CAN-LA and the Latin American Platform on Climate present on Latin America’s climate policies at COP19

By Enrique Maurtua Konstantinidis and Alison Kirsch 

ImagePhoto credit: Alison Kirsch 

Two of Latin America’s leading climate change networks organized a side event at COP19 in Warsaw, to analyze the climate policies of Brazil, Mexico, and Peru, while also sharing experiences of other countries in the region.

More than 130 people participated in the event on November 13, including various representatives from governments and civil society.

Daniel Ryan (Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales) presented a regional comparative analysis based on the experiences of ten Latin American countries published last year, with a focus on agriculture and forestry. Ryan presented common characteristics between the countries, such as a lack of finance and human capacity.

He stated that although strong political support for climate change in the domestic political agendas of these countries is lacking, existing policies are not as polarized between political parties as in other regions. Ryan concluded that in Latin America it is crucial to “integrate the climate agenda with development and other sectoral policies.”

Mariana Castillo (Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental) presented the key elements of Mexico’s General Climate Change Law and how civil society actively participated in the process. The law established emission reduction goals and involves many stakeholders from different levels of government.

The law also created a fund to direct public and private resources toward climate change programs. Castillo emphasized in her presentation that the law brings continuity to climate policy, though “implementation and coordination between different levels of government continues to be a challenge.”

Carlos Rittl (Climate Observatory) informed the audience that Brazil is the seventh largest emitter in the world. Emissions from deforestation have gone down, but have increased in other sectors such as energy – where emissions increased 126% since 1990. As Rittl said, this “indicates a lack of synergy among the different departments and levels of the government.” Additionally, fossil fuel usage is driven by billions of dollars in investment. In 2013, Brazil began to discuss its National Adaptation Plan, the latest progression of the National Climate Change Plan.

Isabel Calle (SPDA) spoke about Peru’s important role as a responsible leader and host looking toward COP20 in Lima in 2014. One of the country’s commitments is to create an energy mix where at least 40% is made up of nonconventional renewable energy and hydropower. She said, “Climate policy cannot be interred within the Ministry of the Environment, but must link with the energy, health, industry, and mining sectors.” Thus, it is important to allocate funds to these projects because of the risk that climate change proposes to Peru’s economy.

Latin American countries find themselves in a moment of opportunity for sustainable development, said Monica Araya, a former member of Costa Rica’s delegation to the UNFCCC. Araya emphasized the importance of integrating climate change into the democratic process. As more voters engage in the issue, Latin American politicians should do more to include climate change policies in their political strategies.

This press release was written by Enrique Maurtua Konstantinidis (CAN-LA Coordinator) and Alison Kirsch (Brown University). For more information, contact Enrique Maurtua Konstantinidis: enriquemk@yahoo.com +48-792-071-444

Originally published in Spanish by CAN-LA.

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