education and health: Where do gender differences really matter? (4.7MB, pdf)
Chapter 4: Promoting women’s agency (3.0MB, pdf)
Spread 2: The decline of the breadwinner: Men in the 21st century (175KB, pdf)
Chapter 5: Gender differences in employment and why they matter (4.9MB, pdf)
Chapter 6: Globalization’s impact on gender equality: What’s happened and what’s needed (1.0MB, pdf)
Spread 3: Changing ages, changing bodies, changing times—Adolescent boys and girls (177KB.pdf)

Part III The role of and potential for public action

Part 3—The role and potential for public action—presents policy recommendations, examines the political economy of reforms for gender equality, and proposes a global agenda for action. The discussion starts with a detailed description of policy options addressing the four priority areas, complemented with concrete illustrations of successful interventions in different contexts (chapter 7). An examination of the political economy of gender reforms follows, with an emphasis on the issues that distinguish reform in this area from other types of redistributive or equality-enhancing reforms (chapter 8). Global action on gender equality should focus on complementing country efforts on the four priority areas identified in the Report (chapter 9).

Chapter 7: Public action for gender equality (1.0MB, pdf)
Chapter 8: The political economy of gender reform (1.1MB, pdf)
Chapter 9: A global agenda for greater gender equality (522KB, pdf)

Durban COP17 climate change conference – update 2nd December

Today in Durban:

13:15-14:45: Adaptation, development and information and communication technology
The ICT sector has made strides in matching its innovation to the needs of mitigation and sustainability. This event shows how ICTs can also contribute to adaptation. Keynote speaker: Ms. Dina Deliwe Pule, Minister of Communications, South Africa. Venue: Hex River.

15:00-16:30: Intergenerational Inquiry

The UNFCCC Executive Secretary, key negotiators from developed and developing countries and young people will discuss how their actions contribute to a collective solution to climate challenges, and what they see as important prerequisites for reaching an effective post-2012 agreement. Venue: Indwe River.

16:45-18:15: African Climate Stories – Voices from the Front Lines of the Climate Crisis
This panel will feature five young people from across Africa presenting their stories on how they are confronting the climate crisis in their everyday lives – a compelling call to action. Venue: Indwe River.

Day 4 update -on video

From Michael Jacobs of the Guardian:

UN climate talks see ‘delayer countries’ throw away the 2C goal

The goal of holding global warming to 2C will be missed if the world’s largest economies insist on delaying negotiations

When psychologists identified the phenomenon of cognitive dissonance – the ability to believe two contradictory things at the same time – they might have been describing the world of international climate changenegotiations.

Only this month, two authoritative international agencies have pointed out that the world has only a few years left in which to begin taking sufficient action to combat dangerous global warming. The United Nations Environment Programme’s Bridging the Emissions Gap reportshows that, even if all countries implement their emissions targets for 2020 to their maximum extent, total emissions in that year will still exceed the level required to hold global warming to the UN’s 2C goal. Further action is needed now, it pointed out, if this emissions gap is to be closed. At the same time, the International Energy Agency warned that the world has only five years seriously to start replacing fossil fuels by low carbon energy and energy efficiency. Failure to make the required investment by 2017 would “lock in” high future emissions to such an extent that the 2C goal would become unattainable.

Yet at the UN climate talks in Durban, delegates are arguing about whether a new round of negotiations should not even begin until 2015, and not come into effect until after 2020. Some countries appear to be throwing the 2C goal away even as they rhetorically reaffirm it.

The positions being taken on this give the lie to the lazy view that climate talks are always a matter of developed versus developing countries. On the one side of this argument are the countries most vulnerable to climate change – the small islands and least developed nations – and the European Union. These want negotiations on a new legal agreement to begin next year, to conclude in 2015, and to enter into force as early as possible thereafter (the EU has said no later than 2020). On the other side, advocating that no new negotiations should start until after 2015 at the earliest, is an unlikely alliance of the usual developed country laggards – the US, Canada, Russia and Japan – and two of the largest emerging economies, China and India.

The delayers argue that now is not the time to start a new set of negotiations. After concluding the last round in Cancun a year ago, the priority now is to implement the decisions reached. They point out that countries have only just started to implement their own domestic emissions reduction plans, with most struggling to put into place low carbon and green growth policies, so they are not yet ready to start thinking about new ones. In the current economic climate, the chances of agreeing new commitments for 2020 are anyhow negligible. And the UN has already committed to a review of the 2C goal to take place in 2013-15 – which will provide the proper foundation, it is argued, for new negotiations after then. (One Indian delegate has said in Durban that the world should wait until the next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2014 to decide whether there is in fact an emissions gap.)

For many of those in the delayers’ group, these arguments are of course just cover for the fact that they don’t want to commit to a new legal agreement at all. While the Kyoto refuseniks (the US, now joined by Canada) dislike any kind of binding international obligations, China and India are seeking to postpone the day when they are subject to them. What none can explain however is how delay is compatible with achieving the 2C goal they have all espoused.

Indeed, this remains a source of disagreement even within the “start negotiations now” camp. The small islands and least developed countries want any new commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol to last only another five years (2013-17), with a new set of targets to begin in 2018. But the EU is loathe to reopen the huge and delicate framework of its internal climate policies, which are all tied to 2020, fearing that they are more likely to unravel than be tightened.

The answer almost certainly lies in looking at how the UN review scheduled for 2013-15 can generate greater immediate ambition. There is still disagreement among parties in Durban as to what the review is for. Some see it as just a reporting process on what countries are doing to implement their commitments. But others view it as a chance to assess whether 2C is indeed the right global goal (the small island states want it to be 1.5C) and how mitigation can be collectively ramped up to achieve it. That would allow not only new commitments to be made for 2025 and 2030 – which must form the bedrock of any new post-Kyoto agreement – but the strengthening of the commitments already made for 2020. There is indeed little chance of this happening now.

But by 2015, when (perhaps) the worst of the economic crisis may be over and the new IPCC report has re-awakened the world to the dangers that climate changes poses, it might just be possible.

And from One World.Net -check up to date news on climate change and other topics

Check also –Adopt a

From AlertNet

01 Dec 2011 12:37

Source: Content Partner // Inter Press Service
By Busani Bafana

DURBAN, South Africa, Dec 1 (IPS) – Zambian dairy farmer, Effatah Jele, does not believe in farming luck but in pragmatism because of climate change.“Farmers should be taught about good farming practises instead of blaming everything on climate change,” said Jele, who runs a dairy farm in the Luanshya Cooperbelt Province of Zambia and is the vice chairperson of the Dairy Association.

“Changes are there, no doubt, but it is also important for farmers to have the right farming practises for them to survive those changes. For example, some women are growing vegetables and, due to ignorance, dig the soil right up to edge of the river. Then, when it rains, the soil is all washed into the stream and after a few years the stream becomes shallow. And some say this is because of climate change.”

Jele said changes in the weather pattern have serious implications for farmers like her who depend on increasingly scarce water resources to keep a viable dairy herd. Crop farmers, she said, are worse off unless science and practical ideas come the rescue.

“I feel our scientists should go around talking to the farmers and making them understand the difference between climate change and self-inflicted problems through using the wrong ways of farming. That is important, because otherwise we will not find solutions that will ensure food security,” Jele said.

“Some of things we blame on climate change are failures by us farmers to do the right thing at the right time. Because there is a song of climate change, we are all singing ‘climate change, climate change’,” said Jele.

Fears of what climate change will do for African agriculture are real and in southern Africa farmers are taking action to ensure that negotiators at 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17) in Durban get the message.

The Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU) – granted observer status at the United Nations Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) session – wants the global negotiations to put agriculture firmly on the climate change agenda and establish a work programme that will outline and coordinate necessary responses such as a specific allocation to the sector under the Green Climate Fund.

Climate smart initiatives such as conservation farming, water harvesting will not only help farmers cope with extreme weather but also ensure they curb carbon emissions. According to scientists, agriculture is responsible for between 15 to 30 percent of global emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, which affects the earth’s temperature.

Farmers are campaigning for a deal that specifically includes agriculture, which will be heavily affected by climate change in terms of reduced crop yields and low productivity. For them productive and sustainable and farms are the insurance against the risks of climate change.

Noting the close links between the challenges of addressing climate change and feeding a growing global population, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) President Kanayo Nwanze is to call on COP 17 to focus on helping half a billion smallholder farmers in developing countries to grow more food in environmentally sustainable ways.

According to research by the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research, climate change will shrink agriculture productivity with projections of a rise in temperatures and an increase in droughts and floods, which would alter agricultural seasons and decrease harvests

“Our expectations as farmers of Southern Africa is to have agriculture included in the text that will be agreed at the end of the Durban COP 17,” said Stephanie Aubin, SACAU Policy Development Officer.

“Agriculture must be included in the specific text so that there are specific funds and specific action that are implemented.”

A draft text was discussed and negotiated during the past COP meetings in Copenhagen and Cancun but was dropped because agriculture was lumped together with bunker fuels.

“It is important that agriculture has special treatment at the UNFCCC negotiations because its special in terms of livelihoods for millions of people in Africa and food security for the planet and it’s the most climate sensitive sector which at the same time can contribute adaptation and mitigation efforts,” said Aubin.

“We want a specific chapter on agriculture in the text and long term action as it will unlock funding needed by the agriculture sector in Africa to response efficiently to Climate change.”

Aubin was optimistic that with the COP 17 being held in Africa, African governments will put the required effort to push for agriculture in the final text.

A grouping of 15 global and regional organisations have endorsed a call to action for COP 17 climate change negotiators stating that whilst agriculture is a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, it has significant potential to be part of the solution to climate change.

“At the upcoming climate change negotiations in Durban, we call on negotiators to recognise the important role of agriculture in addressing climate change so that a new era of agricultural innovation and knowledge sharing can be achieved, said a grouping of global and regional, ” said the statement issued ahead of the Agriculture and Rural Development Day event to be held at COP 17.

“Specifically, we ask that they approve a work programme for agriculture under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice so that the sector can take early action to determine the long-term investments needed to transform agriculture to meet future challenges.”

Bruce Campbell, Director of the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), told IPS that agriculture has been neglected in the negotiations so far, despite the sector accounting for between 16 to 29 percent of total emissions. Additionally, he said farmers, especially poor farmers in the developing world, are going to be particularly hard-hit by climate change.

“The agricultural sector must be empowered to take early action to determine the long-term investments needed to transform agriculture to meet future food and energy challenges effectively,” Campbell said. “The Agriculture and Rural Development Day will not only reflect this call-to-action, but it will also showcase a series of success stories in agriculture, which specific actions could be further scaled up with further investment and a coordinated approach to implementation.”

Find out more about the forces behind climate change – but also about the growing citizen awareness and new climate policies towards sustainable development