Day 12 at the COP18/CMP8

288 hours to rewrite our climate legacy?

Conclusion of 288 hours?

It’s officially the last day of the UN climate talks in Qatar, where about 200 countries have spent the past fortnight working to agree the next steps to a future climate treaty to be clinched in 2015.

However, we have been hearing that a final agreement is not expected until Saturday, perhaps around noon.

To refresh my memory, I went through my notes during the Civil Society Capacity Building Workshop held in October 2012 facilitated by the Climate Action Network International Director, Wael Hmaidan, and to see where the negotiations are at now.

Here are the four key areas that officials are working to agree on:

  1. A continuation of the Kyoto protocol, the only existing legal international treaty for cutting emissions, by the EU, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Australia
  2. An end to the “twin track” negotiating process that the talks have operated under for several years – the “Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA)” and the Kyoto protocol group
  3. Principles around climate finance to see money transferred from rich to poor countries, though specific numbers are not expected
  4. Most crucially, a roadmap to a legal climate treaty to make all the countries in the talk cut emissions, to be agreed by 2015 and come into effect by 2020.

As of this writing, I am still not sure whether we, with NGO badges, can still enter the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) premises tomorrow (8 December 2012). According to a casual talk with Mr. Hmaidan, “we could still enter.” Nevertheless, there were announcements that Park n Ride and bus services to and from hotels will be extended until Sunday, 9 December 2012.

I wanted to listen to the President’s Informal Stock Taking happening at 1300 but was cancelled and moved to 1800 later today. The app on my iPhone was apparently not updated so was checking on TV screens for side events updates.


Sing for the Climate bracelet worn by youth activists.

Sing For the Climate

Maman, the huge steel spider occupying the central location of QNCC, apparently seems to be where a lot of civil action takes place, we were told that a flashmob is going to take place at 1230, so my fellow delegates from Qatar Sustainability Network (QSN) moved to have a “strategic” position before the flashmob commences. Well, we tried but the media were already in their places.

The flashmob protested at the lack of ambition shown by negotiators from the 194 countries present in Doha by singing a song by Sing For The Climate group based in Belgium entitled “Do It Now – Bella Ciao.” It is indeed a welcome bit of drama from the civil society. Check out the video below.


One Degree of Separation – Sort of

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) being interviewed by the media

There are some informal theory by Doha residents that the degree of separation is only two but being inside the QNCC premises shortens it to one or so it seems. Got a chance to be two feet away from Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) being interviewed by the media. We requested her PA for a photo op but was told to wait until her interviews are over – there were 2 more. We never had a chance as we got caught up with chatting and checking on updates with other fellow QSN delegates.


Qatar NGOs’ Role

As my first COP experience is coming to an end, the feeling of empowerment is overwhelming. As a delegate for SustainableQatar for this important conference I was able to wear my activist hat. As the only Filipino delegate as well, under the Qatar-based NGO umbrella, QSN, it is a consuming privilege to be on board and witness the steps being taken by the host country.

Rich Qatar, together with other developed countries, being pressured to come up with ways to help developing countries cope with climate change, through its young and new NGO delegation, is a  proof, albeit indirectly, that the country is working on it, and ultimately, towards a just and equitable outcome to COP18 and a sustainable Qatar and planet.

Click on the photos for a slideshow.