If the Kyoto Protocol is buried in the sands of Doha…

by Nada Zidan

"At a time when we should be getting ready for Christmas, we will be counting the dead in our country," said Bernarditas Castro-Muller, Philippines negotiator in the LCA session on agreed outcome on Monday December 3rd, 2012.

Irony of fate, typhoon Bopha hit the Philippines on the exact same day Bernarditas stated the above-and just like the hundreds of other extreme weather events that have taken place in the Philippines, it left its trail of destruction: 140 dead and still counting.

Typhoon Bopha is the first of its kind in 50 years in the Philippines, meanwhile, 27.4% below live poverty line in Venezuela, tremendous amounts of destroyed crops starve Kenya, and the major pages of the LCA remain blank.

Because we do not only stand with every developing country that spoke truth in the LCA session, but with all developing countries that are being bullied into a suicide pact, we started the least bit of our role as civil society when reaching out to the delegation of the Philippines where action needs to be taken NOW.

Today, we heard from the Philippines delegation about where their red line lies: " We will not accept a weak Kyoto Protocol, we are not going home with a Kyoto Protocol full of loopholes, and if we are marginalized in the outcome of this process, we will make our opposition clear."

Naderev Yeb Sano, lead negotiator of Philippines delegation in Doha, expressed how the Kyoto Protocol-the original plan to save the planet-is the Philippines only hope: without the KP there will be no ADP (Durban Platform for Enhanced Action) and without the ADP the LCA (Long Term Cooperative-Action) will be a "paperless text" as it already is now. 

Yeb believes that the Kyoto Protocol is the indication of sincerity, integrity, and transparency in this whole multilateral system. But since developed countries are not raising their ambition in emissions reduction, there is no room for equity and justice either. Ambition, justice, and equity are the three moral values that go hand in hand in these negotiations–this stands in contrast to the distractions we hear from developed countries about adaptation-mitigation synergies and business opportunities. That's because this entire political framework comes down to morals. Developing countries are not only ruined by developed countries lack of "ambition," but will have no means for as little as survival because finance is the linchpin for ambition whether it's in the LCA, ADP, KP or any other "we are your salvation" form of bureaucracy.  

Yeb Sano expressed the G77's hard work in attempt to bring together all developing countries to have both a unified and robust position. But that's still not enough guarantee that they will all stand together as a bloc behind their red lines preventing the lock in of a deal of inaction for the next 8 years. And what are they to do if developed countries decide for the hundredth time to not step up their ambition? Throw all morals to the wayside, and not pay back to developing countries what they owe them in return for most weather catastrophes they have caused to happen? What are we to do as a civil society that could be much stronger than getting the Philippines message across through social media, giving speeches and chanting in solidarity with all developing countries in the halls and corridors of the UNFCCC? It is simply not enough.

After hearing Yeb give the Philippines statement in the AWG-KP that only has 25 days left till the end of its first commitment period, I need an answer. I need an answer because even if Australia and the European Union say they are willing to commit to a second commitment period under KP, the outcome will not be enough to save 7 billion people.

The Philippines is not asking for a lot, it is asking for what it needs. And what it needs, like the rest of the developing countries, is not crumbs of money named finance; it needs new and additional public finance that meets their needs. Developing countries do not need a Green-Climate Fund that is a monster of it’s own, they don't need another independent financial institution. PROPER Finance mechanisms need to be addressed under the LCA that glues both the KP and ADP together, as Yeb emphasized in his meeting with the youth. 

At this point, the only question I can conclude my rambled thoughts and console my restless self with is the same questions Yeb asked developed countries and all "human beings" in the AWG-KP today,

I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?   

In solidarity with all developing countries, I make the genuine wish that 2012 will be the year in which the world found the courage to find the will to take responsibility for what? For the future we want.

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