The Quarterly Newsletter from CAN
View this email in your browser

Welcome to the CAN Newsletter...

In the April edition:


Upcoming Events

  • May-June - International Climate Mobilisations
  • June 1st-11th - UNFCCC session in Bonn
  • June 7th-8th - G7 Summit in Germany
  • July 13th-16th - Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa

From Lima stumble to Geneva leap

The international climate negotiations are entering a vital stage as governments prepare for COP 21 in Paris where they need to deliver a new international climate agreement. At Geneva in February the latest round of negotiations showcased some of the political will needed to tackle fundamental areas of divergence, a positive development that was lacking at COP 20 in Lima. There are 3 key areas that governments have been and will be making progress on this year in the run up to Paris.


The first is pre-2020 ambition because we need governments to take action now, not delay until the Paris deal comes into effect in 5 years time. Now is the time for governments to come together to decide how they want to deal with early action, how they want to incentivize it and how they want to jump the domestic hurdles of constraint. Finance is crucial here, last year’s GCF capitalization did deliver a little over $10 billion, but it was not enough and did not foster renewed political will towards early action.


The second key area of action for governments this year is the process of tabling their INDCs. Although the decision from Lima did not deliver on a number of important aspects, like a ratchet and review mechanism, all countries are developing their INDCs nonetheless and some have already been submitted. The UNFCCC secretariat is meant to produce an aggregate report on INDCs by 1 November 2015 that will show their cumulative impact. If governments want their commitments to be included in this assessment the INDC needs to be published by the end of October.


The third key area was a draft negotiating text for Paris - a text was agreed in Lima and finalized in Geneva. The Geneva session was very different to Lima in terms of process. Governments came prepared to move things forward quickly and the general atmosphere reflected camaraderie rather than the usual animosity. Countries openly acknowledged differentiation to be ‘the’ issue of the negotiations, leading to numerous bilateral conversations around how this should be dealt with.


Geneva ensured that we are off to a flying start in 2015, the pace of the negotiations is back up to where we need it after the collective stumble at COP 20. There will be many peaks of activity this year including the deadline for the first round of INDCs, the three UNFCCC negotiating sessions, the UNGA summit and the finance for development conference. All these moments need to continue adding momentum towards Paris and to create space for progress on fundamental issues. At COP 21, governments should be prepared to discuss issues as well as convergence on solutions - only then will the new 2015 agreement be successful.

Kicking off a year of transformation


It is the start of April and we already find ourselves well into a year that will play a crucial role in our efforts to tackle climate change. 2015 will be a year where movements have to collaborate in an unprecedented way to put climate action at the top of local, national and international agendas. Hundreds of groups will be mobilising in different ways and with different messages, but all calling for national, regional and global leaders to initiate a just transition to 100% renewable energy, equitably distributed and owned energy sources.


There are different important moments during the year that by themselves or as part of the 2015 mobilisation journey will help accelerate the transition we are creating. Late May and early June is one such moment and will see climate justice groups, environmental justice organisations, unions, youth organisations, development and faith groups and many more across the world, stepping up to the same challenge; calling for and building the global transformation needed to address climate change, social inequality, unemployment and poverty.


The French groups under Coalition21 will make a lot of noise at the end of May and make it clear that they are geared up and ready for the action.  Other groups will focus on strong demands for coal phase out, specifically asking Angela Merkel to use the G7 meeting in early June to push for making the long term goal center stage at COP21.     


While approach and messaging will vary from groups to group, the signal to the world generally and to decision makers specifically will be that a precondition for a better, fairer and sustainable world is tackling the climate crises. CAN is playing a leading role in consolidating the thinking and doing of getting all this together. We are particularly active in working with the development movement and we are thrilled to see that the importance of a just transition to 100% renewable energy is gaining a prominent place in the messaging from a range of mobilisers.


We will construct an online platform that will serve as an anchor point for all the activities that will be happening around May and June. This will not only show the world the diversity and breadth of the mobilisation, but also serve as a guiding light and inspiration within the movements.  We are excited about the work ahead of us for the coming months and invite you all to provide input, give suggestions and critique.


The mobilisation has started.

CAN think, CAN talk, CAN do


In the last week of March members of the CAN Secretariat and coordinators of CAN’s national and regional nodes met in Tunis for a 4 day annual meeting. Everyone involved looks forward to this rare chance to put faces to names and get to know one another better. The group agreed that the objectives for the meeting were: to update each other on internal and external successes, review and strengthen communication and coordination between CAN nodes, plan how each network’s renewable energy and mobilisation work can be tied together for the coming year, and start planning for beyond 2015.


We kicked off the week on a positive note by sharing our successes and there was a lot to share. This reinforced the sense that our national and regional nodes can learn a lot from one another at these meetings and through increased communication over the year ahead. For example, did you know that USCAN helped coordinate communications around the vetoing of the Keystone Pipeline bill? Have you heard about the massive mobilisation CAN Tanzania co-organised as part of the People’s Climate March? This was a great opportunity for sharing fresh ideas, strategy and tactics.


This was also a meeting to deal with the tricky stuff to answer questions like: How can we, as a network, coordinate mobilisations and campaigning in this important year? Together we identified numerous mobilisation opportunities across the world. CAN Uganda is hoping to mobilise 1 million people on climate action by September, in Indonesia there will be mass concerts, and in France hundreds of citizen-led mobilisations across the country will take place on the last weekend of May.

We discussed peak political moments such as the G7 meetings around the end of May and into June, and we talked over the practical and outreach challenges of mobilising. Coordinators also attended some external workshops on international mobilisation in 2015 during the week, some ideas from which we brought back into our internal planning. Lasse Bruun (, the new CAN mobilisation coordinator is currently putting together an epic map of events which he encourages members to keep feeding into so we can link events together.

Call for Long Term Goal is growing louder


At the UNFCCC session in Geneva momentum continued to build behind calls to include an ambitious long term goal in the Paris Agreement at the end of the year. Jamaica, for example, stated in an intervention the need for “significant and rapid reductions of 75-90% reductions below 2010 levels and negative reductions by end of century”.  Many other countries continued to stress the importance that the 2015 agreement be aligned with the IPCC and the science. Inside and outside the climate talks it’s clear that the discussion is now front and center and there is no alternative but to transition to a world free from fossil fuels.


Climate Action Network is calling for phasing out all fossil fuel emissions and phasing in a 100% renewable energy future with sustainable energy access for all, as early as possible, but not later than 2050. The call maintains that more than 2/3 of all present commercially viable fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground, so that we don’t exceed a carbon budget that would limit warming to 2°C or less.


The idea is that a long term goal will send the necessary signal to those outside of the process to boost the finance and deployment of safe and reliable technologies, including renewable energy, that can provide deep emissions reductions. Most renewable energy technologies are already technically mature, they are addressing sustainable developmental challenges much better than conventional energy, and are increasingly cost-effective, particularly when the ecological costs of fossil fuels are taken into account.


The goals may be long-term, but deep cuts in emissions needs to start today, with short-term action as a priority.  The most effective way to do this within the UNFCCC climate talks is through the implementation of these renewable energies. WS2 provides the perfect space to bring in ideas, information sharing, and resources, for countries to begin partnering on emissions reduction projects, now.


All countries have a role to play in phasing out emissions with developed countries taking the lead and ensuring that the developing countries get adequate support through finance, technology and capacity building. The means of implementation must be clear and should be coupled with a long-term goal.

Although there is a wide range of long term goals that can be discussed and expressed the end goal is clear, we must phase out emissions safely and phase in renewables, we must provide developing countries the means to do so, and we must start now. Phasing out fossil fuel emissions and phasing in a 100% renewable energy future is a very ambitious goal, and will not be easy to achieve. But how can we be anything less than ambitious when the survival of cultures, countries and ecosystems is at stake? Is there really an alternative?

Parties prepared for SDG marathon after OWG race


The year kicked off with a stocktaking exercise on the Post-2015 process following the accomplishment of the Open Working Group (OWG). There were no signs of fatigue as parties agreed in only three days on the negotiation calendar for the year ahead. This included agreement on the outline of the document (declaration, goals and targets, means of implementation, follow-up and review) and the ways of working with the OWG outcome document as the main basis for negotiations.


The only key area that provoked disagreement was around the question of whether or not to open the OWG document. The majority of countries agreed that it would not be wise to reopen the OWG document while others argued that some technical proofing should be done to “clean” the document. Germany and France introduced a suggestion as to how this technical proofing might look like but in the end no decision was made and the discussions will go on.


Member states were soon debating the elements of the declaration for the post-2015 agenda during a second meeting in New York. They constructively engaged in discussions on the declaration, based on an elements paper and a discussion document from the Co-Chairs. Most parties agreed that the declaration should provide a clear vision that could be understood by youth, mothers, and ministers and that it should be short, inspiring and positive. How about: “to avoid the worst effects of climate change we must phase out carbon emissions and phase in 100% renewable energy with sustainable energy access for all?”


Talking about good ideas, during both meetings civil society had the opportunity to engage with member states in an interactive dialogue, this provided “a rich an illuminating exchange about the principles, themes and content of the SDGs” according to one co-facilitator. This good practice will be maintained at least for the next two intergovernmental negotiation sessions.


The finance for development (FFD) negotiations started in parallel to the intergovernmental negotiations – both are crucial for the SDGs. For the FFD the statistical commission prepared a report on potential indicators and the high-level political forum will soon start its work. The next intergovernmental negotiation meeting is just around the corner with a focus on the targets, goals, and indicators.

The challenge remains for governments to agree on the vision of the world we want and to decide how to achieve its realization. The challenge for CAN remains to offer effective solutions and to make sure that climate change does not fall of the table on the final stretch.

Update: Leadership Development Programme


The CAN Leadership Development Programme (LDP) has three Fellows working alongside CAN nodes in the Pacific, South Africa and Southeast Asia. Their aim is to help strengthen node work, whilst developing their own experience and careers as young professionals in the climate change movement.


CAN’s LDP strengthens developing country climate change capacity and leadership. Young professionals with the right skills, passion and potential are selected as part of the Programme to work closely with CAN node Coordinators on different elements of node work. Importantly, this often means facilitating and ensuring the voice of their country or region is better heard at the international level. Fellows gain a wide range of policy, communications, and campaigns experience, which they are able to share within the network and beyond both during and after the Programme.


The current Fellows – Neoka Naidoo working with South Africa CAN (SA CAN), Amit Kumar working with Pacific Islands CAN (PICAN) and Adrian Yeo working with CAN Southeast Asia (CANSEA) - are currently supporting their respective nodes to increase stakeholder diversity, civil society coordination, and policy participation to strengthen the voice of civil society in these regions and at the international level. Each Fellow has been conducting their own work and attending specific events to represent and create opportunities for the network. Their experiences are sometimes shared on the CAN LDP blog.

The Fellows are bringing and building their own skills and experience simultaneously. Amit says, “it has been a great experience. This programme has enabled me to build my own capacity and foster durable relationships with others in the network. With more new challenges coming ahead of me, I am hoping to gain competencies in policy issues and the decision making process, develop my skills in building coalitions and networks, and improve my communication skills to transfer my knowledge and lessons learnt from this programme.”

In the past CAN’s LDP Fellows, representing all parts of CAN’s global network, have gone on to play leading roles in the CAN community.  We can’t wait to see where these Fellows’ futures take them! To read more about the current Fellows click here and to follow their experiences on our LDP blog click here.

Climate change and Sustainable Development Goals: opportunities in South Asia


Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) called upon the heads of governments of developing countries to coordinate their efforts on climate change adaptation plans and ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) reflect the urgency to address climate impacts at the conclusion of a 2 day conference that was organized in Colombo and was co-hosted by Janathakshan and Asia-Pacific Adaptation Network (APAN).


Parliamentarians, Government and Non-Governmental participants from Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan acknowledged that climate change is the greatest humanitarian, environmental and security threat facing the world today. Together they stressed the need for bottom-up, inclusive, responsive and flexible approach towards adaptation planning while ensuring that the SDGs converge with climate change goals.

 “Individual countries are now working on their National Adaptions Plans. It was interesting to note that Sri Lanka and Nepal have already started integrating climate change into their educational curriculum to increase awareness. Overall, the feeling I walked out with was that a lot more collective political ownership is required in the region to make progress on this front,” said Member of Parliament Malik M Uzair Khan from Pakistan who was a participant at workshop.

“We need to demystify climate change for our people and explain it in terms of how it affects their daily lives. That way we can bring climate change higher up on the political agenda since it will be seen as one of our primary challenges, which I would argue it is. Climate change is now not just an environmental challenge, but a developmental challenge too, and that is the context in which we must approach it,” he added.

The participants from diverse backgrounds acknowledged that without addressing climate change comprehensively, developmental planning would be weak. They also discussed options for pooling together knowledge and resources, and the need for a multi-stakeholder and multi-institutional approach to create a collaborative vision to address adaptation. The policy makers attending the workshop committed to facilitate help citizens of their States better understand impacts of climate change, as well as to prioritise focusing on climate change in the country’s political agenda.

CAN Tanzania urges government to choose low carbon development


CAN Tanzania along with Bread for the World and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, hosted a two day workshop at the end of February 2015 to explore sustainable low carbon development in Tanzania. Tanzania must choose a future pathway, on that will either lock it into high carbon energy infrastructure making the country dependent on fluctuating market prices, or will capitalize on the abundant solar potential and embrace alternative energy.


Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Environment, Deputy Director for Environment and Climate Change focal point in the Vice President’s offices, Richard Muyungi, highlighted this choice when he reflected, “the country recognises the need to ensure economic growth that is sustainable and on a path that is less emitting without compromising the national vision to become a middle- income country by year 2025.”


Coordinator of Climate Action Network Tanzania, Sixbert Mwanga, responded by urging politicians to seek alternative energy sources, to wean themselves off of fossil fuels and old technologies. The workshop highlighted all the low carbon energy alternatives there are on offer in Tanzania, including geothermal, wind, and solar. The workshop also discussed finance matters and solutions to developing sustainable and low-carbon transport infrastructure.


One of the most important outcomes of the workshop was that the participants agreed to continue working together and strengthen their coordination on the way to Paris. They also agreed to conduct research and start tracking climate finance while they continue lobbying government to promote more ambitious low carbon development pathways. They also agreed to create a database for climate change projects in the country.
Copyright © 2015 Climate Action Network - International, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences