Jennifer Ramos 11 interviews Momoudu Nije of the Gambian Delegation

Jennifer Ramos '11 interviews Momoudu Nije of the Gambian Delegation

Something that has caught my attention as I was interviewing one of  Gambia’s delegates Momodou Njie, is that most of us have been focusing solely on common but differentiated responsibilities and what it means, when its actually, as quoted by Nije from the preamble of the UNFCCC, “Acknowledging that the global nature of climate change calls for the widest possible cooperation by all countries and their participation in an effective and appropriate international response, in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and their social and economic conditions.” The idea of “respective capabilities, in my opinion, has been overlooked by many. Njie’s point of the respective capabilities being an important aspect of this idea of “common but differentiated responsibilities” was interesting, and I feel that yes, countries should participate based on their capability, and not be solely given responsibilities based on whether they are Annex I, Annex II, or Non Annex I countries.

During my interview our Saleem Huq, I began to see this concept of common but differentiated responsibilities and “respective capabilities” change. I found it interesting on how he pointed out that this idea should shift from a country base, to an individual base. He used an amazing example, stating that people who fly internationally, to and from any country whether developed or developing countries, should pay an additional $5 to $10 that would go towards a mitigation and adaptation fund that would help countries being immediately affected, as well as those countries who are very vulnerable to climate change, shifting the focus from the country to the individual, because those that can afford international flights obviously are not the poorest of the poor, and should be able to pay a small fee to help with a BIG issue.

I agree with both men, I think countries should play their part, with respect to theirs, and others capabilities, and I also feel that people should begin working on individual levels. Still, there are debate as to who should be doing what and by how much. During a press conference on Tuesday, December 8, 2009, the Chinese the Deputy Head of the Chinese delegation, Su Wei, argued that “The targets proposed by China were in line with UNFCCC frameworks, Su Wei noted according to the Nigerian daily This Day, and added: ‘The EU position cannot be justified…. The [Kyoto] protocol among other UNFCCC agreements stipulate clearly what developed and developing countries should do.'” Even though I do agree that the US and EU should aim to reduce more, but I also  feel that this way of thinking, in terms of continue to divide responsibilities solely between developed and developing countries, could potentially hinder the process of creating and signing of a new agreement. In my opinion, the Kyoto Protocol has not been successful, and we need to change the protocol, creating a new agreement in Copenhagen, and figure out how it will be implementing during next years COP16 meeting in Mexico. Holding an agreement off is NOT an option.

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