History was made in Paris on December 12, 2015 as representatives from about 200 UN Member States, convened in an exhibition center in the north of the French capital city to adopt a global agreement to help combat climate change!
To find out more about the structure of the agreement and its significance as a rallying call to action for all stakeholders, including civil society, businesses or national and regional governments, please read our previous blog post on the issue available here.
The Dominican delegation, included seven high-level delegates and a technical delegation of 15 men and 14 women headed by Mr. Omar Ramírez Tejada, the Executive Vice President of the National Council for Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism (CNCCMDL). Mr. Ramirez, who was present at the conclusion of the conference, explained to ListinDiario that they were content with the outcome of the negotiations given that about 80% of its proposals were taken into account in the Paris Agreement.
Few issues raised by the Dominican Republic were left out of the agreement, Ramirez noted, pointing to the fact that Article 12 of the agreement, concerning education, was fully proposed and “fought” for the country.
Some sticking points remained surrounding the absence of provisions in the agreement dealing with the need to develop adaptive capacities in agriculture, a priority for the Dominican economy. These considerations are particularly important for the development of early warning systems, as well as integrated watershed management policies and emergency plans for extreme weather events such as droughts and floods explained Ramírez. The Paris Agreement only deals with issues concerning safeguard for food security and ending hunger as a priority point, but no concrete policies are defined.
Another aspect that the country was unhappy with, like other developing nations, was the level of ambition shown by the developed countries, said Ramírez. Being the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, developed countries have a major responsibility in combatting climate change. Ramirez explained that this means their commitments must be higher than developing countries, and should support the least developed countries in the implementation of climate mitigation and adaptation policies. Before the agreement comes into force, this point will be revisited in the hope to make some adjustments.
Participants in the conference were also very active outside the negotiation rooms, as they sought collaborations to help further reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Two such efforts by the Dominican Republic, include the creation of the International Solar Alliance and the International Center for Implementation of Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (ICIREDD).
The solar alliance includes around 120 countries that support the “Declaration on the occasion to launch the international solar alliance of countries dedicated to the promotion of solar energy”. ICIREDD will aim to build upon these mentions of forests in the Paris text by further supporting work toward implementation of REDD+ activities in a way that is effective, fair and transparent.
About Mr. Omar Ramírez Tejada
The biologist Omar Ramirez Tejeda, has played an exemplary role in his positions, both in the environmental and natural resource sector and the public sector. He was Executive Director of the Center for Conservation of the Samaná Bay, a founding Member of the Dominican Environmental Consortium, member of the Executive Committee of the National Green Plan Quisqueya, and Executive Secretary of the Coordinating Commission of the Natural Resources and Environment Sector, which drafted Decree 64-00 on the environment and natural resources. Ramirez was also appointed as coordinator for the 9th goal during the drafting of the Millennium Development Goals. In 2007, the President of the Republic, Dr. Leonel Fernández appointed him as the Secretary of State for Environment and Natural Resources. A year later, Ramirez became the Executive Vice President of the National Council for Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism and chief of the Dominican delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.