It was good and funny to hear Arabic words from non-Arab speaking country representatives during Tuesday’s Ad-hoc Working Group-Long Term Cooperative Actions (AWG- LCA) plenary. What was even more entertaining was how these opening Arabic words turned into a language competition between delegates as each tried to speak more Arabic than the other. That happened during the meeting because this was the first LCA session convened by the new Chairman from Saudi Arabia. He responded positively and told those whose Arabic vocabulary was limited not to worry because they will get to learn a lot of Arabic words in the coming months given COP18 conference will be organized and hosted by an Arabian country at the end of this year.
As a newcomer to the climate talks, I found the current role of the Arab world in the process exciting. With key countries taking on a number of chairs positions in different groups like Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is chairing an Ad-hoc Working Group (AWG), Algeria Chairing the negotiation group G77+China which include all the developing countries in addition to China, plus Qatar hosting the biggest climate change conference.
Kyoto Protocol session:
“For the G-77 and CHINA, expressed concern that some Annex I parties have not submitted information on their QELROs (Quantified Emission Limitation and Reduction Objectives) for the second commitment period, highlighting the need to avoid a gap between commitment periods in order to preserve the Protocol and its flexibility mechanisms.”
“For the ARAB GROUP, urged for ambitious emission reduction commitments from Annex I parties and called for avoiding a gap between the first and second commitment periods.”
“For the G-77 and CHINA, urged parties to address outstanding issues under the AWG-LCA, taking into account equity, common but differentiated responsibilities and historical responsibility. She said that commitments by developed states under the Protocol second commitment period should be matched by comparable reduction commitments by developed countries that are not parties to the Protocol.”
“For the ARAB GROUP, expressed support for the AWG-LCA Chair’s work plan, called for identifying what has been agreed at previous COPs and stated that discussions on all topics must be completed and not simply transferred to different bodies.”
As a newcomer, I think the Arab world is lucky to have all these chairs and good positions. I also think this is their chance to positively influence the process. How? By setting clear targets for the year, working together and taking advantage of their good negotiations skills and negotiators. The leading positions they are enjoying can be harnessed to make the process more progressive, faster, objective and impartial. Because back home in their respective countries we the people are counting on them to make a radical change to positively drive the negotiations process.
I think this is not going to be so hard for the Arabs after 2011 when they started to draw all the world’s attentions to their organized revolutions and to the Arab spring which inspired people around the globe. In comparison, solving the climate crisis should be like a walk in park for them. They surely can inspire the world one more time by succeeding to make a radical change to the process.
About the authorMostafa Medhat (مصطفى مدحت)
Mostafa Medhat is a young environmental activist and campaigner from Alexandria, Egypt. His aim is to create a strong and educated generation of leaders for a sustainable present and future that would make the world a better place. He goes by the motto ‘’ aspire inspire before he expires