Thursday, 17 December 2009

Tuvalu@COP15: No short term finance can buy our long term future

Wednesday 16 December, 2009, COPENHAGEN-- Tuvalu Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia presents Tuvalu's national statement to the High Level plenary at COP15.

Mr President,
Heads of State,
Heads of Government
Ladies and Gentlemen, and,
most importantly the youth and leaders of tomorrow

It is a great pleasure to be in this wonderful city of Copenhagen and it is a great honour to speak on behalf of the people of Tuvalu at this very special moment. As people are no doubt aware Tuvalu has been quite prominent in the newspapers and media over the last week. This is for a very good reason. As we are the most vulnerable country in the world to the impacts of climate change, it is important that our concerns are known.

Through you, Mr President, on behalf of all the people of Tuvalu I want to thank all the many, many people who have offered their support to Tuvalu over the last week and over the years. I am extremely grateful for the extraordinary expression of understanding of Tuvalu’s fragile existence in a world brought about by climate change. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

Mr President,
Six months ago Tuvalu presented three legally binding agreements for consideration by Parties at this conference. The first was a set of amendments to the Kyoto Protocol. These amendments were simple and straightforward. They established a new commitment period and provided new opportunities for generating finance to support the adaptation fund.

The second legal agreement was a small one to provide immunities for people serving under various bodies under the Kyoto Protocol.

The third was a new protocol to set in concrete the Bali Action Plan. This new protocol would establish goals of ensuring that the global temperature would stablize at a temperature well below 1.5 deg Celsius compared with pre-industrial levels. It would establish a greenhouse gas stabilization goal of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide equivalent. It would ensure that the world took collective action reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Other key elements of our proposed new protocol would include emission reduction actions for developed and developing countries, including actions relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. It incorporates rules to respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples. It establishes a focussed programme on adaptation to assist the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change. This includes the establishment of regional adaptation centres and a special new international insurance facility to provide assistance to those that suffer the impacts of climate change. It proposes new funding arrangements and arrangements for technology transfer and capacity building.

This new protocol would not replace the Kyoto Protocol. We firmly believe the Kyoto Protocol must continue. The Kyoto Protocol provides the strong legal basis for action by industrialised countries to reduce their emissions and recognises the significance of the historical responsibility.

Mr President,
I, like many other world leaders have come to Copenhagen to put my name on legal agreements. We want to sign up to a new commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol. And as we did in Kyoto, we have come here to sign the Copenhagen Protocol in honour of the great city where we are meeting.

Mr President,
The world is watching us. It is time to take decisive action and put our names to these legally binding agreements. I did not come from right across the other side of the world to sign on to mere COP decisions or a hollow political agreement. We are not here to window dress a failure. We are here to sign on the dotted line - nothing less.

We know that there are offers of fast start funding. But no amount of short term finance can buy our long term future. We need concrete legal agreements to guarantee our future.

Mr President ,
Tuvalu’s future, and the future of many millions of people, rests on a fully fledged legally binding outcome in Copenhagen. We are ready, the millions of people watching this process are ready. Let us together, create a historical moment in time and sign. For Tuvalu’s sake and for the sake of humanity, let’s seal the deal, right here, right now.

Thank you.

Tuvalu mote Atua.

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