No Time to Waste

Prakesh Mathema

Group of least developed countries drums up support for a successful negotiation of the 2015 climate change treaty in Bonn, Germany

By Maureen Chigbo  |  May 13, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

THE urgency in the tone of speech of Prakash Mathema, the new chair of the group of the Least Developed Countries, LDCs, was palpable as he drums up support for a successful climate change negotiation of in the 2015 treaty. “There is no more time to waste, so we need to stop going round in circles”, said Prakash Mathema from Nepal, while inaugurating its first negotiation session in Bonn, Germany, in April. He urged parties to the negotiation to show leadership to achieve real and substantial progress on the negotiation of a 2015 treaty and to close the mitigation gap before 2020.


Over the long and tedious journey of the climate change negotiations, the LDC Group, comprising 49 countries, has continuously stressed that its members will be the most seriously hit by the impacts of climate change. The effects are already being seen. The regions are all experiencing an increased number of droughts, severe storms, and floods. These events are increasing in frequency, magnitude and intensity, and worsening from day to day the quality of life of the already vulnerable populations. Delay in action against climate change is not an option for the group. For instance, in Nigeria, severe flooding in 2012 displaced thousands of people in 22 of the 36 states in the country. The Nigerian Metrological Agency has forecast that there will be more rain this year which could result in another severe flooding that could kill many people and displace several communities if urgent action is not taken by the government and concerned authorities.

That is why the LDCs, during their preparation for the Bonn talks, underscored the need to start real negotiations now. We must not embark on yet another procedural heavy process. Delay will certainly lead to a 4°C warmer world, according to the group. The message from the group regarding the current negotiation is clear “We must draw lessons from the past negotiations under this Convention and implement urgent actions to address climate change. We should ensure that the outcomes of Durban are implemented as a matter of urgency. Without substantial progress to close the 8–13 gigatonne mitigation gap before 2020, the LDCs would not be prepared to accept a weak outcome.”

The sum of mitigation-related actions by all parties should lead to an aggregate global emission pathway that is scientifically consistent with limiting warming below 1.5°C by the end of the 21st century. This calls for clear short, medium, and long-term commitments which should be subjected to regular reviews, and be based on latest science.

 Adaptation and climate resilience are the top priorities of the LDCs demand for which international support for technology, capacity building and finance is still inadequate. If global emissions are not limited, our countries will be confronted with a situation where adaptation requirements will far exceed capacities even if all possible international support is provided. “At a certain point adaptation will have its limits and in the long-term, mitigation is the best form of adaptation”, stressed Mathema.

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