Tuesday, January 05, 2010

SVG Rep. on Climate

St. Vincent critical of Copenhagen Accord on Climate Change 1/05/10

UNITED NATIONS, CMC – St. Vincent and the Grenadines has expressed profound disappointment with the outcome of last month’s United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference held in Copenhagen.
Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves said he was not optimistic about the pledges made by developed countries to provide US$100 billion in assistance to countries, mainly small island developing states (SIDS), affected by climate change.

“These sums were proposed with regard to the comfort of developed countries’ economies not to the actual needs of those most affected,” said Gonsalves in response to a briefing by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN President Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treki on the issue, Monday.

“We, the most affected, are very much accustomed to grand announcements and pronouncements of aid and assistance, which ultimately fail to materialise.
“We heard them in Monterrey, in Gleneagles, and most recently in London and Pittsburgh. But pledges such as these, which seem to come from everywhere and nowhere at the same time, are of very little comfort to countries that are being significantly affected by climate change as we speak,” the St. Vincent and the Grenadines diplomat said.

In addition, he said the Copenhagen Accord, which was prepared by a small group of countries, “in an 11th hour attempt to push through a global agreement, was not endorsed or adopted by the UN membership”.

Gonsalves, told the UN Secretary General that the process has placed him in the “unenviable position of now trumpeting an accord to which all states have not agreed.”

“This approach belies the fundamental concepts of sovereign equality and democracy that animate this body.
“St. Vincent and the Grenadines feels no less threatened today than we did when Copenhagen began,” he said, expressing hope that the next climate change conference, scheduled for Mexico later this year, will be marked by “openness, inclusivity, transparency and legitimacy.”
Gonsalves said the credibility of the United Nations itself will be tested between now and the conclusion of the Mexico conference.

“We must work hard, together, to determine whether or not this body truly is credible and relevant in modern times and to confront modern problems,” he said, noting that the Copenhagen Accord was not legally binding and refers to a limit of two degrees Celcius temperature rise above pre-industrial levels.

The Vincentian envoy said there is a “significant number of countries whose very existence is threatened by any rise above 1.5 degrees”.

The UN Secretary General said the Copenhagen Accord marks a “significant step towards the first truly global agreement that can limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support adaptation for the most vulnerable and help to establish a new era of environmentally sustainable growth.

“The accord provides a mechanism to provide the financial resources for mitigation and adaptation activities in developing countries,” he said, adding that countries pledged up to US$30 billion a year between 2010 and 2012 to be disbursed through the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund.

In addition, he noted that countries also backed the goal of mobilising US$100 billion annually by 2020 for developing countries.