United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Sustainable Climate Adaptation – 2008 G-77 Statement to the UN

How did the Developed Countries get everything so wrong in Copenhagen during December 2009 ?   Why was the European Union irrelevant to what was taking place ?   Were there no obvious signals … no straws in the wind … well in advance of the Climate Summit ?

Yes, there definitely were !   Almost two years beforehand !!   Take a deep breath … and suck this up …

Colour image showing the logo of the Group of 77 (G-77)Statement on Behalf of the Group of 77 & China by Ambassador John Ashe, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations, at the Thematic Debate of the General Assembly on ‘Addressing Climate Change: The United Nations and The World at Work’  (New York, 12th February 2008)

Introduction

1.  Mr. President, the Group of 77 & China thank you for convening this debate in the General Assembly on the theme ‘Addressing Climate Change: The United Nations and The World at Work’.  It provides the Assembly with an additional opportunity to exchange views among Member States and with other partners on one of the important issues on the development agenda of the UN.

2.  At the outset, the Group of 77 & China reiterates that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is, and should remain, the primary comprehensive framework for addressing climate change.  Therefore, this thematic debate should be recognized as an opportunity for Member States to dialogue on ways of increasing support for the Framework and on meeting the urgent need for immediate action to fully implement commitments under the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol; supporting the Bali Action Plan and other mechanisms of the Convention.

3.  Mr. President, the Group of 77 & China is of the view that there should not be a parallel process of debates that would detract from the negotiation process under the Convention.  The Group of 77 & China believes that multilateral action to address climate change should remain firmly rooted in the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol.

4.  Furthermore, this thematic debate, as well as the Secretary General’s report on the Overview of UN activities in relation to Climate Change should not attempt to influence any other processes such as the system wide coherence debate or the discussions on international environmental governance.

*** Climate Change as a Sustainable Development Challenge ***

5.  Mr. President, the Group of 77 & China is of the view that discussions on climate change should be placed within the proper context of sustainable development.  It is imperative that our discussion reinforces the promotion of sustainable development, highlighting the three pillars – economic development, social development and environmental protection – and the need to promote all three in an integrated, co-ordinated and balanced manner.

6.  We must not lose sight of the fact that climate change is a sustainable development challenge.  As such we should adhere steadfastly to the Rio Principles, in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.  We must take fully into account that poverty eradication, economic and social development are the paramount priorities of developing countries.  Hence, we must ensure that the discussion on climate change is placed in its proper context so that it does not undermine the overall discourse on sustainable development.

7.  Mr. President, urgent action is needed now to fully implement the commitments under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, especially commitments on financing for adaptation, technology transfer and capacity building, if we are to make progress towards the achievement of the sustainable development goals of developing countries, in particular the Internationally Agreed Development Goals (IADG’s), including the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s).

8.  Urgent action is particularly needed on commitments, as climate change threatens the livelihoods of the very poor and vulnerable developing countries, in particular Africa, the Least Developed Countries (LDC’s), Land-Locked Developing Countries (LLDC’s), Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and disaster prone developing countries.  The G-77 & China is of the view that while addressing the challenge of climate, the most affected countries and most vulnerable countries should be given adequate attention and support.

9.  Developed countries Parties must take the lead in addressing the implementation gap, since the extent to which developing countries Parties can effectively respond to the challenge depends on the effective implementation by developed country Parties of their commitments relating to financing and technology transfer.

Scaling-Up Financing, Technology Transfer and Capacity Building Support

10.  While the UN can support the efforts of developing countries in formulating policies for attracting climate change related investment flows, adaptation and nationally appropriate mitigation actions will have to be enabled by technology, financing and capacity-building that are commensurate with the magnitude of the tasks ahead of us, that is, in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner, as agreed in the Bali Action Plan.  The provision of financial resources is a binding commitment of developed country Parties.  Clear guidance should be given to facilitate access to financial resources and investments without conditionalities.  It is essential that such financial resources not be considered as Official Development Assistance (ODA), but additional, and in compliance with existing binding commitments under the Convention.  Further, financing for adaptation to climate change and the impact of response measures should not be a reallocation or realignment of existing development financing.

11.  Developing countries should be provided with greater access to cost-effective, efficient and affordable advanced clean technologies.  The Group of 77 & China has repeatedly led calls for developing countries to have greater access to climate-friendly technologies.  Efforts in this regard need to be scaled up.  Furthermore, the UN can play an important role through the promotion of an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Regime that facilitates the transfer of such technologies.

12.  The Group of 77 & China reiterates its call for increased support for capacity building in developing countries to enhance national efforts to promote an integrated approach to climate change response measures and sustainable development planning.

Greater Support by the UN System for Developing Countries to Address the Climate Change Challenge

13.  The UN’s efforts in supporting national adaptation activities must be strengthened, so that developing countries can achieve their sustainable development goals while responding to the challenges of climate change.  The role of the UN in supporting the overall development efforts is vital.  However, the G-77 & China finds that technology transfer and financing, have not been addressed adequately in the background documents made available in preparation for today’s debate.

14.  On the issue of partnerships, Mr. President, the G-77 & China is of the view that multi-stakeholder partnerships have an important role to play in addressing climate change.  The UN system should assist in fostering and promoting partnerships in support of national efforts.  However, partnerships should not replace ODA or international co-operation.

15.  Additionally, South-South co-operation is useful in the area of adaptation efforts, and greater support for South-South co-operation can also help developing countries better respond to the challenges of climate change.  However, South-South co-operation should not be considered within the context of multi-stakeholder partnerships.  Further, South-South co-operation on climate change should complement North-South co-operation.

Report on the Overview of UN Activities in Relation to Climate Change

16.  Mr. President, in General Assembly Resolution 62/8 Member States requested a comprehensive report providing an overview of the activities of the UN system in relation to climate change.  Based on this mandate the G-77 & China anticipated a factual report that takes stock of current UN system activities in this regard.  As such, there is no mandate with regard to ‘an indication of the way forward’, and ‘co-ordination of the UN system action on climate change’.  This remains the purview of the Member States to decide on.  Work on co-ordination mechanisms, and structures or frameworks, including clusters of activity or lead agencies, must be subject of inter-governmental consideration and decision prior to implementation.

17.  In general, the UN system entities should assist in the effective implementation of the provisions, commitments and action plans of the UNFCCC.  Co-ordination of UN system activities to enhance its role in meeting the challenge of climate change requires inter-governmental consideration, agreement and oversight by Member States.

18.  The G-77 & China recognizes the primacy of the UN in directing and supporting global efforts to meet the global challenge of climate change, and in supporting its Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  The General Assembly, given its universality, should unequivocally urge Parties to undertake urgent action now to meet their commitments under the Convention, provide clear policy direction in this regard and to support to the Bali Plan of Action.

19.  Mr. President, the G-77 & China believes that the road to Copenhagen, where the concluding talks on the current process on the Bali Roadmap will be held in 2009, will be a difficult one, particularly for developing countries and the poorest and most vulnerable.  Leadership will therefore be critical if our response is to reflect the scale of the challenge.  We need an effective and comprehensive global response, within the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, to cover adaptation, technology transfer and financing, as well as mitigation.  Without rapid and tangible efforts by developed countries in this regard, climate change will lead to increased poverty and will negate our efforts at achieving sustainable development.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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NOTE:  The Group of 77 (G-77) was established on 15th June 1964 by seventy-seven developing countries – signatories of the ‘Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries’, issued at the end of the first session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva.  Beginning with the first Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 in Algiers (Algeria), from 10-25 October 1967, which adopted the ‘Charter of Algiers, a permanent institutional structure gradually developed which led to the creation of Chapters of the Group of 77, with Liaison Offices in Geneva (UNCTAD), Nairobi (UNEP), Paris (UNESCO), Rome (FAO/IFAD), Vienna (UNIDO), and the Group of 24 (G-24) in Washington, D.C. (IMF and World Bank).  Although the Members of the G-77 have increased to 130 Countries, the original name was retained because of its historic significance.

Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) are all Members of G-77.

Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and the Caribbean island states of Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica (ALBA – Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América / Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) are also all Members of G-77.

The Group of 77 (G-77) WebSite is located at … www.g77.org

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FCCC COP-15: Historical Responsibility & Poverty Reduction ?

2009-12-16:  ‘Chaotic’ is not the only word to describe what is happening right now in Copenhagen !   A few additional parliamentary expletives are required.  Is it just me … or is it obvious to everyone … that the Danes could not organize an orgy at an International Golf Tournament ?

What the world urgently needed was an ambitious, legally binding agreement … a Kyoto II Protocol, for want of a better title … to slot into place when the 1st Commitment Period ends in 2012.  What we may end up with is an ambiguous ‘political’ agreement … which will be worth approximately 1 cent more than the paper on which it will be scrawled.

There is something definitely rotten in the State of Denmark !   Multiple drafts of the same working document circulating at the same time … backroom meetings away from public scrutiny … greedy developed countries trying to avoid responsibility and action … strutting, self-important NGO’s thinking that they know all the answers … etc., etc … kill any confidence in the process stone dead.  These are not the ways of Sustainable Social Partnership.

However … at a far distance from the hustle and bustle … it can be observed that Interesting Side Events are taking place … and Thought Provoking Reports are being presented … before, during and after the main gatherings between the 7th and 18th December 2009:

  • 15th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ;
  • 5th Meeting of the Parties (MOP-5) to the Kyoto Protocol.

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African Countries are not the only Group having difficulty with what is/is not happening in Copenhagen …

Two recent Discussion Papers from The Energy & Resources Institute (TERI), in India, are worth bringing to your attention.  Both raise issues which are not very popular in this part of the world.  And … it so happens that Dr. Rajendra K Pachauri – Director-General of TERI … is also Chairman of the WMO-UNEP Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) !

  1. Right to Sustainable Development: An Ethical Approach to Climate Change (December 2009), by Leena Srivastava, Neha Pahuja, Manish Shrivastava & Prabhat Upadhyay.  PDF File, 228 Kb.  Click link to read and/or download.  Discusses ideas such as: ‘equity’, ‘fairness’, ‘historical responsibility’ (of UNFCCC Annex I Countries), ‘climate justice’, etc.
  2. Linking Climate Action & Poverty Alleviation – An Approach to Informed Decision-Making (December 2009), by Atul Kumar.  PDF File, 488 Kb.  Click link to read and/or download.

Notes:

To gain worldwide acceptance – across developed, developing and least developed regions of the world – and to have a reasonable chance of reliable implementation in those disparate regions … mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change, including variability and extremes, must be fully compatible with the concept of Sustainable Human & Social Development.  This is clearly elaborated in both the 1992 UNFCCC and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

To be clear among ourselves on this island … Ireland is specifically named (without any qualification), among other Developed Countries … in Annex I and Annex II of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) … and in Annex B of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which is legally binding.  The European Union is not mentioned, at all, in either document.

It is of concern to note that although India ratified the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in October 2007 – TERI (India) has very recently placed a Document (No.1 above) in the public domain, at Copenhagen, which actively forbids content extraction by people with activity limitations for the purposes of equitable accessibility !   Joined-up thinking !?!?

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An Open Letter to President Barack Obama – Questions !?!

2009-02-14 …

 

Dear Barack,

 

Please allow me to extend a warm welcome to you onto the International Stage … and an even warmer welcome for the United States of America back into the International Fold of Nations.

 

The last 8 Years have been a nightmare for concerned observers outside your country.  I should immediately add that a large branch of my extended family has been living in New York City and State since the mid-1950s.  And that you are now affectionately known in Ireland, because some of your roots are based here, as President O’Bama !

 

Being a pragmatic person, however, you will want me to come quickly to the point … and be direct.

 

You will shortly be signing into law a 787.2 Billion Dollar Economic Stimulus Package of spending increases and tax relief, which is intended to encourage an economic recovery in your country and to create jobs.  It is surprising that you have permitted significant funds earmarked for school construction, and for colleges and universities, to be removed from the Package during the ‘Compromise’ Negotiations.  Funding to provide health insurance for the unemployed has been sharply reduced, while funds for the ‘Greening’ (?) of Federal Buildings have also been scaled back.

 

The political imperative of successfully steering this Stimulus Package through Congress, at this time, is understood … but the final shape of the Package does not augur well for the future of your Presidency.

 

 

Taken together with the outcome from another recent event in my country, Ireland … and my surprise is turning to worry …

 

In Dublin, towards the end of January 2009, I attended a Round Table Discussion with a key individual who works in the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) – Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP).

 

Having posed 2 Questions after his presentation with regard to US Federal Policy on the ‘Green’ (i.e. environmental & energy) Performance of Federal Buildings, I discovered the following …

 

         The individual concerned was completely unaware that there is a considerable difference between the ‘Green’ Agenda, i.e. a limitation of considerations to environmental aspects of Sustainable Human & Social Development alone (an outdated concept belonging more properly to the 1990s) … and the ‘Sustainability’ Agenda, which is far broader in scope and absolutely essential if we are to meet the great challenges being posed since the beginning of this 21st Century … for example, the World Trade Center Incident (9-11) in New York ;

 

         There would appear to be no independent technical controls monitoring the ‘real’ environmental and energy performance in US Federal Buildings, no penalties for failure to meet performance targets, no horizontal integration between Federal Institutions dealing with procurement and building/system/product operation, and a systemic lack of proper accountability.

 

 

If it is your wish that the USA takes up a position of global leadership on some or all of the above issues, we – at Sustainable Design International – would like some information and assurances concerning the following matters …

 

         When will you, and your Administration, begin to properly appreciate the considerable difference between a ‘Green’ Agenda and a ‘Sustainability’ Agenda … and the significant Institutional Re-Engineering required to implement US Federal, State and City Policies geared towards Sustainable Human & Social Development ?   How would you then intend to dramatically raise awareness … and mobilize all of the people in your country for action … at Federal, State and City Levels ?

 

         If your Administration enters into negotiations on an International Kyoto II (post 2012) Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) … will US National Performance be open and transparent … and be seen to be ‘reliable’ by other countries, particularly Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa ?

 

         When, precisely, will the US Senate ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, with its Optional Protocol ?   When will you arrange to fund the implementation of this Convention, with its Optional Protocol … and then arrange that a coherent and comprehensive programme of implementation, which must have a short timescale, be initiated ?   How long will that implementation timescale be ?

 

 

Effective International Law and Lasting Peace are 2 Prerequisite Essential Requirements for Sustainable Human & Social Development.  In order to free up current ‘process’ log-jams and bring lasting peace to the regions of the Caribbean and the Middle East … it is you who must make the first substantive moves

 

         When will you arrange for the immediate cessation of all aggressive and hostile activities against one of your close neighbours – the small island of Cuba – and a complete end to the economic, social & political choke-hold on its small population ?   When will your Administration finally arrange for the termination of the illegal occupation of Guantánamo Bay – an international act of piracy facilitated by the 1901 Platt Amendment ?   When will you finally ‘curtail’ the rabid behaviour of some of the more fanatical Cuban Exile Elements in Florida … and release the Miami 5 ?

 

         When will you, and your Administration, bring your considerable authority and power to bear on the Criminal State of Israel … and force it to comply with International Law and Universal Human & Social Rights ?

 

 

We patiently await your considered response.

 

Many thanks for your attention.

 

 

Signed:  C. J. Walsh, Managing Director, Sustainable Design International Ltd. – Ireland, Italy & Turkey.

 

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Postscript 2012-01-16:

Dear Barack … Apologies are Meaningless … and who these Individual Soldiers are is not important.  This recent image from Afghanistan betrays an in-grained national mindset !

The Guantánamo Bay Detention Centre, in illegally occupied Cuba, is still operating … the Criminal Blockade of this small Caribbean Island continues with full bullying force … and The Miami 5 are still rotting in U.S. Jails, with access for family members made particularly difficult, if not impossible.

Your Administration is still aggressively frustrating the widespread International Consensus on Climate Change … Your Offspring, the Apartheid State of Israel has now replaced South Africa as the No.1 Maverick Rogue in the International Community … etc., etc., etc.

The United States of America continues to urinate on International Law !!

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