UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon urged the ministers gathered at the 19th Conference of Parties (COP 19) to take ‘tougher action’ to reach a global deal to address climate change in 2015. While recognizing that the world’s leaders faced a steep climb ahead to arrive at an arrangement for an international climate deal, he cautioned that ‘people now face and fear the wrath of a warming planet’, in obvious reference to super typhoon Haiyan that ravaged the Philippines more than a week ago. He challenged governments to ‘set the bar higher’ in committing to climate action.
Ban-Ki Moon also called on governments, especially from the developed countries, to step up aid to help poor nations slow their rising greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of global warming. He alluded to the issue of climate finance, currently the subject of intense debates with disappointing results, and said that ‘I sincerely hope the developed world should keep their promise so all the nations of the planet Earth can move together.’
Negotiators from many developing countries indicated that this year’s summit will be the ‘finance COP’, meaning they expect to resolve long-standing issues and disagreements on the amount of resources that will be actually committed to enable particularly vulnerable countries adapt to the impacts of climate change. A High Level Ministerial meeting is being convened for that purpose, but this will remain a token gesture of dialogue if no concrete flow of resources (to countries affected by climate change) will materialize. This is the most likely outcome of the meeting, especially in the wake of Australia pulling out of its earlier pledge for climate financing, and with the United States ruling out any new pledges in the light of its own fiscal problems.
Meanwhile, Venezuela convened a meeting for civil society organizations and its head of delegation Mrs. Claudia Salerno gave a briefing on Venezuela’s organization of a Social Pre-COP in Caracas in October 2014. They envision the Social Pre-COP to be a process that will involve diverse actors from civil society and governments from all over the world, and which will result in an outcome that, while carrying the issues, analysis, and aspirations of social movements and grassroots organizations, will also be able to feed into the formal UN climate negotiations. This initiative by Venezuela, i.e. bridging the disconnect between the voices of people from the ground and the language of the negotiations, is a bold move that has never been done before. Mrs. Salerno said that now is the ‘time for craziness, because we have tried so many things in the official process (of climate negotiations) and it didn’t work, so we are going to try to do something else. We don’t have anything to lose, but we need to try everything we can for the world to have ambitious aims.’