- 15/6/2013: The current Millennium Development Goals are set to expire in 2015. The impact of climate change must be central to any post 2015 development framework, say representatives from African civil society at a Conference in Nairobi.
Civil society representatives from across Africa have called for greater recognition of the impacts of climate change as nations begin to define a new, post 2015 global development framework. The Nairobi meeting, jointly organised by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and Christian Aid in February, provided an opportunity for African civil society to reflect on opportunities for influencing the post 2015 framework. Participants came from networks and organisations in over 30 African countries including the Malawian Civil Society Network on Climate Change. The meeting also provided an opportunity for cross-learning by involving two civil society representatives from the Philippines as well as the Southern Voices Cross-learning Regional Facilitator for Latin America.
Will the post-2015 goals be sustainable?
The United Nations commissioned a process to define the global development framework after the expiry of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015. This process includes the creation of a High Level Panel, over 50 national and thematic consultations, community-based discussions and a 'Global Online Conversation'. Alongside the process of defining a new development framework, an Open Working Group was formed at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 to define Sustainable Development Goals. It is anticipated that the two initiatives will be streamlined into a single process at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2013.
From a climate change perspective, 2015 is the year during which a new global deal for limiting greenhouse gases is scheduled for agreement. Accordingly, the processes of defining a global development framework beyond 2015 offers an opportunity for articulating climate concerns - and mechanisms for addressing them - in addition to ongoing engagement with the existing processes of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Yet it was apparent during the Nairobi meeting that African environment and climate change networks have not been actively involved in the processes that are taking place at national and global levels to define the development framework beyond 2015.
In Africa climate change is undermining current Millenium Goals
A snapshot review of progress made towards implementation of the MDGs showed that climate change is undermining most of the current MDGs, especially in the African context. For example, targets on education are being negatively affected by floods in some parts of Africa as students are prevented from attending school due to rising floodwaters. For these reasons, participants called for the Beyond-2015 development framework to be underpinned by the principles of 'the polluter pays', common but differentiated responsibilities with respective capabilities, equity and climate justice. A statement developed at the end of the meeting calls for all countries to make a contribution towards the achievement of a more sustainable world, with actions based on levels of consumption, low carbon development pathways, abilities to adapt to the effects of climate change as well as to reduce risks and respond to disasters.
Climate networks must join hands to bring climate justice into the MDG process
While participants expressed concern about the limited inclusion of civil society in some of the post 2015 processes, it is equally important for environment and climate change networks to be proactive and to take advantage of opportunities to influence the post 2015 development framework at different levels, delegates agreed. More information on the various processes and opportunities for engagement can be found here www.worldwewant2015.org.
The frustrations with the outcomes of UNFCCC meetings left members asking whether engaging in the post 2015 development framework will bring positive results that cannot be offered by the UNFCCC processes themselves. As such, participants emphasised the need for action, lest we end up with another framework that is well articulated but does not translate into tangible action in reality. It is therefore imperative that climate networks join hands in calling for an action-oriented framework that recognises the reality of climate change in developing countries.