December 10, 2019

Mercy Global Action to Advocate at COP25

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Colleen Swain is attending the second week (9-13 December) of COP 25 in Madrid, Spain on behalf of Mercy International Association Mercy Global Action as we continue to respond to the climate crisis and heed the call to respond to the degradation of the earth and the displacement of peoples.

The 25th Session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) commenced on December 2nd and will end on December 13th. Originally scheduled to take place in Santiago, Chile, the conference was cancelled and Spain made an offer to host the event.

Pope Francis sent an urgent plea to the official conference calling for an increase in ambition towards addressing climate change. “We are facing a “challenge of civilization” in favour of the common good and of a change of perspective that places this same dignity at the centre of our action, which is clearly expressed in the “human face” of climate emergencies. There remains a window of opportunity, but we must not allow it to close. We need to take advantage of this occasion through our responsible actions in the economic, technological, social and educational fields, knowing very well how our actions are interdependent.”[1]

 In line with Pope Francis message, Mercy Global Action aims to bring the voices of those from Latin America and the Amazon to COP25. Working with members of CIDSE, as well as other Catholic and faith-based organizations attending the COP, side and parallel events are taking place to bring Latin American and Amazonian voices to the forefront (see ways to engage below). MGA will also be advocating on behalf of local and indigenous communities who have been impacted by extractive industries such as oil and gas drilling, hydroelectric dams, transnational corporate agriculture, mineral and coal mining and more.

We continue to bring the voices of those from the 2018 Mercy Asia Pacific Gathering who emphasized issues that climate change is human made and exacerbates loss and damage of biodiversity, sea level rise and rise of carbon emissions, waste management, pollution of the earth, sea, and food, displacement of peoples, water scarcity, erosion, sea bed mining and other forms of extraction. These robust and vivid contributions from the Mercy Asia Pacific Gathering, as well as local knowledge from Latin America, has further informed our key advocacy and lobbying points at COP 25; taking into account the interconnectedness of environmental degradation and human displacement.

[1] “Message of the Holy Father to the participants in the United Nations Conference on Climate in Madrid. Vatican City.” December, 2019. Accessed December 4, 2019

What is at Stake?

Chilean Presidency has coined the Conference theme as the “Time for Action” or “Tiempo de Actuar”.  During the two weeks of COP25 it will be imperative to address issues that have implications for climate ambition before and after 2020 as countries prepare their National Determined Outcomes. For those following the negotiations, Article 6 of the Paris Agreement Work Programme on carbon markets has been an area of contention as it is yet to be finalized. Right now there are threats to climate action and lack of human rights language in its implementation. It is also critical to consider the needs and circumstances of those countries whom have been drastically harmed by climate change already, as well as those whom have been displaced by its affects. This will be considered with the review of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts.

What needs to happen before COP26 to keep the Paris Agreement on track? CarbonBrief interviewed delegates at COP25 and the overall concern is that we need to raise ambition before the Paris Agreement comes into force. During the opening of the COP25 Climate Conference, UN Secretary General Antonio Gutterres stated “What is still lacking is political will. Political will to put a price on carbon. Political will to stop subsidies on fossil fuels. Political will to stop building coal power plants from 2020 onwards. Political will to shift taxation from income to carbon - taxing pollution instead of people. We simply have to stop digging and drilling and take advantage of the vast possibilities offered by renewable energy and nature-based solutions… I expect from the COP a clear demonstration of increased ambition and commitment showing accountability, responsibility and leadership.”[2]

[2] “UN Secretary-General's remarks at pre-COP25 press conference”. Madrid. December 2019 Accessed December 4, 2019

Mercy's Focus at COP25

Mercy Global Action will use the following  key advocacy points to influence government representatives at COP 25:

  1. Ensure solutions to climate change are human rights-based and gender-just;
  2. Address the urgency and deliver on the ambition to answer to the 1.5°C IPCC report, as well as financial contributions;
  3. Incorporate local knowledge of the peoples in various communities; taking into account their human rights, responsibilities and gendered needs, and ensuring conservation benefits are fair and just;
  4. Encourage ecosystem-based approaches and systems to aid waste reduction, address loss and damage of biodiversity, sea level rise, and promote sustainable consumption and production;
  5. Place people over profit. We oppose misuse of resources that damage the environment, including large scale extraction and exploitation of the land and its people. We support the work of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights who work towards holding corporations accountable for their human rights abuses under international law.
  6. Ensure the Human Right to Water and Sanitation is attained and promote “Water and Sanitation”: A Peoples Guide to SDG 6 a rights-based approach to implementation” as a strong advocacy tool to achieve the Human Right to Water and Sanitation in our communities, nations, and world.

Mercy International Association also signed onto the 2018 Peoples Demands for Climate Justice which continues to be used for advocacy as it outlines specific demands for government representatives.

The stakes are high as we prepare for the Paris Agreement to come into force in 2020. We stand in solidarity with all those who share our concerns and our values as we continue to hold governments accountable for addressing the climate emergency.

Ways to engage in COP25

Further Reading:

We Will Note Be Silenced – CIVICUS

Colleen Swain- Leadership Development and Advocacy Associate, MIA-MGA

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