Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Copenhagen Climate Conference: Which way forward?

Heinrich Boll Stiftung foundation held is it first public forum for this year on 21/01/10 at the Laico Regency. Unlike most of it’s previous public engagements which normally revolve around gender themes. Heinrich Boll Foundation this time wanted to engage the public on the number one global issue which is climate change. Coming head over heels of COP 15 it did bring a lot of stakeholders to the meeting and new faces to this public discourse.

The panelists for this discourse were;
• Dr. Alfred Omenya-Consultant & Lecturer at UoN (Architecture)
• Hon. David Koech-Chair, Parliamentary Network on Renewable Energy & Climate Change (PANERECC) & Chair, Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, Science & Technology
• Mithika Mwenda- Coordinator, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA)
• Suresh Patel-Businessman & Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) representative on KEPSA Environment sector board
All the above speakers were delegates of COP 15 and can be considered authorities on the issue at hand.

Dr. Alfred Omenya’s presentation was very insightful and had clear grasp of issues of climate change and the politics behind climate change. I got to learn that Africa had a common negotiating platform that it had agreed on to the run-up of COP 15. This platform is Algiers negotiating platform/Africa’s common position.
This was negotiated by all African Environment Ministers in: The African Ministerial Conference on Environment which was held in Algiers and reported their deliberations back to the African Union heads of states. This was to be adopted by all African heads of states as the negotiating platform in COP15.

Hon. David Koech informed us of the meetings that were held to the run-up of COP 15.
One of this was the summit held in Nairobi tot the run-up of COP 15. This had ‘one Africa, one voice, one position’ as its clarion call. This brought about African’s to speak in one voice. What was note worth was that parliamentarians, civic society and activist were in the same bandwagon!
However, Hon. Koech was of the view that recently developing countries such as India, China & Brazil were the main obstacles of a comprehensive agreement in Copenhagen. Also, oil producing countries were a stumbling block and poor negotiating skills used by the African delegation to COP 15.

Coming back to Kenya Hon Koech had the following sentiments:
i. Environmental conservation should be mainstreamed in our constitution e.g. as is the case in Nigeria which has a National Environmental & Climate Change Commission.
ii. Have legislations on climate change.
iii. Recruit more members as champions of climate change.
iv. Focus on alternative sources of energy such as wind (key), geothermal and solar energy (as is the case in Denmark).
v. Encourage and improve negotiations
vi. Keep momentum on fight on climate change and get citizens planting trees.

Mr. Suresh Patel gave the business side of climate change. He advocated for Kenyan’s to start green industries and for business to adopt green practices in their places of work.

Mr. Mithika Mwenda gave a hawkish presentation of us against them i.e. the developing countries against developed countries and some of the policies that g77 was adopting in the run-up to the Mexico and German conferences.

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