Emotions filled COP 19 of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Poland when Commissioner Naderev Saño, the lead negotiator of the Philippine delegation to the Conference, upon realizing the effects of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in his hometown province of Leyte, fell into tears as he delivered his speech asking the almost two hundred member-delegates to seek out a new agreement that may mitigate the effects of climate change. Citing the apparent lack of support for the Kyoto Protocol from among the developed nations, Commissioner Saño declared that by not following the primary goal of the Protocol—that is, to reduce global gas emissions that causes temperature changes—the Convention has confirmed the fate of the most vulnerable countries on the effects of climate change,including the Philippines. While his speech drew awareness on the issue of the vulnerability of some countries in the changing climate of modern times, the COP 19 has achieve a relatively smaller than desired goal—the creation and pledging of a mechanism similar to an insurance of developed countries for the climate change-related damages and loss to the developing countries. The possibility of creating a follow-up of the Kyoto Protocol, according to official sources, is on track but has yet to be materialized. With greater roles that non-state actors in global environmental governance have assumed, their non-inclusion into such conventions and agreements may entail that there are chances that a consensual, binding, and effective agreement on the global climate may not come into realization. Ongoing conventions and actions by international governmental organizations (IGOs) may provide avenues in order to create an agreement but may not be enforceable enough to all parties involved or may not deliver its desire outputs due to this relative absence of other stakeholders in official acts of global environmental governance.
When the Kyoto Protocol was created, only states and their respective governments were on the formal discussion phases of the treaty. Although some experts in the field of meteorology, environment, and other relevant areas may have been consulted in the formulation of the agreement, their roles have a very limited scope in comparison with those of the states. They were only present to provide inputs as to what limitations and set-ups that could be made available to the parties involved in the treaty and to maintain the records and compliance of parties in the Protocol. The expanded role of these experts must be considered, including directly heading Conferences of Parties, being appointed as the representatives of their respective countries, and adding provisions to a new global climate treaty that experts must head the environment ministries and departments of each respective state as much as possible—this, though, is already practiced by several countries. Improve participation of these experts may also mean better inputs on the progress of climate change and better formulation of scientific mechanisms that may be employed to achieve particular targets of a yet to be created global agreement.
Another actor whose bargaining mechanism is limited is the network of international non-government organizations and civil society groups. Although their actions can be very influential in the formulation of a global binding agreement on the environment, they do not have official representation and votes in such. While it may be true that some of their actions are powerful influences in effecting results in the formulation of such treaties, states can always turn a blind eye to such movements. Being independent from national governments and IGOs, these organizations embody the “other perspective” aspect that such conventions may not look into, including impacts of non-compliance of states to grassroots industries or undue government protection to national or multinational industries that are economically lucrative but violate various provisions of environmental agreements. Formal recognition may, in some way, resolve the clear absence of the global public, another actor in global environmental politics in talks about the global climate. Since these conventions desire to have a more binding, extensive, comprehensive, and accurate agreement, the expansion of official delegates from this underrepresented sector should be considered.
The prospect of having an effective global climate treaty is indeed uncertain although some degrees of hope to act immediately can be seen after the world witnessed the massive destruction brought by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). To comply with the deadline by 2020 may be possible but the quality and effectiveness of such treaty will then be again put into question. It is in the commitment of states to pursue an agreement and involvement of other stakeholders must be considered. As long as the shortcomings of the previous agreements are minimized, if not avoided, the prospects of cooperative global environmental governance can have a future forward.