Lawyers needed to negotiate climate change: experts

The Zimbabwe climate change negotiating team for the Conference of the Parties negotiations must include lawyers to help interpret the cumbersome processes involved, stakeholders agreed at a recent COP 17 report back meeting.

“As compared to other neighbouring countries, Zimbabwe has no lawyers who represent the negotiating teams to help interpret the cumbersome processes,” said Peter Gondo, Deputy Director of the Southern Alliance of Indigenous Resources, at a one-day workshop hosted by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management.

“Negotiations at climate change meetings are characterised by technical jargon crafted by the wily developed countries. To counter such motives, developing countries such as Zimbabwe need to include lawyers in their team,” he said.

In a separate interview, the Director of the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association, Mutuso Dhliwayo, told The Zimbabwean: “There are no lawyers in that (negotiating) team and one wonders how interpretation of agreed deals is done during these critical meetings.”

Negotiations at climate change meetings are characterised by technical jargon The meeting also agreed that different teams representing the government, civil society organisations, the private sector and local communities should have faith and trust in each other when sharing information so as to build a collective voice during these negotiations, said Shepherd Zvigadza, Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Climate Change Working Group.

The Zimbabwe Government team was reported to be cagey with information and unwilling to share with other national key stakeholders such as civil society.

This was in marked contrast to neighbouring South Africa, Malawi and Zambia, which usually presented concerted positions.

Experts agree that for the outcomes from the Durban 2011 Climate Change Conference to achieve any meaningful contributionto sustainable development, developing countries should be represented by more legal experts.

Analysts have repeatedly criticized the government for its lack of comprehensive and effective policies to combat climate change’s adverse effects, already being felt in the form of frequent droughts and resulting famine.

Post published in: Environment

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