‘There has been absolutely no progress in any of issues of interest to developing countries,’ says Jayanthi Natarajan

In a rare sign of frustration and solidarity, over 800 representatives of NGOs staged a walkout from the climate negotiations here, citing lack of commitment from developed countries and take over by corporate interests.

The environmental NGOs have always been an integral part of the climate talks and are allowed to not only sit in and watch the negotiations but also intervene at times with their demands.

Thousands of activists and NGO representatives of wide range attend the talks to put pressure on the countries to act beyond just immediate national interests to fight climate change.

A walk out by these groups is unprecedented.

“How many more years should we wait while people face the fury of climate change now? Climate talks in Warsaw are supposed to create solutions to deal with increasing typhoons, rising seas and dying species. Instead of leading at these talks, rich countries are back-tracking, blocking and taking U-turns. This has become the norm and this must change,” said Harjeet Singh from ActionAid International before joining the walkout.

The developed countries have collectively blocked progress on two key issues — Loss and Damage and delivering finance to the poor countries.

On a third track, negotiations have been dragging for three days with the rich countries trying to break the firewall between the developed and the developing countries and hence reneging on their commitments to fight climate change.

Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan came out in support of the NGOs stating, “I fully share the sentiments of the NGOs and call on developed countries to show their determination to implement commitments and increase their ambition to address the mitigation gap and provide enhanced means of implementation and ensure that the negotiations reach a meaningful conclusion in the Conference of Parties.”

She said, “It is a matter of deep concern to my country that there has been absolutely no progress in any of the issues of interest to developing countries in this Conference of Parties.”

“Discussions on crucial issues of direct importance to developing countries like finance, technology and Loss and Damage have remained deadlocked due to lack of will by developed country Parties.

This comes in the backdrop of some developed countries actually reneging on their commitments or decreasing them,” she added.

The unity among the NGOs has been rare as they too at times get divided along the broad North-South divide that underlies the broader framework of climate negotiations.

“People are dying due to cyclones like Phalin and Haiyan and flash floods which occurred in Uttarakhand, while Australia, Japan and other developed countries are wasting precious time to save the world,” said Sanjay Vashist, Director of Climate Action Network South Asia.