Yesterday Julian Velez, representing the youth, had the great opportunity to give an intervention during the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (CMP), the main negotiating body that works under the Kyoto Protocol. The ability for civil society to give interventions is one of the only official avenues within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to express positions on specific topics. Although valuable, these two-minute interventions are still a very small window. At the very least, these interventions are a space for youth to push lines, express ideas that can challenge and give a voice to under-addressed issues.
The text was drafted by a small team of youth and then approved by the larger youth constituency.
My name is Julian and I am a youth delegate from Mexico representing the Youth constituency.
Despite the commendable decision to suspend CDM coal projects, the youth constituency has significant concerns in regards to the design and implementation of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
While the CDM has been presented as an opportunity to facilitate technology transfer, there is a significant economic bias towards rapidly emerging economies and minimal engagement with least developed countries.
We also share similar concerns to a number of governmental and non-governmental bodies, including the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change, in relation to the problematic framework of carbon markets.
Furthermore, we are seriously concerned about the potential for CDM projects to contribute to Human Rights abuses. To date, CDM projects have resulted in forced relocation, loss of land and multiple violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
For example, in July 2011, the Aguan biogas project was registered despite evidence that the project developer was connected to violent land conflicts. Last month, the Agros CDM reforestation project also prompted a request to the U.N. Secretary General that the project be deregistered and banned from receiving carbon credits, as it was using illegally-seized land.
Despite evidence of human rights abuses in both cases, the CDM Executive Board has argued that it has no mandate to address the issue of human rights and that the responsibility lies with the host country.
Additionally, the Conference of the Parties has recognized the importance of human rights in all climate change related actions, including the selection and review of projects.
The mandate of the CDM Executive Board must therefore be re-assessed and redefined to give force to the provisions of the UN Charter and other rules governing UN bodies.
Regardless of the outcomes of the negotiations of the Kyoto-Protocol, the CDM, or any reiteration of it, must correct its technology bias, address widespread concerns of its market approach, and safeguard the protection and rights of affected communities.