Durban, South Africa, 30 November 2011 - Pacific delegations present at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP17, currently underway in Durban are standing firm with the Alliance of Small Island States on key positions under negotiation.
“We must be solid in what we do and continue to advocate that on climate change issues we should remain together,” urged the President of Kiribati from his island home at the forefront of the impacts of climate change in the Pacific.
Fourteen Pacific island countries are represented at COP17 under the banner of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). They are the Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The Kyoto Protocol must live on
In collaboration with other island nation members of AOSIS from Africa, Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea, the Pacific joined the grouping in consolidating the call for strong decisions around the Kyoto Protocol.
“We must adopt a decision that establishes a 5-year second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, to run from 2013 to 2017, with a single, legally-binding, base year of 1990, as part of a two-track outcome,” said a statement from AOSIS.
“This two track outcome must include the adoption of a mandate to negotiate a legally-binding instrument under the Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) with negotiations to be concluded by December 2012.
“This timeframe is needed to ensure legally-binding commitments and actions from all major emitters commencing on January 1, 2013.”
The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement that sets binding targets for 37 industrialised countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the five-year period 2008-2012.
“Durban must deliver an ambitious outcome with three essential elements,” said the AOSIS statement, including “certainty that there will be a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol with an enhanced set of rules to strengthen its environmental integrity.
“We must have a “Durban Mandate” to capture the work of the AWG-LCA in the form of a new, legally binding protocol next year at COP18.”
AOSIS called on the new instrument to complement the Kyoto Protocol with binding mitigation commitments for non-Kyoto Parties and mitigation actions for developing countries, as well as address all other elements of the Bali Action Plan.