What do Developing Countries Request from the SBSTA in Doha this Year?

by Lurette Paulime

In the first plenary session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), parties called for more guidelines and technical assistance for a better implementation of the Nairobi Work Program. The Nairobi Work Program, a comprehensive work program of activities under the (SBSTA) aims “to assist all parties, in particular developing countries, including the least developed countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).” Developing countries are the most vulnerable to climate change; the objective of the Nairobi work program integrates socio-economic activities which are an integral part of adaptation to climate change and focuses on regional and national actions. This program has been a focal point for developing countries to develop national activities of adaptation to climate change. Under the SBSTA, this programme facilitates the cooperation of a broad range of stakeholders from developing countries to discuss and provide recommendations for the achievement of the objectives of the work programme.

At the first plenary, parties exchange their points of view about their assessment and tactics at regional and national levels to mitigate climate change while identifying their needs and gaps. Representatives from developing countries as well developed countries, civil society constituencies and the Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO) gave reports about their experiences in adaptation activities related to agriculture and food security.  Those reports allow state members to learn on the planning practices of other countries and find a better way to implement their work program under the SBSTA.

While parties recognize the effort of the SBSTA to support the implementation of the Nairobi program, they also emphasized new guidelines and modalities of the transition of the new commitment period of the Kyoto protocol. With the transition of the second commitment period of the Kyoto protocol, parties are asking for a national monitoring system and domestic guidelines for a concrete outcome of the Nairobi program. They underline the serious threats that climate change poses to agriculture and food security and call the SBSTA to integrate climate change concerns and food security in its work program. For example Algeria was speaking on behalf of G77 and china highlights that “mitigation and adaptation should be addressed in a balanced manner for the achievement of the Nairobi work program and any future work should enhance the effort of developing countries. Awareness on the effects of climate change and agriculture food security should be taken into consideration especially in developing countries.”  Civil society also called the SBSTA to empower women and farmers and enhance their knowledge while contributing to mitigate climate change, and requested the SBTA to expand dialogue on agriculture and food security and provide substantial funding to respond to the need of farmers. This is just the beginning; we are waiting to see what outcome will come from the COP18 in Doha this year in addressing the needs of developing countries to adapt to climate change.

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