17 Sep

PRESS RELEASE OF THE 48TH MID-INTERSESSIONAL MEETING OF SUBSIDIARY BODIES OF UNFCCC


IFSA delegates from Indonesia and India outside the United Nations Conference Centre
Source: private documentation

Greetings, everyone!

We would like to share our experiences during the 48th Mid-intersessional Meeting of Subsidiary Bodies of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC SB 48.2) which was held on 4th – 9th September 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand. This particular event facilitated the meeting of Subsidiary Bodies for Sciencetific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), Subsidiary Bodies for Implementation (SBI), and the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA). SBSTA and SBI work together to address issues related to the vulnerability of developing countries against climate change and prevention actions done by developed countries. SBSTA and SBI generally hold two meetings in a year.

YOUNGO Preparatory Session
Source: private documentation

On September 3rd 2018, IFSA delegates attended the YOUNGO preparatory session. This session was held by YOUNGO to prepare youth participation during the UNFCCC SB 48.2. YOUNGO is a constituency representing youth and children in the UNFCCC session. delegates who are members of YOUNGO must attend this session to get basic knowledges about the UNFCCC session, which includes the birth history of UNFCCC, working bodies within the UNFCCC as well as the latest developments of several international agreements resulted from the UNFCCC session (Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement). In addition, the youth delegates present were also given an explanation regarding YOUNGO’s role as representatives of youth and children within the UNFCCC. In the middle of the session, the delegation from IFSA had the opportunity to get acquainted with several delegates from Gambia, Malaysian Youth Delegation (MYD), and the British Columbian Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC).

Opening plenary of UNFCCC SB 48.2
Source: private documentation

After the Spokes Council ended, we attended the opening session of the UNFCCC SB 48.2 which was held at ESCAP Hall. A short greeting was given by Mr. Frank Bainimarama, who served as the Prime Minister of Fiji and President of the COP23 in 2017 in Bonn and also the leader of the UN Climate Change negotiation. Several other figures also gave brief speeches, such as the President of COP24 Mr. Michal Kurtyka, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand General Surasak Karnjanarat, and Executive Secretary of the UN Climate Change Ms. Patricia Espinosa.

At this opening session, Mr. Frank Bainimarama said that the negotiation session in Bonn in May 2018 wasn’t produced significant development for all elements of PAWP, so an additional session was needed to provide an opportunity for parties to produce more detailed and adequate documents to be negotiated by UN member delegations regarding Paris Agreement implementation. At this opening session, Mr. Michal Kurtyka said that the state delegation needs to make the best use of UNFCCC SB 48.2 in Bangkok to build collective enthusiasm in order to achieve the PAWP adoption target at COP24 in December 2018.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Ms. Patricia Espinosa emphasized that developing countries barely contribute to carbon emissions which cause global warming were actually the countries who vulnerable the most to the negative impacts of climate change. Ms. Statement Espinosa as Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC also leads to the fact that developed countries must immediately fulfill the promise of those who undertake to provide funding of 100 million US dollars to developing countries or countries with poor economic conditions. This funding assistance is part of the commitments of developed countries in the Paris Agreement and will be used to assist climate change mitigation and adaptation projects or actions in developing countries.

SBI Agenda item 5: Common timeframes for NDCs Implementation
Source: private documentation

Among all the differents agenda items, I chose the SBI agenda item no.5 regarding the common timeframes for the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as my main focus. NDCs is my favorite topic because in my country’s NDCs (Indonesia), forestry sector plays a huge role as the goverments set to cut the GHG emissions from this sector up to 17.2% out of 29% (total target) by 2030. The SBI discussions on agenda item 5 were co-facilitated by Marianne Karlsen (Norway) and George Wamukoya (Kenya).

This discussion was focused on the common timeframes for parties to renew or update their NDCs. Currently, those parties with a 5-year NDC are requested to communicate by 2020 a new NDC and those parties with a 10-year NDC are requested to communicate or update their NDC by 2020.[1] A group delivered their opinion saying that developed countries should apply common timeframes, but developing countries should have more flexibility because they need more time and bigger efforts to prepare the implementations of their NDCs. Several developed and developing countries objected to this option, because a single common timeframe must be applied to all countries in order to form an effective review of the impact of NDCs every 5 years, known as the global stocktake. The real implementation of NDCs will start on 1st January 2013, but countries are more than welcome to start earlier (in a voluntary basis).

The speakers of Asian People Movement on Debt and Development: Transforming Energy Systems for People and Communities
Source: private documentation

Another session that I also attended was the Asian People Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) press conference titled “ Transforming Energy Systems for People and Communities”. The speakers were representing some Asian countries such as Indonesia, Philippines, Bahrain, India and also Japan were talked about fossil fuel energy in their country region, as we all know that energy is  very crucial to the implementation of Paris Agremeent. The APMDD demands the goverments to stop using fossil fuel and shift to clean & renewable energy. The Philippines is threatened by coal power plants, and Indonesia soon will build a 15000 megawatt coal power plant. In Japan, coal projects are still getting financial support from the goverment. One of my favorite quotes from this forum was delivered by Lucy Cadena, the Climate Justice and Energy Coordinator of Friends of the Earth International “even if climate change is not happening, we still have to shift from fossil fuel in the future.”

“Rise for Climate” March in front of  United Nations Conference Centre
Source: private documentation

The UNFCCC session held in Bangkok this time was also marked by demonstrations called “Rise for Climate March” carried out by various parties from civil society and conducted outside the United Nations Conference Center building. But this demonstration was so peaceful, organized and disciplined, so it did not disturb the UN agenda or the activities of citizens in Bangkok. There were approximately 200 people with a diverse backgrounds who joined this demonstration. The fishermen came to bring their catches such as shrimp and crabs while holding banners containing requests for countries delegates to immediately take concrete action upon climate change effects. They complained about the damage of coral reefs and coastal abrasion which caused their catches to decline over the past few years. They also asked the government to include coastal abrasion prevention on the national agenda for climate change prevention.

In addition to a group of fishermen, there was also a group of activists on gender equality issues and youth representatives including YOUNGO members who took part in the action. Despite coming from different backgrounds, all activists who attended the demonstration had the same purpose, which was to ask delegates from UN member countries to work harder and provide concrete evidence of efforts to combat global climate change.

IFSA delegates with other YOUNGO members
source: private documentation

Being a representative of IFSA LC UGM and also IFSA World in the UNFCCC session SB 48.2 in Bangkok was a very memorable experience for me. This program was the very first UN meeting I’ve ever attended, so I tried my best to pay attention to all the processes that took place during the 6 days of climate change policy negotiations. The UNFCCC meeting this time is a little different from the Conference of Parties (COP). At the COP which is held at the end of each year, in addition to the main session for discussion of international policy documents on climate change, there are also pavilions from various countries and side events that are more informal. But at the UNFCCC SB 48.2 were ano pavilions and side events at all. This is due to the urgency and great expectations of UN members to be able to complete the formulation of the Paris Agreement Work Progamme (PAWP) in a short time. Being a participant in an international forum and working with others from various countries and diverse backgrounds successfully motivated me to increase my capacity as a youth. Joining with YOUNGO members also opened my horizons to the issue of climate change that is very complex from another perspective other than forestry, such as from a legal, social, and economic perspective. I hope that in the future, Indonesian youth will have more opportunities to participate in global scale events, especially in the forestry sector. Hopefully the knowledge and experiences which I gained during the UNFCCC SB 48.2 session can be useful to increase youth participation in efforts to make global climate change prevention and policies.


[1] Summary of the Bangkok Climate Change Conference, Earth Negotiation Bulletin (ENB) vol.12 no.733, 12th September 2018 (http://enb.iisd.org/vol12/enb12733e.html)

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