August 15, 2023 - News

CSO Forum reflects on SB58, charts path to COP28

Meeting poster for the session

The Civil Society Organizations Forum on Social Forestry in ASEAN (CSO Forum) held an informal learning and reflection session last 11 August 2023 on the learnings from the Bonn Climate Change Conference (SB58), as well as its first preparatory meeting for this year’s iteration of the CSO Forum.

The session was attended by 12 members from various civil society organizations working in at least seven Southeast Asian countries.

The discussion started with a sharing from Lhakpa Nuri Sherpa, Environment Program Coordinator of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), about the key strides of Indigenous Peoples’ participation in the recently concluded SB58 (58th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation) held in Bonn, Germany last 5-15 June 2023. He highlighted a noticeable increase in participation and visibility of Indigenous peoples and youth during the process and the optimism for more engagement from Indigenous peoples in the upcoming COP28 (28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change).

Asami Segundo from Philippine Association for Intercultural Development also shared her experiences during the SB58 meeting. Segundo noted the importance for Indigenous communities to engage in the SB process so that Indigenous communities position themselves and put their concerns of Indigenous communities on the agenda of the COP.

Both speakers agreed on the need to engage and prepare upcoming CSO and community events to maximize the space as a precursor to the COP28 so that the Indigenous people’s caucus can bring together their experiences and learnings from the grassroots to international platforms/discussions.

“We need to go through the agenda or the COP28 and make sure that our CSO Forum is also aligned to that, in addition to our priorities right back in the region, and also to the community that we work with,” said Lhakpa.

Virtual group photo from the event

When asked about the key takeaways from the SB58 meeting, Segundo highlighted the need for preparation and a better understanding of the UNFCCC process, especially for those from the Indigenous peoples and local communities participating for the first time.

“It would be a great help for the CSO Forum [members] who haven’t been engaged in the UNFCCC process to understand, learn, build capacity, and do research and reach out to other organizations that have been involved with the UNFCCC process,” said Asami during the Q&A segment of the learning session.

CSO Forum 2023’s first preparatory meeting immediately followed the learning session. Dazzle Labapis from NTFP-EP Asia, head organizer of the CSO Forum, noted that despite the current focus on lobbying Indigenous peoples’ concerns on the international stage, the work should still start at the grassroots level.

“While we are working at the regional and global level now, we should not forget our roots at the country level,” said Labapis.

The planning sessions continued with discussions focusing on the agenda, particularly the possible ways to improve negotiations with national governments and how to link the grassroots-level concerns in the upcoming COP28 in Dubai.

The CSO Forum is set to do another learning session and preparatory meeting this coming September to finalize its meeting agenda. This year’s CSO Forum is slated to be held in October at Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Article written by JV Colili, for NTFP-EP Asia.

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