In June of last year, I had stumbled across a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) survey which took note of the fact that:
There’s been something really important missing in the way we at the United Nations and at the global level have been deliberating and deciding on issues over the last decade, and that something has been you — people all over the world,” he told correspondents, adding that the era of making decisions about global issues behind closed doors with little citizen involvement was coming to an end. [emphasis added -hro]
YMMV, but it seems to me that this admirable “end” has not yet been reached within the ever-expanding maze of the United Nations. Least of all by those responsible for the production of the so-called “gold standard” Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Assessment Reports. Or, for that matter, by the head honchos of the IPCC’s “parents” i.e. the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)’s Achim Steiner or the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)’s Michel Jarraud.
Notwithstanding the best efforts of Steiner and Jarraud (and their respective voices of doom and gloom), when I last looked at this UNDP survey, in May of this year, “action on climate change” was still at the bottom of the world’s priority heap.
As you may (or may not) know, in Lima, Peru there is yet another annual gathering of the great and the good (aka COP-20) which began on Dec. 1, to the oh-so-inspiring exhortations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s head honcho, Christiana (aka “tinkerbell“) Figueres, who:
encouraged delegates to draw inspiration from these ancient and indelible mythological symbols to “carve crucial lines of action” towards, inter alia: drafting a new universal agreement; achieving progress on adaptation; and strengthening the financial capacity of the most vulnerable.
During the opening ceremonies …
Minister of Environment of Peru Manuel Pulgar-Vidal was elected as the COP 20/CMP 10 President by acclamation. Pulgar-Vidal said COP 20 should increase trust, create space for dialogue between state and non-state actors, and lay ground work for a new climate agreement through a draft text balancing climate action and sustainable development. [emphasis added -hro]
Wow! Just look at that linkage, folks: “climate action” could not get much closer to “sustainable development”, if it tried! Have you ever seen two such meaningless phrases in such close proximity?! Amazing, eh?!
For some reason, when I read the above report from the IISD, I thought I’d take a look at the current results of the UNDP survey. And here’s what I found:
Well, look at that, folks! “Action taken on climate change” is still at the very bottom of the priority list for 1.2 million+ respondents, and it didn’t even make the list of six priorities chosen by almost 4.6 million respondents.
Perhaps the time has come for powers that be at the UNDP to tell those at the UNEP (and its ever-growing army of affiliates) that – despite the billions spent on flogging their very best efforts for the last twenty years or so – they’re simply barking up the wrong tree!
Seems to me that a good start for the delegates in Lima would be to tell the powers that be at the UN to stop worrying about that which does not even fall within its chartered purview (and which consistently ranks at the very bottom of the world’s priority list). Perhaps it’s time to immediately reallocate some of the almost US$10 billion pledged to the coffers of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to where such funds are really needed:
UNHCR urges immediate support for suspended WFP food aid programme for Syrian refugees
Press Releases, 1 December 2014
GENEVA — The UN refugee agency Monday called for urgent international support to the World Food Programme, which earlier announced it had been forced to suspend food assistance for more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees because of a funding crisis.
“This couldn’t come at a worse time,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. “Winter is already an extremely difficult period for Syrian refugees, but the suspension of food assistance at this critical juncture is going to be devastating. It will impact tens of thousands of the most vulnerable refugee families who are almost entirely dependent on international aid. I urgently appeal to the international community – support WFP now, don’t let refugees go hungry.”
Earlier in Rome, WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin said the agency’s Syria emergency operations are in critical need of funding, including $64 million in December alone for refugee food assistance in host countries surrounding the war-torn nation. Since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, WFP has met the food needs of up to 1.8 million refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.
If new funding arrives, WFP said it could immediately resume assistance for Syrian refugees through an electronic voucher system that enables them to buy food in local shops.
The food aid suspension could be particularly devastating in Lebanon, where more than 1.1 million Syrian refugees – one-quarter of the country’s entire population – are scattered across some 1,700 communities. There are no formal camps, and many of the refugees live in makeshift settlements, sheds, garages and unfinished buildings. […]
YMMV, but at the very least, it seems to me that what the UN calls “the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era” should take a much higher priority than worrying that “2014 might be 0.01C warmer than 2010”.
In light of all the above, surely such a reallocation of resources would be the right thing for these delegates in Lima to do, would it not?