World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010


Climate change consequences in MENA (280) - Panel

· Date: WED, 21 / 5 -7 pm

· Language: English

· Description:

Chair: Johanna Alkan Olsson (Lund University)

Paper presenter: Johanna Alkan Olsson (Assistant Professor, Lund University, Sweden), “Promoting Climate Change Policies in Turkey: Post Kyoto Climate Change Regime Cooperation”
Turkey has recently ratified the Kyoto Protocol while the Protocol’s first commitment period is coming to an end. Promoting participation may be the greatest challenge for the design of the possible post-Kyoto regime. Empirical analyses of ratification of environmental treaties demonstrate that simple correlations between Turkey’s ratification of the Protocol and its position in the post-Kyoto treaty regime negotiations hide a great deal. There is not always a positive correlation between state’s tendency to ratify environmental treaties with credibility. The aim of this paper is to assess Turkey’s willingness and/or ability to take on the commitments and to understand the structural factors behind environmental position and adaptive capacity of the country for the compliance level. Such an assessment may serve several purposes: First and foremost, it is of intrinsic value: understanding why some states ratify a treaty immediately after it opens for signature while others wait for several years to do so is important for understanding the growth and evolution of international environmental law during the last few decades. By doing so, we can improve our understanding of international cooperation and the role of law within it. This knowledge can be used, moreover, to fashion more effective international environmental treaties. This paper also promises to offer a glimpse into to what extent international (environmental) law shapes state behavior. For instance, if states are rational actors, then we can learn something about the effects states anticipate will flow from treaties by examining what makes ratification more or less likely. Countries differ greatly in their stage of development, capacity to reduce greenhouse gases, and vulnerability to climate change. However, no matter whether a future agreement relies on emissions targets the Kyoto Protocol embodies or on other mechanisms, the fundamental quest for any future development of the CCR is to make economic activity more environmentally sustainable in all countries. Such understanding can help to design more effective and robust international accords which is a fundamental basis to create a more sustainable future.

Paper presenter: Christina Sasayiannis (Anthropologist, RCMA, Italy), “The Meaning of Water: Climatic and Culture Change”
Sudan is a country with enormous potential to become a relevant country in Africa, not only from an economical point of view, but overall for the cultural wealth that it represent. The cultural differences of many ethnic groups that live in the largest country of Africa establishes an important framework for some basic knowledge of the Country, but more specifically they underline its ethnological and anthropological interest. This speech will give the cultural panorama of part of the Sudanese population and focus the attention of the direct consequence of climatic change and territory change. Local cultures must reinvent themselves and draw on sources that until recently they did not know or owned. Furthermore the territorial change represents not only the threat of renewed conflicts but also the changing of knowledge of territory and landscapes. Women are the main actors involved in this change. They are those who collect water and wood, those who know where to find water and walk in the desert looking for new water sources.

Paper presenter: Ethemcan Turhan (PhD Student, ICTA, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain), “Wrong Time, Wrong Place: Climate Justice Discourse in Turkey’s Climate Change Policy”
The climate change summit in Copenhagen in December 2009 ended as a mere failure for the climate regime under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. However the failure of the formal talks brought about the emergence of a new way of dealing with climate change politics through mass mobilizations for climate justice. This paper aims to look into the development of climate justice discourse and its implications into climate change policy in Turkey as an emerging economy whose greenhouse gas emissions lag behind the major players despite showing a sharp rise in net emissions and being an Annex-1 party to the convention. Yet Turkey being a recent signatory to Kyoto Protocol is not listed in the Annex-B of Kyoto Protocol and thus not eligible to join international carbon markets. This has triggered the government to develop strategies for more engagement in the carbon markets and investment through these markets in the near future. Turkey has presented its Draft National Climate Change Strategy Plan in Copenhagen during COP15 and received a variety of responses. Mainly development of the climate justice discourse at the international level, its reflections in the Turkish national context and possible paths that this discourse could take in Turkey will be discussed in this paper. The perceptions and climate justice narratives of the stakeholders engaged in policymaking and implementation will be presented. Co-author: Hyerim Yoon, ICTA, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.