Issues of the Conference
This year, the United Nations Climate Change Conference will take place in Nairobi from 6 to 17 November. It will be the first conference of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa, drawing up to six thousand participants. The location of the conference on the continent, which is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, will help focus attention on such issues as adaptation to climate change, along with the funding and the capacity building required for developing countries to adapt and to participate in the CDM. Other key issues are technology transfer and the future of the international climate change regime.
Acting on adaptation
As the effects of the climate change become more evident, it is increasingly clear that developing countries need both technological and financial assistance in order to be able to cope with its effects. Under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, three special funds have been created to support adaptation and technology transfer in developing countries.
One of these funds, the Adaptation Fund, is financed by a share of the proceeds generated by the CDM and by voluntary contributions. At the Conference in Nairobi, ministers are expected to reach political agreement on how the Fund should be managed. This decision is of particular importance, since the CDM is already generating income, which could be channelled to finance adaptation projects.
Another important decision to be taken in Nairobi concerns identifying the activities that need to be carried-out till 2008 under a five year work programme on adaptation. This decision is expected to enhance action on adaptation on the ground and ultimately make a real difference for communities in the developing world.
Talks on the future
Last year, at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Montreal, countries launched two important new tracks of talks on the future of the climate change process. One track was opened for negotiations of new commitments for industrialized countries under the Kyoto Protocol for the period after 2012. Another track concerns a global dialogue on long-term cooperation to enhance implementation of the Convention, in which all 189 countries which signed up to the UNFCCC are participating.
In Nairobi, the focus of the talks under the Convention will be on sustainable development and realizing the full potential of market-based opportunities. Countries will, for example, be discussing how they can benefit from clean technology on a large scale. Discussions under the Protocol will continue with an in-session workshop featuring scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for determining post-2012 commitments of the industrialized countries under the Kyoto Protocol.
Further strengthening the growing carbon market
Whilst the Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism is enjoying considerable success, the bulk of the more than one thousand clean development mechanism projects presently in the pipeline, ranging from wind farms to hydroelectric power stations, is concentrated in a few countries, often mirroring the geography of foreign direct investment. The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Nairobi will look at how a more even geographic spread of projects can be achieved and how more countries, including those in Africa, can better benefit from the CDM.
Delegates meeting in Nairobi will also be looking at further operationalizing and strengthening another Kyoto Protocol market based mechanism, Joint implementation (JI). Joint Implementation allows industrialized countries that have emission reduction commitments under the Protocol to earn emission credits by jointly implementing projects which reduce emissions. This mechanism is particularly interesting for the countries with economies in transition in central and eastern Europe, where emission reductions can often be achieved at lower cost. However, in order to be fully functional, JI will need additional financialsupport.