Being one of the 28,000 delegates to the 25th Assembly of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) convened in Madrid, Spain from 2nd to 13th December 2019 was not only a very interesting opportunity to interact with experts from diverse disciplines all with a common interest of saving the deteriorated state of the planet but also a platform to share and gain knowledge on various realms of environmentalism.
The trip to Madrid coincided with a time when most of the parts of East Africa were experiencing heavy downpour consequently leading to floods which jeopardized the lives of the entire biodiversity. Kenya in particular saw colossal annihilation of property, infrastructure and several life forms including human life in worst case scenarios forcing thousands of people to become climate refugees.
Scientists report that the Indian ocean’s exponential rise in temperature is causing unprecedented warming consequently wreaking havoc on the surrounding lands. Before the perilous floods, a better part of the country had been stricken by widespread draught for an extended period of time. These extreme weather events attest the reality of climate change we are living with in this era, affecting the poor on a larger scale among the social classes.
The objectives of COP25
My introspection of these fast-changing weather patterns all over the planet dawned on me that the delegates in COP25 were presented with a daunting task: an opportunity to draw historical line on setting rules for international carbon markets that would make countries pay for emitting greenhouse gases (Article 6 of Paris Agreement). This would significantly contribute to cutting down emissions as well as giving the less developed countries a fair share for the loss and damage as a result of anthropogenic climate change which has been largely contributed by the annex 1 countries. This is certainly an impeccable multilateral mechanism to protect the planet from the impeding climate catastrophe. COP25 was also entrusted with the work of ensuring that governments raise their ambitions on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
The CYNESA delegation led by its Executive Director and founder Allen Ottaro and 3 team members, Alphonce Muia, Olive Ntivuguruzwa and Lucia Mosongo drawn from Kenya, Rwanda and Cameroon Chapters respectively, was keen to share experiences, learn and follow closely issues of loss and damage, climate finance, mitigation and adaptation, capacity building etc., considering that CYNESA has a big role to accomplish in Africa especially in this era when climate disasters are appalling.
CYNESA worked closely with faith-based organizations, Catholic organizations as well as youth led organizations with intense participation in youth NGOs (YOUNGO), Faith based NGOs and Catholic NGOs events and of course the observatory role during the formal proceedings of the plenary.
It was so crucial to unite voices with over half a million
people along the streets of Madrid who participated in one of the biggest
climate strikes in history calling political leaders across the globe to act
with urgency on stabilizing the greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere in
order to prevent damage to the planet, thanks to the unwavering leadership of
The planet’s inhabitants including billions of human population and uncountable species of flora and fauna had hopes high that this COP25 would deliver as its motto suggested “act now” without having to procrastinate negotiations on the key components of the Paris agreement tabled in Madrid.
The generations to come would stand to say that their predecessors did justice through formulation of policies that saved a planet on the brink of crises. The anticipated outcome of the 25th assembly of COP however, wasn’t achieved as some annex 1 countries showed strong antagonism towards coming up with consensus on the negotiations regarding article 6 of the Paris agreement as well as renouncing their commitments to the Paris agreement in order to satisfy some self-interests. This back and forth of negotiations branded it the longest COP to ever happen and the results were disappointing as this was a lost opportunity to show increased ambition to tackle the climate crisis.
As we look forward to clearing the mess of COP25, the youth groups promised not to relent, widen their voices to demand climate action and maintain the tempo so that as the time comes for the COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland the force will be unstoppable as the international community must agree on a binding review mechanism under international law so that we can make history as a “generation of decarbonization”.
CYNESA Kenya, Core Team Member.