By Makereta Komai, Climate Pasifika Media in Cancun, Mexico
08 DECEMBER 2010 CANCUN ---- Aspirations of hope for the survival of citizens of Small Island and vulnerable states were expressed by world leaders that opened the High Level Segment of the climate change talks currently underway in Cancun, Mexico.
Nauru’s President, Marcus Stephen was the first world leader to address the high level session, speaking on behalf of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS).
“Our priorities are clear. There is very little room for compromise. When you ask us to compromise, you are asking us to choose how many islands we will lose. This is not a choice we are prepared to make.
“Our choice is to continue to work towards a fair solution. We are optimistic that this conference can take us one step closer towards a two-track, legally binding outcome in South Africa. This must include amendments to the Kyoto Protocol and a new, Durban Protocol that captures our work on Long-term Cooperative Action, said President Stephen.
UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres identified Tuvalu Kiribati, Maldives and Vanuatu as countries whose citizens want urgent action from their climate negotiators.
“They are looking for ways to evacuate their entire population because of salt water intrusion and rising sea levels. Sooner rather than later, island nations will have to seek refuge in other, higher lying countries.
|UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres|
“Their fate is a wake-up call to all of us, said Figueres
She said a solid response to climate change demands nothing less than putting international climate policy firmly back on track.
“You can only do that by moving beyond the boundaries of short-term national interests to converge in that space which is common to all of us, that space where we are all human beings dependent on the well-being of this now fragile planet, and where we are all jointly accountable to future generations.
“And you can reach that space only through conciliation with each other now.
The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon urged negotiators not to gamble with the future of the globe’s nearly seven billion population.
|UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon|
“The longer we delay, the more we will pay – economically, environmentally and in human lives.”
There is no single magic solution but ‘wherever we can, we must move forward in the right direction, said the UN Secretary General.
Solutions – he said can be in the form of four areas and these decisions are ripe for adoption.
“On protecting forests, which account for 17 percent of global emissions, on climate adaptation, technology transfer and some elements of finance.
On the challenging issues of mitigation, transparency and accountability and additional clarity on the future of the Kyoto Protocol, Bank Ki Moon, expects some progress on these issues.
On the fast start financing, he revealed that developed nations have almost completed their commitments for US$30 billion committed in Copenhagen in 2009.
“However, we need to make progress on the actual delivery of the funds, along with a transparent and robust accountability system, he said.
A delegate from Seychelles speaking to online bloggers accredited to the UN climate change talks, expressed the disappointment of many small and vulnerable island states saying that of the $10 billion fast start finance committed for 2010, only 20 percent of the funds have been earmarked for adaptation to climate change.
“This contradicts the promise that the fund will be shared equally between mitigation and adaptation, said the irate Seychelles delegate.
Then there is discussion that some of these funds may be available as loans and not as grants, said the delegate.
“I use the analogy that if someone drives a car into your backyard, smashes your garden and you say hey what are you doing. He replies, I’ll give you a loan to pay for the damage caused. That’s exactly how we feel. Do we have to be in debt to adapt to climate change, questioned the Seychelles delegate.