Statement to 57th UN General Assembly

2002-11-14 HE Tuiloma Neroni Slade Download PDF

Topic: Climate

Mr. Chairman
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the 43 Members of the Alliance of
Small Island States (AOSIS).
We fully support the statement delivered by the Chairman of the Group of
77 and China.
May I also take the opportunity to thank the Executive Director of UNEP
and the Executive Secretary of the Climate Change Secretariat for their
statements this morning.
One of the implementation high-points reported on by Madam Waller Hunter related to the achievements of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
We are proud to acknowledge the role of the Chairman of the CDM
Executive Board, our colleague the Deputy Permanent Representative of
Antigua and Barbuda, Ambassador John Ashe.
Mr Chairman, The issue of climate change will be the most crucial determinant of
sustainable development in small island developing States (SIDS). It may
just be that we will manage to get our sustainable development policies
right, that we ensure stable political, social and environmental progress for
our people. Yet we face the real risks that all will be substantially
undermined because of climate change. Because of the profligate
wastefulness that is destroying the fragile balance of the Earth’s climate
All countries are connected by the global climate system. But the
overwhelming responsibility for causing these growingly dangerous risks
rests with a few.
Mr. Chairman, As frontline States, SIDS recognise their own responsibility. Even though
by world standards their emissions are minuscule, many SIDS are taking
what action they can to reduce their emissions. SIDS, for instance, have
adopted very far-reaching renewable energy policies, energy efficiency
standards and have taken measures that go far beyond their international
commitments. Information on activities undertaken in this area can all be
found in SIDS national communications made pursuant to the Climate
Change Convention.
From this perspective, we cannot accept the validity of the assertion that
developing countries must take steps, or take such steps before major
emitters will engage in previously-agreed emissions reduction efforts.
Mr. Chairman, The AOSIS countries join in welcoming the outcomes of the 8th Conference
of the parties, and in congratulating the Government of India for its
leadership in the critical process of COP8.
We welcome in particular, along with other developing countries, the
emphasis on adaptation issues.
However, we do feel that the issue of adaptation will require further
consideration. The AOSIS countries place the highest importance on
adaptation. We need to, because our communities are suffering, and they
have little other option.
We believe that much more in-depth study and understanding are required,
and that developing countries, and SIDS in particular, need to be assisted
and enabled, through the right technology, information and capacity training
to undertake urgently needed adaptation strategies. Above all, our
communities need to have access to adequate and predictable sources of
financial assistance so that they can effectively undertake adaptation
But adaptation is not the only choice faced by the international community.
For adaptation alone will not fix the worsening global climate system. There
is need for serious global mitigation efforts. And we need them now. The
science as pronounced by the IPCC is not only clear; it is overwhelming.
We believe deeply that the Kyoto Protocol is the right way forward.
Measured by the science, the global effort under the Protocol is, indeed, far
from adequate. But we all know it is only a first effort.
We all know why, given the present political state of international negotiations, it has not been
possible at this point to be more ambitious.
But we must also all be conscious of our common responsibility to our
Planet and to future generations, and to ensure that the concentration of
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere does not go beyond
the dangerous mark.
The present trends of global emissions remain largely unabated, and all
island communities are seriously concerned that the world is moving
inexorably along a dangerous path.
From the outlook of the very small and the very exposed, we believe that we
need to start planning now for our common future. We are concerned that
the parties to the Climate Change Convention continue to fail to discuss the
adequacy of Annex I commitments under Articles 4.2 (a) and (b) of the
Convention. There is clearly a Convention requirement that we do so, and
we believe that we all act in breach of the Convention in failing even in
having this item placed on the COP agenda.
Our own expectation is that if and when the COP comes to deal with these
provisions, it would be inevitable, given the history of this difficult issue,
that the Convention parties will have to deal with the contention for
contributions from all parties to the global effort, in line with Article 2 of the
Convention. Therefore, by its terms, it seems to us that the Convention does
already provide for the basis for a discussion and dialogue on future action,
including likely future action in the second commitment period.
In our view there is a common duty to discuss and talk now about plans for
the future. It does not follow – and the AOSIS countries must put stress on
this – it does not follow that there is any compromise whatever on the very
substantial equities that lie with developing countries and with their wellknown and well-articulated position on this issue. That position has just
now been put again, clearly, by the distinguished representative of the Group
of 77 and China.
Let me say that our countries fully share the concerns of many developing
countries about any attempt to transmit the primary responsibility for climate
change mitigation efforts to developing countries. This is not how we wish
to address the problem. Clearly industrialised countries have the primary
responsibility for climate change mitigation, and should do more to take the
lead and to demonstrate quality leadership on mitigation. We acknowledge
the importance of the efforts now in hand. But it is clear there is no basis for
the abdication of responsibility by the industrialised countries.
Mr. Chairman,
One of the most important aspects discussed in New Delhi concerned the
need for effective risk management in the context of natural disasters,
including the role of insurance. This is a most vital aspect, especially for
countries such as ours that are highly vulnerable and least able to cope. The
fact is that climate-related disasters, in their frequency and seriousness, are
now more the norm than the exception. The reality is that human
communities in all regions are suffering. In New Delhi, it was agreed that a
workshop be held on this important issue. We hope the workshop will be
well-funded and well attended, and we look forward to it.
We cannot put greater emphasis on the damage and suffering now being
experienced in all countries, in all parts of the world. Neither can we fail to
stress that it is the weak, the small and the poor that suffer the most. I would
need to say that it is this broader background of extreme vulnerability and
physical damage and suffering against which we need to measure the
competing demands of those countries that claim compensation for likely
economic losses as a result of impacts of response measures. That is not to
suggest that the concerns of those countries are not important. Not at all.
Rather, we think the situation needs to be viewed in clearer perspective, so
that the needs of those communities already seriously affected, especially the
SIDS and LDCs, be responded to as a matter of urgency and priority.
Mr Chairman,
Allow me to refer to another issue. Last year the General Assembly
approved a resolution that established certain financial linkages between the
Climate Change Secretariat and
the United Nations. In fact, this relationship
has been in place since the inception of the intergovernmental negotiations
on climate change. Accordingly, with the arrangements that have been set in
place for the current biennium, we believe that the proposal for other
arrangements is not acceptable at this juncture. In this respect we support
fully what has been said on behalf of the Group of 77 and on behalf of the
countries of the European Union.
Mr. Chairman, climate change is going to be a major concern for AOSIS as
we prepare for the International Meeting to review the implementation of the
Barbados Program of Action. It will be discussed in our regional meetings,
and we will seek the input of our experts on the thematic and sectoral
implications of climate change on SIDS. We look forward to reporting to
the General Assembly and to this Committee on the progress of our
deliberations, in particular in regards to possible best practices in adaptation
assessment, planning and implementation.
Thank you.

Sub Topic: Cross-cutting

Forum: 2C

Meeting: GA57