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Warsaw Walkout Highlights The Absence Of Urgent Climate Action
Warsaw Walkout Highlights The Absence Of Urgent Climate Action2013-11-26

Talks at the Warsaw climate change conference, expected to conclude on Friday, were extended into Saturday as nations scrambled to negotiate agreements, although less than substantial advancements in the end materialized.

On Thursday, 800 participants walked out of the conference, including indigenous peoples, farmers and women's organizations.

They were protesting the lack of progress toward a rigorous climate agreement. Little headway had been made on funding for the loss and damage caused by climate change. There have been no firm commitments on the emission reductions needed to prevent catastrophic climate impacts—some countries even announced cutbacks in their emissions commitments during the conference. And $100 million was committed to the UN Adaptation Fund, but that amount is far too small to finance adequate adaptation to climate change.

"The Warsaw climate conference, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing,” the groups said in a joint statement.

The lack of robust action will disproportionately hurt the world’s most vulnerable people. Indigenous peoples were among the hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and they are likely to be in harm’s way again when the next disaster strikes.

The walkout was the first of its kind at an international climate conference. The boycotters wore t-shirts reading “#volveremos”—“we will return”—as they made their exit, alluding to the next UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP), to be held in Lima in 2014. Civil society leaders pledged to further strengthen organizations, networks, and coalitions during the upcoming year in order to ensure that an effective climate agreement is finally reached next year.

In order to combat polluters we need action but also responses based on evidence, including adaptation plans, timeframes and costs. Indigenous peoples often lead the way in environmental stewardship, and the goal of the IPCCA local assessment is to contribute to develop such knowledge. Leading up to COP 20 in Lima, the IPCCA Initiative will also be further strengthening itself as an indigenous network, with the aim of not only providing a unique perspective to the currently stalled international policy debate, but also significant and concrete contributions. The IPCCA is well positioned to influence preparations for the conference and ensure a favorable tone is set due to the Secretariat’s strategic location in Peru, the 2014 COP’s host country.

During 2014, IPCCA Local Assessments will proceed with the implementation of evaluations in order to further gather, harmonize and subsequently synthesize findings through the Conditions and Trends phase of the IPCCA Methodology. IPCCA will develop a Synthesis Report which will illustrate a biocultural perspective on emerging issues in climate science and policy by highlighting communities’ traditional knowledge, a vital resource in developing adequate and evidence-based responses to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The IPCCA methodology will also be further fine-tuned throughout the year in order to present an innovative and distinct methodological approach for climate change assessments at the COP, highlighting both local climate impacts and traditional knowledge systems.

Photo: Flickr / Nitin Sethi

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