Indian Delegation Of NGOs Has Its Say At Cancun

A delegation of non-government organisations assembled under the banner “Beyond Copenhagen” has returned here from Cancun, Mexico, after making interventions for bringing agricultural and food security issues to the mainstream climate negotiations at the 16 {+t} {+h} U.N. Climate Summit. The team took part in the side events, held rallies and lobbied with negotiators during the much talked about global event.The members of the delegation, which was the biggest from India, highlighted the significance of small-holder and low-input farming practised in developing countries and talked about their potential for climate change mitigation. The 16 {+t} {+h} edition of the Conference of Parties (COP-16) of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was apprised of low-emission traditions of Asian countries.

A side event titled “Small holders’ agriculture in climate negotiations: Agenda for COP-16” organised by the delegation with the focus on variability of agriculture and farmers, lack of priority on livelihood and food security and why COP must respond to the need for tackling impact on agriculture was attended by about 150 participants of different nationalities.

Jaipur-based Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants’ Society secretary Sharad Joshi, who led the delegation, said here on Tuesday that the team shared with the official Indian delegation and COP president Patricia Espinosa the recommendations made at several rounds of discussions and side events.

The delegation also met Union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh, who was representing India at the summit, on December 6 and pointed out to him that farmers in the developing countries were facing rising temperatures, decreasing rainfall and erratic monsoons which had made agriculture “highly vulnerable” to climate change impacts.

Bharat Jan Vigyan Jattha national secretary Soumya Dutta requested Mr. Ramesh to ensure that the benefits of market-based mechanism are not cornered by multi-national companies alone. Former Rajasthan High Court judge Panachand Jain emphasised the need for establishment of an international tribunal on climate change that could ensure compliance with the Kyoto Protocol.

Mr. Joshi said the delegation members were also interviewed by UNFCCC’s Climate TV. The team members, including a farmer, Subhash Purohit, talked about the challenges before agriculturists, life cycle energy and technology choices before the farming community.

The delegation made out a strong case for adaptation funding for agricultural inputs such as landscaping in waterlogged areas, weather forecasting, protection structures in coastal and wildlife areas, irrigation in rain-fed regions and insurance packages for improving the crop productivity.

In an attempt to make its demands clearer and gain more adherents to the issues raised by it, the “Beyond Copenhagen” coalition attended a conference on climate change adaptation in The Hague and the North-South Civil Society Caucus on Climate Crisis in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on its way to Cancun.

On December 3, marking the 26 {+t} {+h} anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy, the delegation took out a silent march at Cancunmesse – the civil society rendezvous at Climate Summit – demanding a stronger legal framework on environment to prevent recurrence of such a disaster. Former Rajasthan High Court judge V. S. Dave addressing the rallyists said those responsible for the industrial disaster must be brought to book.

The team drew the attention of the world event participants to low-cost, low-energy and water stress subsistence agricultural practices adopted in the desert State of Rajasthan amid challenges faced by small and marginal farmers and food producers. “These methods have the potential for leading the world in agricultural adaptations,” said Mr. Joshi.

Mr. Joshi expressed the hope that the Cancun Text, adopted at the end of the summit, would lead to a binding commitment in the next COP at Durban in 2011. “It would also be interesting to see the progress and implementation of the proposed Green Climate Fund for which the richer nations have promised to contribute 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2020,” he said.

The Centre for Community Economics – which has undertaken several projects for climate protection in Rajasthan as an observer group accredited to UNFCCC – welcomed the progress on the technology transfer issues, but it was disappointed at the negotiators’ failure to remove the provisions relating to intellectual property rights.

The team comprised mainly climate campaigners, development practitioners, social activists, former judges and State Ministers. The members included Madhya Pradesh Science and Tehnology Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya, Arunachal Rural Development Minister Takar Marde, Vijay Singh Negi of Beej Bachao Andolan, Y. V. Malla Reddy of Accion Fraterna, Andhra Pradesh, and Ajay Jha of Pairvi, Delhi.


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