Thursday 10 December 2009

Soundbites@COP15 --Paul Nalau, Vanuatu (radio)

YourVoices@COP15 -- Bernadette Chandia, Uganda

 We got an interesting viewpoint from the Climate Debt Agents on their take on COP15. There was also a glimpse from the African Climate Change Dance Theatre about the impacts of climate change on some of the continents unique wildlife. 

TRANSCRIPT: I'm Bernadette Kodili Chandia from Uganda and we are the cimate debt agents. We chose to put on red because it's a color that shows a lot and to show that climate change is now and we need the responsible people to pay their climate debt. Right now there are many people in developing countries...the small islands, that are going to suffer if nothing is done at the COP. So our leaders should wake up and make a legally binding deal. That's what we want out of COP15. We don't want political binding. We already have Kyoto Protocol which is good, which is already legally binding. Why should we settle for less? We want something that will save the world. And that's what the climate agents are saying.

UNFCCC organise youth side event

Rachna Lal, USP journalism, Climate Pasifika media

Thursday 10 December 2009, Copenhagen -- The intergenerational Inquiry on Climate Solutions between negotiators and youth lead to an agreement that both sides wanted a legal binding agreement. Despite reservations on some issues, both parties at the side event organized by UNFCCC hoped that good sense will prevail. Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary to the UNFCCC said  110 heads of states will be coming to the COP15 "because they see the growing public response to the need for an agreement."
“The response to climate change will be a reflection of what world leaders think they need in order to satisfy you, the youth so that further in years, they will get chosen again,” he said. India's Ruchi Jane received a standing ovation after giving an account of how India is suffering from climate change extremities. Rikana Toroma from Cook Islands, here in Copenhagen as part of  Project Survival Youth (above) believes focus should move from the bigger countries to smaller ones. Small island nations are at the forefront of the real impacts of climate change. While on one hand youths are protesting to get a legal agreement, Ilisia Montalvo SantaMaria believes youth should become more responsible first by changing their behavior. “They push for negotiators to make a deal yet their behavior states otherwise. They must change their eating habits, and also be prepared to get accustomed to living an uncomfortable life,” added SantaMaria, the Director-General of Spanish Climate Change Office at the Ministry of Environment.--ENDS

PacificVoices@COP15: Fiji and Vanuatu youth

Geoffrey Smith, FijiTV, Climate Pasifika media

Thursday 1oth December 2009 -- On Day 4 of COP15 we caught up with more voices from the Pacific who shared with us their thoughts on which directions they would like to see the summit take. Future Pacific leaders Emma Airu Christopher from Fiji and Paul Nalau from Vanuatu shared their vision.

TRANSCRIPT: Hi I'm Emma and I'm with Project Survival Pacific under AYCC. So far the experience has been really good,. We've been getting very good media attention and our stories as Pacific Islanders about what we are facing at home and how the emission rates of those big states are affecting us back home with sea level rise, storm surges and ocean acidification.
But it's really good that we are given this opportunity to tell our stories to the world.
We'd really like to get the big countries to empathize with us on our situation that it's either their lifestyles or our livelihoods. We just hoping that negotiations go well and to seal the deal.

My name is Paul Nalau and Im from Vanuatu. I'm here as part of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition which is part of the survival project. So I'm here just to support the cause of our governments and AOSIS and just representing the voices of young people in the Pacific and the face of climate change. What we want is recognition of the vulnerability we are placed in and we just want to be recognised and to have a global commitment in supporting us to find some ways and means to survive basically.The Pacific as we know per person has more cultures than any part of the world even though we have only zero point five percent of the worlds population we make up more than 30 percent of the earths surface.So we are here to remind the world that we have lots of things that the world needs to keep.We are the people who brought to the world tattoos, we have big marine life and we also got rugby and lots of cultures. We have like over a thousand languages in the Pacific and they represent diverse cultures.

NGOs applaud Tuvalu stance on legally binding agreements

Cherelle Jackson, Environment Weekly, Climate Pasifika media

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

Yvo to Tuvalu: I hear you

 Cherelle Jackson,Environment Weekly, Climate Pasifika Media

Thursday 10 December 2009, Copenhagen --  Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) today empathised with the stance of Tuvalu. De Boer said he understood the position of the small island country and Tuvalu’s demand for legally binding agreements.
"We have received in time five proposals for new legal instruments under the convention.  remains on the table and considered as part of the outcome of the conference."

Nobody knows what the outcome of this conference is going to be, we have heard people talk about political agreements, people are in favour of legally binding treaties. What Tuvalu wants to be sure of, is that their proposal    doesn’t fall off the table,

De Boer said it is within the interest of small island countries and all partners to the negotiations to ensure the the Kyoto Protocol remains. "I think the Kyoto Protocol will survive and must survive for a number of reasons."

Kiribati voice heard loud and clear at COP 15

We read the story about the impact that Kiribati made during its side event on Day 3 of the Climate change COP.  This short item shares further information about the event.

AOSIS persists amid challenges at COP15

Cherelle Jackson, Environment Weekly,Climate Pasifika Media

Thursday 10 December 2009, Copenhagen-- For years now members of the Alliance of Small Island States have taken an active role in Climate Change negotiations to no great avail.Their pleas for action have been consistently ignored by developed nations at the Conference of the Parties. This is according to Saleemul Huq, Senior Fellow for the Climate Change Group of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). "Taken together, there are a hundred countries, are a majority of UNFCCC, there are only a 192 countries in the whole process, a 100 makes them a majority, but you wouldn't think it. No one is listening to them here, alright," Huq said. "Within the G77 and China which they all belong, they are actually a super majority, but even within that group no one listens to them." According AOSIS has every right to be respected in the negotiations and for their voice to be considered. "If they organise themselves as a group speak with one voice, then that is a powerful voice, then that voice can no longer be ignored, and that is what they have to do here. They are getting better at it, AOSIS is very good, increasingly AOSIS, Africa and Least Developed Countries are working together, coordinating positions, joining each other, supporting each other," Huq said.

AOSIS which has a membership of 42 States and observers, drawn from all regions of the world make up a significant part of the United Nations Climate Change negotiations. Thirty-seven are members of the United Nations, close to 28 percent of developing countries, and 20 percent of the UN's total membership. Together, these communities constitute some five percent of the global population. With these facts the Chair of AOSIS Ambassador Dessima Williams (pictured) says their voice is strong and will persist. "Obviously we are not exhausted with the processes, she said. Williams is convinced that COP15 will bring about changes, and the united front of AOSIS will ensure results from the conference.
this is multilateral diplomacy. By virtue of being that it is slow and tedious and complex, we understand that. What we do not accept is bad faith or not hearing our plea, our call, our existence, our experience,"

Asked if AOSIS has been at all discouraged by the slow process and continued delaying tactics by developed countries she said:"Do not think we are discouraged. There is half of UN
membership calling for ambitious and specific targets going into the Ministerial level, we

cannot be discouraged, in fact we are encouraged that we have been and continue to be on the
right path in trying to raise the bar of performance of commitment of obligation and of  clarity. It is hard work. We will be here every day and every night." Williams says the islands will not be deterred. "AOSIS is fully engaged," she said with a smile.

COP15 deadlocked on contact group proposal

by Makereta Komai, PACNEWS, Climate Pacific media team
Thursday 10 December 2009, Copenhagen: The deadlock continues as the Danish chair of the all-important negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol vigorously seeks a consensus. Connie Hedegaard is racing against time. She is unable to secure a consensus for a way forward. This morning Tuvalu and Papua New Guinea held on to their position to refer their proposed amendments to the Kyoto Protocol to a contact group, to the opposition of Indian, Saudi Arabua, Oman & Nigeria.  Link to the webcast of today's morning session before the adjournment.

David and Goliath show down at Copenhagen talks – Tuvalu & PNG refuse to bow down

Makereta Komai , PACNEWS, Climate Pasifika
Thursday 10 December 2009: It’s been dubbed the ‘David vs Goliath’ fight around the corridors of climate change negotiations here in Copenhagen.Two Pacific Island Countries, Tuvalu and Papua New Guinea have refused to bow down to pressure from a number of developed and developing countries to shut out discussions of their proposed amendments to the Kyoto Protocol. The chairperson of the Conference of the Parties, Danish minister responsible for the climate change talks, Ms Connie Hedegaard had to adjourn the plenary session mid-morning in an attempt to try and break the deadlock. Tuvalu’s chief negotiator, Ian Fry refused to accept the ruling from the chair to move further discussions on the proposed amendments to the Kyoto Protocol to Saturday (12 Dec).“It means that we will have little time to prepare our positions in time before our Heads of Governments arrive.We cannot support this decision, Mr Fry told the plenary immediately after the ruling was made by the chair.
“We will not accept your decision to delay the debate to Saturday. It will be extremely difficult to waste more time to look at the proposal.".

Even an assurance that the Saturday meeting will ensure an open and transparent debate on the proposed amendments were did not satisfy the two Pacific Island nations who are members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).Papua New Guinea’s chief negotiator, Kevin Conrad (pictured) urged for more time to be spent on discussing his country’s proposal to include the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) as part of the current Kyoto financing mechanism under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). “We urgently should have a system to review the specifics of amendments that are consistent with the Kyoto Protocol, said Mr Conrad. Speaking in favour of Tuvalu, a number of the countries, East Timor, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica emphasised that the proposed amendments will not ‘kill off’ the Kyoto Protocol, but instead ‘add more value’ to the current legally binding agreement.

Hi, hi! Denmark rolls out the red carpet for COP15

Lisa Williams-Lahari, Climate Pasifika

10 December 2009, Copenhagen: Stand in any spot of the Bella Centre in Copenhagen and it's hard not to feel overwhelmed by the sense of history that's going to be made here next weekend. Not that standing is much of an option when you're surrounded by the sheer scale and size of this event, and the reason why the world is here. The clamour of conversations, languages and people can be overwhelming.

But you only have to look up to breathe easy again. The greenery and displays offer a handy mental escape route and you can take in the panorama of 'clean energy' outside, where the Bella Centre's famous wind propellors do their rhythmic turn,providing energy to help run this global conference landmark. Courtesy coatroom attendants swap tiny claim tickets in exchange for your armfuls of coats, scarves and winter gear. Free internet and skype is everywhere. A flash of our delegate badge gets us free travel on all public transport. Heavily subsidised meals are washed down with as much free cooled water and dark chocolate as you can take with you. And people here say hello -- and goodbye, with the same infectious 'hi, hi'. Even if it is mid winter and the weather is dreary, Copenhagen, dubbed Hopenhagen for the two weeks it will host the COP15, has put on its best smile for Denmark's biggest ever international meeting.

Manus, PNG, meets the world in Denmark

Ahimsa Kibikibi
PNG National Broadcasting Corporation
Climate Pasifika

A commuity impacted by climate change in Papua New Guinea's Manus Islands have been featured in an exhibition in Copenhagen,Denmark, in a bid to bring to the attention of leaders and negotiators the urgency and need for a legally binding agreement at the United Nations climate talks.The Manus group is one main island,surrounded by a number of smaller low lying atolls, most of which were inundated with salt water and had houses and reefs destroyed, following king tides that struck the area in December 2008. The plight of the Manus people along with other indigenous but vulnerable groups of people from around the world are exhibited through photo essays, of compelling pictures that tell their stories and experiences, in dealing with the adverse impacts of climate change. The exhibition is now open at the National Mueseum in Copenhagen but two others were previously staged in Paris and is the brain child of French photojournalist, Nicolas Villaume from Conversations with the Earth, a non governmental group working to advocate the rights of indigenous people and communities living in critical eco-systems around the world.