Role of Least Developed Countries at COP21

LDCs-COP21The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) might be the group that determines the course of climate change negotiations. The group consists of countries vulnerable to climate change, and countries that will be in the fore-front of climate change impacts in the coming years. The thing that is of the most importance is that member states have the least means to recover from any potential unfortunate events. It would definitely take a long time for a developing country to recover from similar storms that hit the United States.

The group consists of a total of 48 countries, which are classified into 4 groups. In Africa there are 34 member states, while in Asia there are 9. In Oceania there are 4 member states, and in the Americas there is only Haiti. It is clear that the number of states in Africa is supportive to the theory that says “The African Group of Negotiators and the Least Developed Countries have a similar vision for Paris summit , and they have been appealing for a solid agreement throughout the years”.

Based on a review by the Word Resources Institute on how to get to $100 billion by 2020, it was explained that in order to increase climate finance for capacity building in the Least Developed Countries through Multilateral Development Banks, funding should not be reused for mitigation in countries that are on the rise. The problem is that developed states, such as the US, are keen to curb the course of development in countries that are consistently growing. For example, China did not use to be as powerful as it is nowadays. This act comes naturally, since the desired agreement has to involve all nations to contribute in combating climate change. This might be the main reason behind not having a strict format of finance, and it might also be the reason for chaos during the annual climate change negotiations.

The term developing countries is broader than the Least Developed Countries, because many more states are included. Parties are always stuck between having finance from developed countries with dividends in return, or having finance with contributions from developing countries represented in reducing emissions. In fact, developed states should have already arranged the mechanism to finance the Least Developed countries firstly. There should not be disagreements on who shall pay more than the other, either from the public sector or the private one. Those contributions must be based on the amount of emissions that each party produces.

Stressing the urgency to embrace a 5-year-cycle in order to increase ambition, or to review implementation in contrast to targeting 1.5 degrees Celsius increase in the global average temperature instead of 2 degrees is unreasonable.  The 1.5 degree goal can only be achieved through divestment from fossil fuel. For developing countries, targeting the 1.5 degree goal is a lot more complicated than the 5-year-cycle. Developed countries must differentiate between the Least Developed Countries and the other parties. The Least Developed Countries do not have the technology, or the capacity to do what other parties are capable of doing in terms of decarbonization. For instance, South Africa is the biggest emitter in the continent; hence it should be pushed to achieve such a goal.

The bottom line is that the solution is in the developed countries’ hands, and they have a higher ability to affect the outcome of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) by having more ambition to cut significant emissions. In this regard, Sweden is a good example as it is meeting more than 60% of its energy requirements from renewable energy resources.

Ali Mohamed Ahmed

Ali Mohamed Ahmed volunteers for the Arab Youth Climate Movement (Sudan) as a Projects Assistant. He holds Bachelor of Science (Hons) from University of Khartoum, and is commencing Master's degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Khartoum in order to fulfill his passion to become an environment expert playing a vital role in raising environmental awareness in Sudan.

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