COP20 fails to provide certainty on climate finance and human rights | Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) Skip to content Skip to navigation

COP20 fails to provide certainty on climate finance and human rights

The 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP20) was held this month in Lima, Peru, with the goal of drafting a new climate agreement, to be signed in Paris in 2015. The conference, however, concluded with an unimpressive draft agreement that failed in two key tasks: providing certainty about funding to combat climate change, and including human rights protections in climate actions.

For AIDA and other civil society organizations, it was important that the Lima agreement lay out a roadmap for how and when governments will fulfill their commitment to provide 100 billion dollars per year by 2020 to finance mitigation activities and adaptation to climate change.

"Developing countries need to know with certainty how much money they have and what the source of it will be, so they can plan their fight against climate change," said Andrea Rodriguez, a senior attorney for AIDA.

The Conference provided no such certainty. This is evidenced by the decision made on the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which left out finance and adaptation—key aspects to the countries most vulnerable to extreme changes in climate. 

The INDCs decision was meant to contain specific information on the scope, format, timeframe and assessment. Instead it included only contributions for mitigation, without stating whether or not they will be compulsory.

During the conference, AIDA and global allied organizations encouraged State Parties to ensure the draft of the new agreement include specific language on the protection, promotion, respect for, and observance of human rights in all climate actions.

As a result of the collective effort, the Philippines, Mexico, and Ghana made specific calls for the draft and final agreements to include such references. "There is no doubt that climate change interferes with the enjoyment of human rights. The agreement in Lima includes no reference to human rights, but we will work hard to ensure their full inclusion in the Paris agreement, not only in words, but also in deed," said María José Veramendi Villa, an AIDA senior attorney.

Yet it was not all bad. AIDA drew attention to the new pledges that had arrived to the Green Climate Fund, which brought its total funding to 10.2 billion dollars. We highlighted the momentum in Latin America that contributed to that achievement, with countries such as Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Panama making the effort to contribute, despite their status as developing countries.

"Although all contributions are welcome, it is important to emphasize that the amount collected so far does not yet cover the financing needs of developing countries," Rodriguez stated.

The conference also made public the climate finance actions of governmental and nongovernmental actors in the region. The Climate Finance Day organized by AIDA and allied organizations facilitated a dialogue on regional progress in preparing for accessing resources, the increasing involvement of the private sector in fighting climate change, and the conditions that such support requires—legal certainty being one of them. 

Also that day, civil society shared their experiences with transparency and accountability, which are essential not only to obtain greater resources, but also to ensure their effective use. AIDA reported on the opportunity the Green Climate Fund provides for countries of the continent to improve public participation in the design, development, and implementation of policies and climate projects.

Much remains to be done to find effective solutions to climate change. We will continue contributing to the achievement of this goal!

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