‘Vulnerable countries consider “occupying” COP17 talks’

From The Guardian, 25 November

Diplomats from some developing countries may “occupy” the UN climate negotiations that begin on Monday in Durban by staging sit-ins and boycotts over the lack of urgency in the talks.

The move follows a call by the former president of Costa Rica for vulnerable countries to refuse to leave the talks until “substantial” progress has been made.

“I have called on all vulnerable countries to ‘occupy’ Durban. We need an expression of solidarity by the delegations of those countries that are most affected by climate change, who go from one meeting to the next without getting responses on the issues that need to be dealt with,” said José María Figueres.

“We went to Copenhagen [in 2009] with the illusion we could reach an equitable agreement. We went to Cancún [in 2009] where we saw slight but not sufficient progress. Frustration is now deep and building. Now we hear that we will need more conferences. Sometime we have to get serious. We should be going to Durban with the firm conviction that we do not come back until we have made substantial advances.”

Spokespeople for developing country negotiating blocs declined to comment on the call for a revolt, but one ambassador said from Durban: “The Occupy Wall Street movement and the Occupy the Climate Change negotiations movement confront the same problem. We need this if we want to have any positive result. Otherwise it will be worse than Cancún.”

But he warned: “In the corridors [here] there is talk of occupying the meeting rooms, but there could be sanctions. So it needs to be big inside in order to have impact and nobody is punished. We are at the beginning.”

Seyni Nafo, spokesperson for the important 53-country Africa group said: “We understand the [financial] situation in Europe and Japan but it seems climate change is now not on the global agenda. Action that might make it visible must be considered. We are exploring a lot of avenues and options. You have to take that seriously.”

‘Political choice’
Frustrations mounted last month when, after months of tense negotiations, developing countries appeared to have succeeded in their demand for access to a multi-billion dollar Green Fund to help them adapt to climate change. But at the last minute the US and Saudi Arabia withdrew their support.

Resentment was further stoked this week when the Guardian revealed that rich countries had decided to shelve plans for a global agreement on climate change within the next few years, instead pushing for an agreement by the end of 2015 or 2016, and not coming into effect until 2020 despite scientists saying that this risked catastrophic climate change.

A possible postponement of a deal was condemned on Tuesday by the UN environment chief, Achim Steiner, who said it would be a “political choice” rather than one based on science.

Jorge Argüello, chair of the powerful G77 and China coalition of 131 countries, said: “[We] trust to see in Durban a fair and equal treatment of all issues that are important to all parties. A serious imbalance in the progress of issues can clearly not be conducive to a successful, comprehensive and balanced outcome.”

“The climate change process is too crucial to the survival of humanity and the dignity of each of us, it is sad to see some parties using it just as a toy in a promotional agenda. The African leaders have expressed in different fora that Durban can not become the grave of the Kyoto Protocol, and we are completely supportive of that ambition.”

‘Reckless and irresponsible’
Sheik Hasina, the prime minister of Bangladesh, said: “Climate change caused over 300 000 additional deaths last year. We the vulnerable countries suffer the most for our limited coping capacities. Bangladesh and other vulnerable countries cannot wait for international response to climate causes … we are implementing 134 climate change adaptation and mitigation action plans.”

Radical action at climate talks has produced results in the past. African nations boycotted the climate talks in Barcelona in 2009 for a day, and won themselves a promise from rich countries to make more efforts to deepen 2020 cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

The Alliance of Small Island States, which represents some of the countries most at risk from global warming, called any moves to delay a new treaty “reckless and irresponsible”. — © Guardian News and Media 2011

9 Comments

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9 responses to “‘Vulnerable countries consider “occupying” COP17 talks’

  1. Pingback: Welcome to Durban | COP17 – climate change talks in Durban 2011

  2. dino constandelos

    Thank you for communication,please keep me updated,would like to contribute in a positive
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  3. David Annan

    It is clear that the developed countris are not ready to take any drastic actions to curb worsening climate change,all that they are doing is to buy time since solving the climate change problem have a direct correlation to their economy.And moreover every country is striving to improve its economy,but what they should know is that the suscesses they obtained in years past this is the time for them to account for it.You can,t eat your cake and have it,what goes around comes around act now.

    • Md. Faridul Islam

      The presidents of Development countries are same as like as Osama Been Laden. There is no different Among Laden and the presidents of Development countries

  4. Shariful Alam

    In the last two years from the occurrence of AILA, Innumerable Heads of state, Prime Ministers participated in COP 15 and COP 16 Seminars on climate Change and have created funds of billions of dollars for welfare of the people of countries affected by Climate Change. In spite of this, In the last two years, Bangladesh has not received even a dollar’s worth of assistance through this fund.
    Now, the the question that remains to be answered by the world community is, WHEN will money be released to rebuild Cyclone affected Bangladesh ? Will it be when more AILA happen ? Or, When million more settlements get washed away ? Will it be When millions more die or When more COP seminars happen ? Can you please tell us, WHEN ?

  5. Nehemia Gurusinga

    I hope this COP will be ‘the real milestone’ for every country in the world. Since, everyone is already tired of this uncertainty. The longer we wait to take action, the shorter time we have to deal with the catasthropic effects of climate change. It’s time for action. Stop NATO (No Action Talk Only). From Borneo, East Kalimantan Indonesia

  6. There has been no meaningful global action thus far, despite the analysis, good conscience, and the urging of those who have experienced direct consequences of climate change. If we had known in the year 2000 a complete list of the consequences of the effects of climate change, we would have been horrified. A little foresight could help us to glimpse what this decade will bring, but I suspect that those who could unleash a global attempt on the problem will look the other way in the interests of more mundane pursuits. The climate crisis is our nemesis, but what we are dying of is human nature.

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