Thursday 10 December 2009,Copenhagen -- Tuvalu's persistence in pushing for legally binding agreements to come out of Copenhagen was today applauded by Oxfam International and Greenpeace. In statements issued on the fourth day of negotiations at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, both organisations hailed the strength of the small island nation in insisting that their proposal be discussed in the plenary yesterday. The demand from Tuvalu which was put forward by their long time negotiator Dr. Ian Fry resulted in a suspension of the Conference of the Parties (COP) plenary session until the issue could be resolved.
"Tuvalu has taken a strong stand to put the focus back on their bottom line, there must be strong and legally binding outcome from Copenhagen. Nothing else will deliver the strong commitments to urgent action that are needed to avoid catastrophe, especially to the most vulnerable countries and people,"
Greenpeace, Pacific Political Advisor Seni Nabou said the suspension concerns one of the most important questions of Copenhagen, the matter of whether or not the outcome will be legally binding.
"For the vulnerable countries in our region, like Tuvalu, it is about survival. It’s about whether the rest of the world is serious about stopping climate change. Only a legally binding agreement can give Pacific island countries the confidence that their future is guaranteed,” she said.
The Tuvalu proposal was supported by many of the vulnerable countries, from sub-Saharan Africa as well as the small island states, with passionate and powerful statements about the catastrophic impact of climate change to their people.
The motion for a group to discuss Tuvalus proposal was opposed by some of the developing countries who were concerned that discussion on a new legally binding agreement would be used by rich countries to evade their commitments under the existing Kyoto Protocol.
Coates said: "This is not about splits between developing countries. They will want the same thing, for rich nations to live up to their commitments to undertake deep emissions cuts in the Kyoto Protocol and binding commitments on the United States as the country that has not signed the Kyoto Protocol." Greenpeace agrees saying: "Without this the talks risk being nothing more than a photo opportunity." Ms Nabou said this is perhaps just the beginning of the vigour that the Pacific Islands will display at the negotiations. The Pacific wants an outcome from Copenhagen that will ensure our future and security as sovereign island nations is protected. We need to fight for our survival and cannot walk away from Copenhagen with a suicide pact. ”--ENDS