Rabat - A whole year now lies ahead of the Moroccan presidency of COP22; a year in which to make the best of the decisions that have been made in Marrakech. It is also a year to sort out the decisions relegated to pending status from previous years. Optimism should abound.
Rabat – A whole year now lies ahead of the Moroccan presidency of COP22; a year in which to make the best of the decisions that have been made in Marrakech. It is also a year to sort out the decisions relegated to pending status from previous years. Optimism should abound.
It would seem, however, that quite a few observers are not sure what to think about the achievements of this COP. They have two major categories of questions. Firstly, they are concerned about questions they feel were not addressed appropriately or for which the answers given were either uncertain or unconvincing. Secondly, they feel frustrated by questions which they think should have been taken into account but were not.
Some media reports have reinforced this concern with comments and reports which are either unclear or simply contradictory and confusing. In what follows I list, with my own formulations, questions which may frame the thinking about the problem areas which need to be focused upon and, hopefully, indicate pathways in the search for relevant answers.
1. How efficient was the communication strategy of the COP22, nationally and at the international level? Which media was present, which was professional, which was biased and which was more objective and why?
2. Why was Arab media almost absent and, should the issue have been lack of interest, what would it take to sensitize them and convince them to support the advocacy of Arab countries?
3. What exactly were the objectives of COP22 and what were the criteria against which they were supposed to be assessed? How legitimate is it for any individual or organization to indulge in evaluating COP22 against objectives and criteria which had not been set for it?
4. What exactly has been or has not been achieved in terms of global warming and climate change?
5. Marrakech has been advertised as the COP of action. Have any actions been decided or undertaken, and if yes, which exactly? Have there been actions announced which no decisions were made about? Which?
6. As is the case with all projects, COP22 must have also had developments, effects and extensions, both positive and negative, that had not been planned for or anticipated. What are these? Are there any solutions to climate immigration now that Europe and the USA are becoming closed to immigrants?
7. How legitimate are the feelings of frustration and disappointment on the part of some factions of civil society after the Paris euphoria? Have expectations been reasonable or were they too high?
8. Has civil society been acknowledged and actively involved or simply used as an instrument for specific agendas it may not even have been aware of?
9. Has any progress been made in bridging the gap between states and civil society?
10. To what extent has Marrakech met the claims of civil society to make its voice heard or not? Have participating countries ever been closer to each other in a former COP? Have they ever been as united as they were in Marrakech?
11. Has the Paris agreement been given the natural maturation time that this type of international convention normally needs to mature and to be implemented?
12. Does the fact that 111 countries have ratified the Paris agreement in less than one year count as an achievement of COP22 or not?
13. Why did the Paris agreement have to be re-negotiated in Bonn and did its decisions have the irreversible nature prior to that and what were the consequences of the whole process on the Marrakech COP?
14. How dependent is COP on the political developments and ambitions of individual parties?
15. Shouldn’t there be mechanisms which would emancipate the COP from the political whims of particular parties in order to avoid possible financial or governance crises, for example?
16. To what extent, can COP22 and its performance, as well as that of its steering teams, be assessed without taking into account the U.S. election?
17. Which mechanisms can COP implement to prevent failures of individual parties from hindering its work? What role should climate champions play in ensuring that the process keeps moving ahead, regardless of and despite such failures, and that the follow up of implementation process never fails? Which roles can or should South-South and South-South/North cooperation and Civil Society play as a major partner to overcome such failures?
18. To what extent do opinions, attitudes and assessments of the outcomes of Marrakech take into account the fact that the Paris agreement was a consensual set of decisions and that such decisions are usually fraught with challenges and technical issues that normally call for a lot of work and effort to be settled before action plans can be finalized and implemented?
19. To what extent do assessments of the negotiations of Marrakech consider that international negotiations have their own time cycle and that they may stall because of the position of a single party? How many of those interested in COP are, for example, aware that the bylaws of the process have not yet been adopted because of a lack of consensus and that they have been discussed in practically every single conference?
20. What is or should COP be about? Is it about the concerns of states, of countries or of people? Why has it historically been the conference of states, in complete disregard of the UN charter that stipulates in its opening statement that the organization is about people explicitly saying, “We the people …?” It does not say, ‘we the states,’ does it? So, why are the decisions of the COP not made by the people and why do the states resist involving the people in the negotiations and decision making process?
21. Why, if all countries and people are equal under the UN Charter, have we been witnessing the hegemony of the North and of industrialized countries and of international financial institutions since the inaugural COP event? Why is it necessary for most developing countries to go through intermediaries to access climate funds?
22. Why has the access of developing countries and of civil society to international funding and international organizations been constrained and limited by the complex technical imperatives and red tape of financial organizations?
23. How able is Africa to face the challenges of climate change and global warming financially, technically, demographically, socially and politically?
24. How willing and ready are those responsible for climate change and global warming to assume their respective responsibilities in fighting and mitigating these phenomena?
25. Are there or can there be any binding constraints to make those responsible for climate change, global warming and their consequences comply with the decisions of the international community and of the people of the world?
26. Several initiatives have been launched in Marrakech. How much time will they need to mature and for their implementation to materialize?
27. To what extent did COP22 integrate into its agenda key factors and issues that previous ones had not? What are they, if any?
28. Which factors and issues must be integrated in the fight against climate change and global warming and that have not been because of the opposition of some parties?
29. Why are more funds available for mitigation than for adaptation?
30. How sufficient are efforts to develop knowledge about climate change? What would be necessary to ramp up these efforts?
31. How sufficient are the efforts made to develop the technology necessary to mitigate climate change, to adapt to it and to reverse its processes? Which other efforts and in which domains should be made to overcome climate change consequences?
32. How sufficient are efforts made to set up and implement global and comprehensive systems to integrate the knowledge developed about climate change and design relevant technology and make it available to all those who need it when they need it?
Obviously, there are many other questions which need to be addressed. Further investigations are imperative in order to improve the knowledge relevant to climate change, but also of how to direct it to the service of the wellbeing, security and safety of humanity. Education, the eradication of poverty and disease, the protection of natural resources including soil, land, surface and underground water, the flora and the fauna, biodiversity, clean and renewable energy, the systematic monitoring and strict control of global warming and the intelligent and respectful coexistence of people are the minimum conditions for making life on planet Earth sustainable.