, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 16 – As Kenya deals with a serious drought that has left an estimated 3.5 million people faced with starvation, the country has been called upon to fully participate in an upcoming International climate change conference in Durban, South Africa.
The climate change meeting to be held In November is part of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework on climate change and a follow up to the famed Copenhagen and Cancun meetings.
“There is the danger that it (Durban meeting) could turn out to be a talking shop but I think not. I think that the meeting in Cancun last year kind of took us back to the negotiation tracks that we need,” Institute for Law and Environmental Governance (ILEG) Director Maurice Makoloo said after a journalists’ round table on climate change reporting.
He said the Durban meeting was expected to discuss financial support to developing nations adapt to climate change and the implementation of the Green Climate Fund set up during the Cancun meeting last year.
“One thing we have realised is that there is a big disconnect between what the developed countries pledge in terms of finances and what they have managed to put on the table and I am afraid that unless we get to match the pledges and the deposits, a lot of what we are talking about is going to remain a mirage,” Mr Makoloo said.
The Green Climate Fund was part of a comprehensive global deal reached at the climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico to deal with climate change through commitment by rich and poor countries to cut on emissions.
“I think one thing that is emerging now is looking for practical ways out of the impasse of the negotiations over the Kyoto Protocol and how it impacts on the long term cooperative framework,” Mr Makoloo added.
The Kyoto Protocol is a legally binding document adopted by the United Nations Framework on climate change in 1997 and came into force in 2005 but has since faced a lot of protests from industrialised countries like the United States.
Under the protocol, industrialised countries were expected to reduce their collective emissions of green house gases to an average of five percent against 1990 levels in a five year period between 2008 and 2012.
Dr Charles Nyambuga of Maseno University said the media should play a key role of informing the public on the upcoming meeting because the outcome directly impacted on communities.
“The media is the one that can be used to actually undertake the local mobilisation so that they (communities) know how climate change would relate to issues of livelihoods as far as they are concerned. Climate change can be looked at a higher level but it is something that has a basic role and impact at that low level like in issues of food security,” Dr Nyambuga said.
The two week meeting would be held between November 28 and December 9.
The first conference of parties was held in Berlin, Germany in 1995 and has been held annually since.