The Transition of COP from the Global North to the South

Photo Credit: Yahoo News

The twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) serving as the 1st meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1) commenced today with the election of Mr Salaheddine Mezouar of Morocco as its President. The Bab Ighli village site witnessed a transition of from French to Moroccan Presidency today. COP22 is widely speculated to be the COP of Action.

The divide of Global North and South can be clearly witnessed across all preceding COPs and will be visible at COP22 as well. The Brandt Line was developed to represent geographically the richer and poorer nations. According to the model, with the exception of Australia and New Zealand, most of the richer countries of the world are located in the Northern Hemisphere whilst poorer countries are located in the tropics and the African continent, which falls on the Southern Hemisphere. However, over time the North-South divide was deemed less accurate with countries such as Malaysia and Argentina have above global average GDP. Yet, Malaysia remains as one of the very few counties from the South voicing out at the climate negotiations organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Paris agreement focusses on developing countries in the south and how they take action for climate change adaptation and mitigation whilst promoting developed countries in the North to support the developing world financially. The baton was passed from the Paris; the global North to Marrakesh, the global South to host COP22 accordingly.

Morocco has a unique geographic location, representing not only the Arab world but North Africa as well. In a region renowned for its use of fossil fuel, Morocco aims to be driven 52% by renewable energy in 2030 and has embarked on its journey of achieving it. In one of the world’s most water-stressed areas, Morocco is powering forward with its action plans to combat climate change. In a world driven by western politics, these years climate negotiations have been shadowed by the US elections.

Climate change is a global phenomenon that affects mankind regardless of country, race, and religion although its immediate effects are witnessed mostly in the global south. In a week where the world’s attention is focused on the US elections, lie the global south; the most vulnerable to climate change hosting one of the most important climate negotiations the world will ever witness.

Written by Dulanga Witharanage
Edited by Elaine See

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