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FEATURE: CDKN Press Briefing – Least developed countries need bigger say in climate talks


7 June 2011

For immediate release

CDKN: Least developed countries need bigger say in climate talks

Bonn – The global community is unlikely to reach a fair, ambitious deal to safeguard the most vulnerable from dangerous climate change, unless the poorest countries can strengthen their influence in the talks.

That is the message from the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), as UN climate change negotiations get under way in Bonn, Germany.  Hot on the heels of 2010, the year when man-made carbon emissions from energy reached their highest level ever (International Energy Authority, 2011), the need for lasting emissions reductions has never been more urgent.

CDKN is a unique Alliance comprising PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD International and Pakistan), Overseas Development Institute (UK), Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano (Ecuador), and SouthSouthNorth (South Africa). The Alliance is committed to helping developing countries, including the least developed, to tackle poverty and climate change by pursuing ‘climate compatible development’.

Sam Bickersteth, Chief Executive Officer of CDKN, warned of the consequences if least developed countries (LDCs) do not gain a stronger voice in the international talks. “If LDCs are not supported to develop stronger negotiating positions, they cannot influence the global ambition to slash greenhouse emissions – the consequences of which they feel most acutely. Critically, they will be unable to influence the flows of money and political support they need to build their own resilient, low-carbon economies.”

CDKN Asia Regional Director, Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, stressed that ignoring the voices of the poorest will have grave consequences: “Those that suffer the most are unlikely to get the help they need because their voices are not articulated clearly enough. The climate negotiations need to be more inclusive.” Asia is home to Least Developed Countries such as Bangladesh which have suffered some of the worst climate change-related flooding to date.

The current talks run from 6 – 16 June represent a critical milestone on the road to the Conference of the Parties (CoP) 17 meeting in late November in Durban, South Africa.  Proposals on the international agenda in 2011, such as the delivery of the Green Climate Fund and the Technology Mechanism to facilitate technology transfers, present significant opportunities to the least developed countries. If negotiators get these mechanisms right, LDCs could ‘leapfrog’ from old, inefficient technologies and a position of underdevelopment into green growth that brings their populations out of poverty and benefits the Earth’s climate.

“To engage meaningfully in the talks, LDCs need to evaluate the latest scientific reports, ground them in the local context and develop their own negotiating positions,” said Sam Bickersteth. “LDCs also need quick access to legal resources in order to have real influence. CDKN will give LDCs technical support to pursue their poverty reduction aims during the talks.”

CDKN plans to provide ongoing assistance to LDC decision-makers between negotiating rounds, as well as practical measures to support delegates’ attendance at the big UN meetings.

In addition to CDKN’s programme to magnify LDC voices in international climate talks, CDKN supports decision-makers across Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean to design and deliver climate compatible development policies and programmes. Since CDKN was formed with the support of the UK Government’s Department for International Development in March 2010, it has undertaken more than 35 projects in 30 countries.

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For more information:

CDKN’s Chief Operating Officer, Tim Ash-Vie, will present CDKN’s work in capacity building for LDCs in the UNFCCC process at a side event in Bonn. Tim will speak at ‘Building capacity of developing country leaders and negotiators to influence international talks’, co-hosted with the Centre for Comparative and International Studies (CIS), University of Zurich, at 8pm (WEST), 7 June 2011, Room METRO, Ministry of Transport, Bonn. A panel discussion will follow, including Orlando Rey from the Cuban delegation, Ephraim Mwepya Shitima from the Zambian delegation, and Farhana Yamin of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.


To arrange an interview with CDKN experts in Bonn, contact Tristan Stubbs (based in Bonn during the week of 6 June) at or +44 (0) 7921 088 472.

To arrange briefing in London during this week, contact Mairi Dupar at or +44 (0) 7921 088 475.

Notes for editors

1.The Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) supports developing country decision-makers in designing and delivering climate compatible development. We do this by combining research, advisory services and knowledge-sharing in support of locally owned and managed policy processes. We work in partnership with decision-makers in the public, private and non-governmental sectors nationally, regionally and globally.

CDKN is an alliance of six private and non-governmental organisations operating across Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, with a global office in London, UK. Our team includes climate scientists, researchers, economists, consultants and project managers, along with specialists in communication, networking and partnership building.

We are demand-led and source the best expertise to respond to developing country requests. In this process, we aim to strengthen capacity and foster long-term collaborative relations.

CDKN was established by the UK Government’s Department for International Development in March 2010 for an initial five-year period, and now also receives funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Please visit for more information.

2.CDKN defines climate compatible development as ‘development that minimises the harm caused by climate impacts, while maximising the many human development opportunities presented by a low emissions, more resilient, future’. For more, please see

3. The recently released report from the International Energy Authority (IEA) stated that manmade emissions reached a record high last year. Energy-related carbon dioxide emissionsfar exceeded the levels expected.

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