Areas of Work

Climate Change and the International Negotiations

Since 2011, QUNO has been observing climate negotiations held under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). QUNO staff regularly attend the Conferences of the Parties, as well as intersessional meetings in Bonn, Germany. We seek a fair, ambitious and transparent international climate change agreement applicable to all parties.

QUNO engages in “quiet diplomacy” work with a diverse group of UNFCCC negotiators. Our aim is to help build communication and understanding by providing a safe, off-the- record space where participants can listen, explore sensitive issues and exchange ideas on how to move forward. QUNO also co-hosts side events at the negotiations, primarily on human rights and conflict transformation issues.

Where appropriate, QUNO develops briefing papers that bring our experience of other international processes to bear on discussions within the UNFCCC. Recent papers include Preparing for ParisMoving Forward in International Negotiations: Four Innovative Examples and Increasing Trust and Effectiveness Under the UNFCCC: Learning from International Monitoring Processes.

Recent Timeline Events

September 2019

IPCC Report on the Ocean and Cryopshere

QUNO, under the Friends World Committee for Consultation, is the only faith-based organization accredited as an observer to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which collates the most recent climate science findings to advise all countries. While government representatives cannot change the underlying scientific text in the reports, they can negotiate language in the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM), so long as the integrity of the findings is not affected. From the 19th to the 24th of September states gathered in Monaco to discuss a special report which focused on the state of the ocean and the cryosphere, which refers to places on earth where water is in solid form such as glaciers, permafrost, and ice sheets. This report was particularly significant as it explicitly discussed some of the processes already occurring due to climate change, such as coral bleaching, ocean acidification, and glacial melting, alongside future projections of further change.

Lindsey Fielder Cook, QUNO’s representative for the Human Impacts of Climate Change programme, made a number of interventions concerning adaptation limits, human impacts and permafrost melting, and worked with negotiators to ensure the rights language of public participation in climate policy was included.  This report contains significant urgency for it is speaking to what many are already experiencing, particularly those most vulnerable such as the inhabitants of Small Island Developing States and indigenous Arctic communities. The report highlighted the difference between urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – manageable change – and continuing with insufficient action – unimaginable and unmanageable change to glaciers,  biodiversity and marine life, and the ability of  access to drinking water for billions of people. the report urges a urgent international action.

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August 2019

IPCC Report on Climate Change and Land

Deforestation in Brazil’s Para state. Andre Penner/AP

QUNO, under the Friends World Committee for Consultation, is the only faith-based organization accredited as an observer to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which  collates climate science findings to advise all countries. While government representatives cannot change text in the reports, they can negotiate language in the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM), so long as the integrity of the findings is not affected. Negotiation can result in weakening SPM language. At the recent IPCC meeting on Land, QUNO's Representative for Climate Change, Lindsey Fielder Cook, sought to protect language on sustainable and restorative behavior (diet, farming, consumption, restoration/regeneration of eco-systems) and consequences to insufficient action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. She summarized the Report’s main messages as: 1) land is currently absorbing (sink) some 20% of GHG emissions, 2) land degradation must be reversed and overall GHG emissions reduced, and 3) without this, land will become a GHG emission ‘source’, leading to irreversible eco-system collapse and ‘substantial additional GHG emissions from ecosystems that would accelerate global warming’.

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December 2018

QUNO at the COP 24 in Katowice, Poland

QUNO was present for the entire COP 24, in Katowice Poland.  The following article helps outline briefly the COP24 outcome.  During our time, QUNO observed the negotiations and spoke regularly with negotiators to encourage the adoption of an effective, fair and ambitious Rulebook to the Paris Agreement.  While progress was slow and rights-based language nearly absent, the work remains ongoing and QUNO will continue to engage with decision makers next year.  

In addition to the quiet diplomacy work, QUNO staff helped lead a workshop at an Interfaith Talanoa Dialogue, co-hosted and moderated a side event, Building a Spirit of Solidarity to overcome climate crisis, to an audience of some 200 people, supported the operationalization of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples’ Platform, funded and helped to facilitate a Human Rights and Climate Change Working Group Dinner, and organized an Interfaith Trip to Auschwitz Concentration Camp.

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