Sunday, 11 December 2011

Climate talks end with late deal

Newslink: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16124670
  
Elements of the draft text caused much discussion

11 December 2011 Last updated at 07:10 GMT
 By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News, Durban

UN climate talks have closed with an agreement that the chair said had "saved tomorrow, today".

The European Union will place its current emission-cutting pledges inside the legally-binding Kyoto Protocol, a key demand of developing countries.

Talks on a new legal deal covering all countries will begin next year and end by 2015, coming into effect by 2020.

Management of a fund for climate aid to poor countries has also been agreed, though how to raise the money has not.

Talks ran nearly 36 hours beyond their scheduled close, with many delegates saying the host government lacked urgency and strategy.

Nevertheless, there was applause in the main conference hall when South Africa's International Relations Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, brought down the long-awaited final gavel.

"We came here with plan A, and we have concluded this meeting with plan A to save one planet for the future of our children and our grandchildren to come," she said.

"We have made history."

The conclusion was delayed by a dispute between the EU and India over the precise wording of the "roadmap" for a new global deal.

India did not want a specification that it must be legally binding.

Eventually, a Brazilian diplomat came up with the formulation that the deal must have "legal force", which proved acceptable.

The roadmap proposal originated with the EU, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the Least Developed Countries bloc (LDCs).

They argued that only a new legal agreement eventually covering emissions from all countries - particularly fast-growing major emitters such as China - could keep the rise in global average temperatures since pre-industrial times below 2C (35.6F), the internationally-agreed threshold.

"If there is no legal instrument by which we can make countries responsible for their actions, then we are relegating countries to the fancies of beautiful words," said Karl Hood, Grenada's Foreign Minister, speaking for AOSIS.

"While they develop, we die; and why should we accept this?"

Impassioned arguments

Delegates from the Basic group - Brazil, South Africa, India and China - criticised what they saw as a tight timetable and excessive legality.

"I stand firm on my position of equity," said an impassioned Jayanthi Natarajan, India's environment minister.

"This is not about India, it is about the entire world."

India believes in maintaining the current stark division where only countries labelled "developed" have to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

Western nations, she said, have not cut their own emissions as they had pledged; so why should poorer countries have to do it for them?

Xie Zhenhua, head of the Chinese delegation, agreed.

Apparently trembling with rage, he berated the developed countries: "We are doing things you are not doing... we want to see your real actions".

However, Bangladesh and some other developing countries weighed in on the side of AOSIA, saying a new legally-binding deal was needed.

AOSIS and the LDCs agree that rich countries need to do more.
 
But they also accept analyses concluding that fast-developing countries such as China will need to cut their emissions several years in the future if governments are to meet their goal of keeping the rise in global average temperature since pre-industrial times below 2C.

Once the roadmap blockage had been cleared, everything else followed quickly

There were some surreal moment of confusion, but few objections, except from members of the Latin American Alba group, who said the developed world was not living up to its promises

Green fund
A management framework was adopted for the Green Climate Fund, which will eventually gather and disburse finance amounting to $100bn (£64bn) per year to help poor countries develop cleanly and adapt to climate impacts.

There has also been significant progress on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD).

Environment groups were divided in their reaction, with some finding it a significant step forward and others saying it had done nothing to change the course of climate change.

Many studies indicate that current pledges on reducing emissions are taking the Earth towards a temperature rise of double the 2C target.
 
Michael Jacobs, visiting professor at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment in London, said the agreement could bring real changes.

"The agreement here has not in itself taken us off the 4C path we are on," he said.
"But by forcing countries for the first time to admit that their current policies are inadequate and must be strengthened by 2015, it has snatched 2C from the jaws of impossibility.

"At the same time it has re-established the principle that climate change should be tackled through international law, not national, voluntarism."


U.N. climate talks agree legal pact on global warming

Newslink: http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/12/11/climate-kyoto-idINDEE7BA00F20111211

Photo:  Reuters/Rogan Ward


By Jon Herskovitz and Nina Chestney




DURBAN
Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:50am IST


DURBAN (Reuters) - U.N. climate change talks agreed a pact on Sunday that for the first time would force all the biggest polluters to take action to slow the pace of global changing.

The deal follows years of failed attempts to impose legally-binding, international cuts on emerging giants, such as China and India.

The developed world had already accepted formal targets under a first phase of the Kyoto Protocol, which runs out at the end of next year, although the United States had never ratified its commitment.

After days of emotional debate, the chairwoman of the United Nations climate talks urged delegates to approve four packages, which have legal force.

"We came here with plan A, and we have concluded this meeting with plan A to save one planet for the future of our children and our grandchildren to come," South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said.

"We have made history," she said, bringing the hammer down on more than two weeks of sometimes fractious talks in the South African port of Durban, the longest in two decades of U.N. climate talks.

The deal was welcomed by Brazil, one of the globe's emerging economic powers.

"I am relieved we have what we came here to get. We have a robust outcome, an excellent text about a new phase in the international fight against climate change. It clearly points to action," said Brazil's climate envoy Luiz Alberto Figueiredo.

The Durban talks had been due to wrap up on Friday, but dragged into a second extra day on Sunday because of disputes over how to phrase the legal commitment.

The European Union pushed for strong wording and the three biggest emitters the United States, China and India resisted.

"We've had very intense discussions, we were not happy with reopening the text, but in the spirit of flexibility and accommodation shown by all, we have shown our flexibility, we have agreed to the words you just mentioned and we agree to adopt it," India's Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said.

But environmentalists and small island states, which fear they literally could sink under the rising sea levels caused by climate change, have said it is still not strong enough.

(Reporting by Nina Chestney, Barbara Lewis, Agnieszka Flak, Andrew Allan, Michael Szabo and Stian Reklev; editing by Jon Boyle)

World's nations set course for 2015 global climate pact


By Marlowe Hood and Richard Ingham

Photo courtesy of AFP
DURBAN, December 11, 2011 (AFP) -- A marathon UN climate conference on Sunday approved a roadmap towards an accord that for the first time will bring all major emitters of greenhouse gases under a single legal roof.

If approved as scheduled in 2015, the pact will be operational from 2020 and become the prime weapon in the fight against climate change.

The deal was reached after nearly 14 days of talks under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The world forum also launched a "Green Climate Fund" to help channel up to 100 billion dollars a year in aid to poor, vulnerable countries by 2020, an initiative born under the 2009 Copenhagen Summit.

Approval came after two and a half days of round-the-clock wrangling among 194 nations.

Even by UNFCCC standards, the meeting broke the record for going into overtime.

The talks should have ended on Friday but wrapped up in the dawn light of Sunday amid scenes of exhaustion and shredded nerves.

And the often-stormy exchanges reflected concerns among many countries over the cost of making energy efficiencies and switching to clean renewable sources at a time of belt-tightening.

UNFCCC chief Christiana Figueres was exultant.

Citing the words of Nelson Mandela, she said on Twitter: "In honour of Mandela: It always seems impossible until it is done. And it is done!

"I think in the end it ended up quite well," said US chief negotiator Todd Stern.

"The first time you will see developing countries agreeing, essentially, to be bound by a legal agreement."

European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the deal marked the shift that had occurred over the last 20 years, when the world first set out to tackle climate change and tied only rich countries to carbon constraints.

"The BASIC countries took some significant new steps in acknowledging that the world of the 21st century is not the same as the 20th century," she said referring to the four big emerging economies -- Brazil, South Africa, India and China.

In the runup to the conference, scientists pounded out loud warnings, saying future generations would pay the bill for foot-dragging.

Current measures to tackle carbon emissions are falling far short of the goal of limiting warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

According to research presented by German scientists, the world is on track for a 3.5 C (6.3 F) rise, spelling worsening droughts, floods, storms and rising sea levels for tens of millions of people.

The European Union (EU) led the charge in Durban, pushing for the "roadmap" in exchange for renewing its pledges to the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty deemed iconic by developing countries but increasingly dismissed by rich ones as out of date.

Kyoto's first roster of legally-binding carbon curbs expires at the end of 2012.

The EU will sign up for fresh commitments taking effect from 2013, although this will be little more than symbolic, translating into the UN framework its existing plan for reducing European greenhouse-gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020 over 1990 levels.

It could also be joined by New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland in a show of unity, say European diplomats. The duration of the post-2013 commitments will be either five or eight years; negotiations on this will take place next year.

The EU made the pledge to help assemble a coalition of developing and small island states -- together accounting for nearly two-thirds of the world's nations -- that lobbied China, the United States and India to support the quest.

China and India have become huge emitters of carbon over the last half-dozen years but do not have Kyoto constraints as they are developing countries.

The United States, the world's no. 2 source of man-made carbon, also has no legal curbs as it refused in 2001 to ratify Kyoto.

The key to the Durban deal lay in overcoming the opposition of the Big Three by crafting vague text about what the pact will be -- essentially reassuring them that the price will not be unaffordable.

Observers say the talks for the 2015 pact will be arduous.

The thorny issues include determining the agreement's exact legal status and apportioning carbon constraints among rich and poor countries.

"A heavy load of work ahead on the post 2020 arrangement needs to be done," China said in a statement, eyeing next year's UNFCCC conference in the Gulf state of Qatar.

"The lack of political will is the main element that hinders cooperation on addressing climate change in the international community. We expect political sincerity from developed countries next year."

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Ministers battle to save UN climate talks

Newslink:  http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFJOE7B902320111210?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0&sp=true

By Agnieszka Flak and Barbara Lewis

Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:37pm GMT



Hopeful during the opening plenary of COP 17

DURBAN (Reuters) - Ministers fought to save U.N. climate talks from collapse on Saturday, searching to narrow differences between rich and poor nations over how quickly to fight global warming.

Ministerial negotiations in the South African port city of Durban dragged into Saturday afternoon but with many delegates due to head home, there was a strong chance real decisions would be put off until next year.

That would be a major setback for host South Africa and raise the prospect that the Kyoto Protocol, the only global pact that enforces carbon cuts, could expire at the end of next year with no successor treaty in place.

Behind the haggling over technical details, the talks boil down to a tussle between the United States, which wants all polluters to be held to the same legal standard on emissions cuts, and China and India which want to ensure their fast growing economies are not shackled.

"We are just right now discussing how to increase ambition, not only in the long-term but also in the short term," said EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard.

"I don't give up. We never give up until all the possibilities are exhausted. Some of them are moving. It would be such a pity if the world wasted this opportunity," she said.

Negotiators were arguing over the wording of a range of highly technical sections that make up the broad agreement, which covers a range of topics from greenhouse gas emissions targets to forestry accounting rules, green tech transfers and cash to help poor countries adapt to climate change.

Two weeks of talks between almost 200 states in the South African port of Durban were due to end on Friday. But island nations and developing states under threat from the rising sea-levels and extreme weather linked to global warming, demanded a more ambitious text.

The European Union backed the group, having sought to build a consensus around its roadmap for push all major polluters to accept legally binding cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions.


"They're working. They're working hard. You have to give them time to work," said U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

But Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists lobby group said the talks could not drag on forever.


"We are getting to the point where they have to come up quickly with a deal and bring it to the plenary or suspend the discussions and have the secretariat say when they will resume again," he said.

Protesting for Climate Justice during the COP

TICKETS HOME

Many delegates from poor nations were packing their bags on Saturday, having booked flights home. That could leave the countries most vulnerable to climate change without a voice when the plenary session reconvenes.

"Developing countries have very small delegations, two to three people... Many of us have already left," said Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, chairman of the Africa Group. "Many ministers are also gone from our group, so that creates a bit of a problem."

South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has struggled to draft a document that can both advance the fight against climate change and secure a broad consensus.

Changes put forward on Saturday disappointed developing states and the European Union, who complained they contained no reference to how the fight against climate change would be paid for and set no date by when cuts to emissions must be decided.

The discussion document also deferred decisions on cutting emissions from international aviation and shipping to next year.


FRUSTRATION

The European Union has tried to rally support for its plan to set a date of 2015 at the latest for a new climate deal that would impose binding cuts on the world's biggest emitters of heat-trapping gases. Any deal could then come into force up to five years later.

Failure to reach a concrete accord in Durban would cast doubt over measures tentatively agreed by delegates. They include measures to protect forests and another to bring to life the Green Climate Fund, designed to help poor nations tackle global warming.


U.N. reports released in the last month show time is running out to restrict global warming to safe limits, generally accepted as within a 2 degree Celsius rise in average global temperatures. A warming planet has already intensified droughts and floods, increased crop failures and sea levels could rise to levels that would submerge several small island nations.

Many of their delegates wanted South Africa to do more to broker a deal that better protects the poor countries it pledged to help, and were disappointed the host did not show more leadership to push through a settlement.

"They have let agreements slip through their fingers. If we do reach any outcome that advances the process, it will not be because of South Africa's leadership. It will be despite South Africa," said one envoy.


Delegates struggle to craft new climate pact

By Juliet Eilperin,
Published: December 9
Source: Washington Post
Updated: Saturday, December 10, 4:05 AM


Inside Indaba talks

Optimism at the U.N. talks in Durban, South Africa, gave way to pessimism Saturday, as delegates bickered over how to launch a process that could forge a new global warming pact by 2015.

With time running out, a coalition of small island nations and the European Union floated the option of holding an interim meeting at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in late June to hammer out a meaningful compromise.

The proposal would “launch a work programme to identify and explore options to increase mitigation ambition” by countries so the world could take on steeper cuts in greenhouse gases linked to climate change. The U.N. Secretariat would publish a new technical paper by April that would summarize the current climate science, and then ministers would convene in Rio to craft a deal that could be approved by the end of 2012 in Qatar.

The last time U.N. delegates have taken such an unusual step, known as a “bis,” was a decade ago, after President George W. Bush announced he had no intention of submitting the Kyoto Protocol for Senate ratification. That meeting, in July 2001, ended up salvaging the 1997 climate pact.

“It’ll be a terrible shame if they can’t seize the opportunity to close the deal and launch the roadmap to a new agreement here in Durban,” Jennifer Haverkamp, international climate director at the advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund, wrote in an e-mail. “But if they can’t, they should keep the momentum moving in the right direction and take another run at it sooner rather than later.”

The world’s three biggest greenhouse gas emitters — China, the United States and India, respectively — have resisted calls throughout the week to commit to a new legally binding climate treaty. China and India are not bound to emissions cuts under the current climate treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, while the United States did not ratify it. But these nations began to show some flexibility Friday.

Shortly before midnight in Durban, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa’s foreign minister and the conference’s president, published a new text that called for starting “a process to develop a Protocol or another legal instrument applicable to all Parties under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change” that would finish “no later than 2015.”

It remained unclear what exact legal obligations both industrialized and major developing countries would have under the proposal. But Jennifer Morgan, who directs the climate and energy program at the World Resources Institute, wrote in an e-mail that if it was adopted, “this would be an important milestone for the international climate regime.”

The latest proposal came after the nations most imperiled by sea-level rise and other climate problems made it clear they had lost patience with the world’s major carbon emitters.
 
At one point Friday during a negotiating session, Ian Fry — who represents the low-lying island state of Tuvalu — observed that “we hear expressions of concern” about global warming, “yet some countries say they will not do anything until 2020. We see that as irresponsible.”

Fry suggested that India, Brazil and South Africa could lose the support of these vulnerable nations in their quests to become permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. “For us, this is a security issue,” he said, “and we would need to consider this in the context of the Security Council.”
 
As the talks dragged on, activists staged a sit-in at the conference center and directed their ire at the United States, chanting phrases including “Climate justice now!” and “U.S. out!” Many of them, including Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace’s international executive director, were thrown out of the conference and had their accreditation badges revoked

Before being removed, Naidoo said, “We are here to stand with the most vulnerable countries, whose basic survival needs have not been met by the men and women in that conference hall. . . . The United States delegation is right now organizing, line by line, the means by which United Nations member states will be eradicated from the map. We will not tolerate this.”

The State Department declined to comment on the protests or the ongoing negotiations.

The talks nearly fell apart in the middle of the day when Nkoana-Mashabane released a vaguely worded document that called on the conference’s 194 parties to “develop a legal framework applicable to all” after 2020 to address climate change.
 
That sparked resistance from delegates such as Selwin Hart, the lead finance negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States.
 
“We had to come up with something significantly more ambitious,” Hart said, adding that the delegates remained at the table because “there is an honest commitment that this is the place where important decisions on climate change should be made.”

But, Paul Bledsoe, a senior adviser at the D.C.-based Bipartisan Policy Center, questioned in an e-mail whether the “dysfunctional” process that came out of the United Nations should dictate American climate policy.
 
“The lesson is simple — climate leadership can and must spring from U.S. economic and security interests, not as a U.N. byproduct,” Bledsoe wrote.













Friday, 9 December 2011

Protest to Make a Difference

An effort from the Civil Society Organisations calling upon the decision makers inside the meeting rooms to make a difference and bring about a positive change for survival.  The protest drew large crowds with their chants, time will tell if world leaders are listening.


A rally pushing for a stronger outcome from Durban











PACC will boost plans on Communications


(L-R) PACC Regional Project Manager Mr Taito Nakalevu,
PACC Solomon Is Coordinator  Mr Casper Supa, and
PACC Palau Coordinator Mr Jerome Temengil

Durban, South Africa, 9 December - The Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project has raised its profile at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa.  Over the last two weeks, the project that carries out adaptation actions at the community level in 14 Pacific countries has shared the achievements and lessons learnt through many different platforms.

During the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework to the Convention on Climate Change PACC has been featured at numerous side events, showcased the short film "Vital Roads" and distributed different resources about the project and what has been achieved.  Presentations have been made by the national coordinators of Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga so audiences have heard directly from those who are leading these activities in-country.  Partners of the multi-million dollar project have encouraged the Pacific-wide project to continuing promoting the adaptation work that is done.

“These presentations with key results are what we should take to the audience especially to the donor countries of the Special Climate Change Fund as it will put them in a better position to raise funds,” said Mr Rawleston Moore, the Global Environment Facility Small Island Developing States Focal Point.

United Nations Development Programme – Global Environment Facility Senior Technical Advisor – Adaptation (Global) Mr Pradeep Kurukulasuriya shared the same sentiment.

“Like GEF mentioned we need more of these products, there are not enough of these communicated on what most of the countries are already doing with the limited resources already available.”

“We can use these projects that are ongoing to communicate what is being done with resources that have been mobilised; it can only help because in the eyes of the donors there is still misconception that assessments are being done but not actual implementation on the ground," he said.

H.E Ambassador Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia, the Ambassador from Samoa to the United Nations was part of the panel that

“The presentation shared with us is what is actually happening on the ground and too often the donors do not get to hear our message but I think of having this as an opportunity for the accountability process.”

With support from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research Climate Change Capacity Development Programme, the PACC Project recently added to its regional team a Communications Coordinator to ensure the third component of the project, that is Communications and Technical Support is achieved.

This shows commitment by the project and the value of communicating the work and lessons learnt to its audience.

Member countries are currently finalising communications plans and have begun work on developing information packages and visibility materials to raise the awareness.

The PACC Project focus on three development sectors, Samoa, Vanuatu, Federated States of Micronesia, Tokelau, and Cook Islands are under the Coastal Management Sector; Fiji, Solomon Islands, Palau and Papua New Guinea are under the Food Production and Food Security Sector; and Niue, Nauru, Tuvalu, Tonga and Republic of the Marshall Islands are under the Water Resource Management Sector.

The project is implemented by UNDP in partnership with SPREP and funded by GEF and the Australian Agency for International Development with support from the UNITAR C3D+ Programme.

Climate Change Action in Urban Centres


Lami (Image Source: flickr.com)

The people of Lami Town, Fiji are being empowered to combat the impacts of climate change through a partnership between the Fiji Government and the United Nations Habitat.

The Climate Change Action in Urban Centres began in 2010 and is a pilot project that to enable the people in adapting and mitigating climate change impacts at community level.

The project was showcased at the 17th Conference of Parties delegates in Durban, South Africa during a side event with the hope to create more awareness and welcome further assistance to continue the project.

Fiji’s Director of Environment Mr Jope Davetanivalu said, “Lami town is vulnerable to coastal erosion and flooding from the nearby rivers that surround the town and the Lami Town Council and the Government has been spending a lot of money to try and rehabilitate the area against natural disasters.”

He added that through the community mobilisation the council was able to develop the Disaster Risk Management Plan to act as their strategy in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

“So far from the coastal erosion point of view, the council has utilised tyres that are creating rubbish to act as a seawall or seabed toward coastal erosion, secondly the vehicles are running on bio-fuel and thirdly they have changed their light bulbs to the more economical one which consumes less energy.

“And on top of that they have undertaken community mobilisation of many business communities, local communities, villages and settlements in Lami.

Mr Davetanivalu is glad that the health component is taken into consideration in regards to climate change, mitigation and adaptation which is often left aside.

“The Lami Health Unit works well with the Ministry of Hope by helping the communities on the health effects of climate change.”

Chief Executive Officer of the
LamiTown Council Ms Priya Ieli

Lami town is adjacent to Suva, the capital of Fiji and is home to 22,000 people located near the near the coast with five rivers running through it which makes it highly vulnerable.

“The area is mostly an industrial and manufacturing area and also reclaimed so we are vulnerable and we need take action now,” said the Chief Executive Officer of the Lami Town Council Ms Priya Ieli

 “We have been meeting with the ministry of the local government on the issue of resettlement that are along the coastal area, through the Vulnerability and Adaptation there is a lot that can be achieved.”

The concept of the project was presented to the Lami Town Council in which they took ownership of and has been successfully assisting the people in the area ever since.

The project tends to continue with no definite end time and Lami plans to target more problematic areas for example the mainstreaming of climate change into the budgeting, and the policy development process.

AOSIS call for Legally Binding Agreement


The Alliance of the Small Island States is calling for a new legally binding protocol to exist alongside the Kyoto Protocol that would include mitigation commitments from non-Kyoto Parties, mitigation actions for developing countries, and the means of implementation for developing countries.

Agreement on legal form is necessary to provide certainty to Parties so that they are willing to raise their mitigation ambition.

Fiji’s Permanent Secretary of Environment and delegate to the 17th Conference of Parties in Durban, South Africa, Ms Taina Tagicakibau said,

“The legally binding agreement is tied in to all other obligations to meet their cost of responsibility of polluting the world. They have to deliver on this and give their equivalent contribution on this in money terms and to assist us developing countries to undertake capacity building, adaptation and mitigation projects to be able to meet our own obligation under this convention.

“It’s particularly important for us not only to make them comply but for the fact to have them to pay their contribution in terms of money otherwise we’ll continue to have this framework that is an empty shell or empty coat because it doesn’t have the capitalisation of fund.

The AOSIS has called for a Durban mandate to negotiate a new protocol under the climate convention by 2012 with ambitious mitigation goals consistent with holding warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Seal the Durban Deal: Minister Fugui

Press release from the Solomon Islands Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management & Meteorology


Solomon Islands Minister for Environment, Climate Change,
Disaster Management and Meteorology, Hon John Moffat Fugui


Speaking at the High Level Segment of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, Solomon Islands Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Hon John Moffat Fugui, MP, said, “Africa is the undisputed cradle of humankind”.

“In Durban, we are gathered to write the next chapter in the story of our journey. This journey had started millions of years ago in Africa. Ironically, it is on African soil that the fate of humanity is to be sealed” said the Minister. He continued, “Today, we are presented that Opportunity” and we must “Seal the Durban Deal”.

The Minister is confident that Heads of States, Heads of Governments and Global Environment Ministers can depart Durban with a balanced outcome.  “We are leaders chosen by our people. As such, we have an obligation to do what is morally Right, Just, and Noble”. Hence, he went on to say, “delivering a balanced outcome depends on strong leadership by the Annex I Parties. It also requires Non-Annex I Parties, who are major emitters, to take on some of these responsibilities”.

The Minister continued, that, his delegation expects to depart Durban with the following outcomes in their brief cases:

    • First, urgent actions have to be taken to reduce greenhouse emissions to desired levels. Solomon Islands wishes to ensure that the mean global temperature is reduced to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
    • Second, we must ensure we have a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol with more ambitious targets.
    • Third, we must ensure we have an inclusive mandate for a new legally binding instrument. This will complement the Kyoto Protocol with binding mitigation targets for those who are not party to the Kyoto Protocol and mitigation actions for major developing countries.
    • Fourth, we must ensure the operationalization of a financial architecture provides a scaled-up financial support to vulnerable countries in order to respond effectively to the adverse effects of climate change. In Durban, an Agreement has to be reached to operationalize and capitalize the Green Climate Fund.
    • And, Fifth, we must implement the Cancun Agreement.

Solomon Islands Minister for Environment, Climate Change,
Disaster Management and Meteorology, Hon John Moffat Fugui

On adaptation, the Minister said, Solomon Islands is implementing its National Adaptation Programs of Action (NAPA). He also said that we are further implementing “the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) Project and the Adaptation Fund Board Project of which Solomon Islands is one of the first beneficiaries globally and the first recipient in the Pacific region to address Agriculture and Food Security. Here, faith-based organizations are involved. Here, also, gender issues are given high priority”.

On mitigation, the Minister went on to say that under the UN-REDD Program, Solomon Islands is developing a National REDD+ Strategy, which is a prerequisite for the REDD readiness. We have also completed our National Renewable Energy Strategy.

On mitigation, also, the Minister recognized that Taiwan is a major donor, providing renewable energy, to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change in the country. He requested, therefore, that the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat recognizes the contributions of Taiwan. “Like Palestine”, he said, “it is timely, just and proper if Taiwan is made an observer to participate in and contribute to issues of and solutions to Climate Change”.

The Minister went on to remind parties that Responsibility comes with Accountability. “Our children will hold us accountable if we don’t hear their silent voices. Our grandchildren will hold this against us, if we don’t hear their cries”, concluded the Minister.

For these reasons of inter-generational equity, the central message of Minister Fugui’s Statement to the High Level Segment of the Seventeenth Session of the Conference of the Parties and the Seventh Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol is that we must Save Tomorrow, Today! And Seal the Durban Deal!

Contact Person:

Rence Sore
Permanent Secretary
Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management & Meteorology
Mobile: + 27 (0) 76 355 3640
Email: psmecm@googlemail.com
Durban, South Africa

From Tuvalu to South Africa, battling climate change for survival


L - R Ms. Pepetua Latasi Tuvalu, Dr. Netatua Pelesikoti, SPREP

Durban, South Africa, 9 December - A young woman from Tuvalu sits at the head table during the climate change negotiations in Durban, South Africa, presiding as the Chair of the Least Developed Countries Expert Group.

She is one of a delegation of eight from Tuvalu that is here in Durban to raise their voice on behalf of their local communities in Tuvalu, calling upon the humanity of parties to the Convention on Climate Change at these negotiations, to consider what is at stake.

“In October this year Tuvalu declared a state of emergency because of a drought, we had a water shortage for six months. We have ongoing coastal erosion problems in Tuvalu and our water security is under threat as our water table lens is inundated with salt water,” said Ms. Pepetua Latasi.

“We are experiencing all these problems, and that is why it’s important for us to be here, to fight for our survival.”

She is no stranger to the climate change negotiations. She represented Tuvalu at the negotiating table first in 2004 for three years before leaving to further her education. Now, Ms. Latasi has returned to play a leading role within the halls of the climate change negotiations as Chair of the Least Developed Countries Expert Group.

This special group consisting of approximately 12 experts was established to assist the Least Developed Country parties to the United Nations Framework to the Convention on Climate Change in preparing and implementing their national climate change adaptation programe of work.

Tuvalu
Tuvalu has worked hard in the negotiations and this year is no different as the island nation endeavors towards an agreement in Durban, a new legally binding agreement to get all countries on board for deeper emission targets, agreement on a work program for Loss & Damage and to operationalise the Green Climate Fund so Small Islands Developing States can start to receive funds to help carry out adaptation work on the ground.

“I am happy to be back in process but was expecting more, that we’d get an agreement from this process. We are still being positive even though it is hard to stay positive, we are hoping for the best.”

Climate change collaboration across the oceans


L - R Dr Mark Bynoe, Dr Ulric Trotz, Mr David Sheppard, Dr Kenrick Leslie, Mr Taito Nakalevu

Durban, South Africa, 9 December - The Island Pavilion at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa was a very successful partnership between the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5C’s). 

The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding this year to work closer together to address common climate change issues in the Pacific and Caribbean. 

During the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa an Island Pavilion was established bringing the two regions together, hosting a series of side events and seminars on climate change issues and the implications for Small Island Developing States. 


Mr David Sheppard, Director-General of SPREP
“This has been an excellent start for collaboration for SPREP and the 5C’s on climate change,” said the Director-General of SPREP, Mr. David Sheppard.

“The partnership between the Alliance of Small Island States is strong, we are glad to extend this to other areas outside of the formal negotiation process.”

“This has been a fruitful unity, our plans for the future to learn from each other and provide support for each other will help strengthen our service we provide to the Caribbean,” said Dr Kenrick Leslie, the Director of the 5C’s.


Dr Mark Bynoe of the 5C's
Plans to work together in 2012 were discussed during a meeting between the two organizations. One of the key first steps will be an exchange between staff in the Pacific and Caribbean to take place within the next three months. This will help share experiences and strengthen the cooperation on key technical issues on climate change between the Pacific and the Caribbean.

For more information on SPREP please visit: http://www.sprep.org/
For more information on the 5C’s please visit: http://www.caribbeanclimate.bz/


Common statement by EU, LDC and AOSIS


Durban, South Africa, December, 2011 - The least developed countries, the Alliance of Small Island States and the European Union are united in their desire for an ambitious outcome in Durban. 

We believe that the world has had a lot of time to think. What we need is not more thinking. What we need is more action.

The gap between our ambitions and the current pledges is simply too wide. And we need not to remind anyone of the scale of climatic threats facing the most vulnerable countries in the world as a result of climate change. The facts are clear and we are still too far from where we need to be to secure the most vulnerable countries’ right to sustainable development.

The chance to reach our objective is getting smaller as time passes and we need to start this process today. For many countries, this is a matter of survival and this process should be able to deliver an answer to meet their worries.

We need to deliver in Durban. We are ready to operationalize the Green Fund and the other Cancun institutions; to deliver what we have already agreed in Cancun. But higher ambitions on mitigation action are crucial. What we need is to effectively stop climate change. And that can only happen if all parties to the UNFCCC process will be committed to concrete efforts.

Hence, we need firm and clear decisions mapping out next steps that deliver the ambition we need. This includes agreeing an amendment of the Kyoto Protocol for the second commitment period together with a robust mandate and roadmap for a legally binding instrument. Under this instrument, all parties to the UNFCCC need to commit, respecting the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities.

The price of buying time is rising. Durban must deliver. The EU, LDCs and AOSIS are ready to undertake concrete obligations to manage the climate change challenge. We urge others to join.