7th Dec 2011 COP 17 Update: Climate Change Adaptation must be prioritized as talks enter a critical phase
DURBAN — As United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday admitted that securing a binding climate deal would be “challenging”, there are calls for greater inputs by business and civil society. Last year’s UN climate change talks pledged $100bn although the sources have yet to be identified. It is expected that 80% of the funds needed to deal with the effects of climate change will have to come from the private sector.
The UN 17th Conference of the Party (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa has brought together over 15,000 governments private sector, civil society and even business owners wishing to weigh in on these very critical negotiations. The great number of participants indicates the growing momentum for real action. African nations continue to push for more binding carbon-curbing commitments, climate financing and technology transfers that will help them adapt to extreme climate changes.
The conference rooms are filled with seemingly cross-purpose discussions. On the one hand are governments and civil society armed with stories, statistics and photos of millions in a desperate struggle to survive the impacts of the changing climate. On the other, are negotiations consisting of government parties and observers dissecting complex legal texts that echo the seriousness of the matter at hand.
In the corridors, there are rumors of a Durban agreement that shall postpone any actual commitment for another ten years. The consequences of another ten years of inaction would be catastrophic.
In 2011, Mali in West Africa and parts of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia in East Africa are engulfed in the worst drought in years. Over 14 million lives are at stake. Immediate long-term solutions for climate change adaptation must be prioritized in this final week of the COP 17 talks.
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