World’s poorest countries meet for Kathmandu climate summit

By Ed King

Representatives from the Least Developed Countries (LDC) group are meeting in Kathmandu to discuss their plans to raise ambition at the UN climate talks.

The three-day strategy event will see around 20 key members discuss their strategy for the COP19 UN talks in Warsaw at the end of the year as well as plans for a global climate deal in 2015.

LDC nations are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, either as a result of rising sea levels or an increased frequency of extreme weather events.

The 49-nation coalition is dominated by African and South East Asian countries such as Ethiopia, Rwanda and Bangladesh, plus smaller island states like Samoa and Haiti.

LDC member Kiribati faces having to evacuate some of its low-lying islands as a result of rising sea levels

In 2011 it allied with the European Union and small island states to push through the Durban Platform agreement, laying the foundations for a global climate deal in 2015.

But its relationship with the EU deteriorated in the lead up to the 2012 Doha round of UN talks, largely over the lack of financial guarantees and specific emission reduction targets on offer from developed countries.

Outgoing chair Pa Ousman Jarju told RTCC the Doha Gateway agreement was “inadequate both in terms of finance and ambition”, arguing that efforts needed to be redoubled this year.

Developed countries are expected to meet soon for climate finance talks, but with the next round of UN talks scheduled to start in Bonn on April 29 time is running out for them to offer the assurances poorer nations are demanding.

A recent submission to the UN climate Secretariat (UNFCCC) by LDC chair Prakash Mathema revealed the depth of frustration the group feels at the current lack of ambition.

“Unlike the Kyoto Protocol the future Protocol must lead to a higher and more increased ambition from the developed country parties,” it read.

The submission also called for “concrete action” ahead of the proposed 2020 start date for a climate agreement.

“In particular, the emission pathway consistent with limiting the global warming to be low 1.5°C for the time periods covered by the agreement should be drawn from the best available science, including the IPCC fifth assessment report and the outputs of the 2013-2015 review process,” it said.

“To achieve this pressing goal, the LDC Group supports a top-down negotiated Protocol, legally binding in nature with individual commitments that fulfill the needs of science-based emission reductions required to tackle climate change without compromising the urgency for reducing poverty and promoting sustainable development in LDCs.

“To provide assurance that these commitments are met, the LDC Group is of the view that the new legal regime should define robust ways such as periodic review to assess whether these commitments are being implemented to meet the overall and ultimate objective.”

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