TAIPEI, Taiwan: St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) has described the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen last month as “profoundly disappointing” and that the resulting Accord was forced upon the majority of countries there.
Camillo Gonsalves, the country’s ambassador to the United Nations, said five countries — Brazil, China, India, South Africa and the United States — drafted the document, which was endorsed by 25 “friends of the chair” then “foisted upon the remaining 160-odd countries of the world”.
“This pattern is a troubling development; and it was even seen here in New York in recent conferences on climate change,” Gonsalves said.
He was responding in New York late December to remarks by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the outcome of the Summit.
Gonsalves said while SVG was not questioning the motivation of “our friends who sought to break the deadlock”, the nation rejected its “own marginalisation at that critical point of decision”.
“This is a very troubling trend. It was exacerbated by the G20’s self-proclaimed ownership of solutions to the financial crisis, and now, this new minority’s undue influence on the solutions to what is truly a global problem.”
He said his multi-island Caribbean nation of 107,000 citizens felt no less threatened by climate change than when the Copenhagen summit began.
“..[W]hen measured against our own ambitions, our own expectations and indeed our own needs — particularly the needs of Small Island Developing States — we find the Accord to be profoundly disappointing,” Gonsalves said.
According to him, the Copenhagen deal placed the Secretary General “in the unenviable position of now trumpeting an accord to which all States have not agreed”. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)
“Mr. Secretary General, today you characterised the Accord as a ‘step towards a global agreement,’ but it is only a step forward if it is measured against the possibility of an utter collapse of the Conference and no agreement at all,” Gonsalves said.
The sarcasm was evident in the ambassador’s statement that notwithstanding the extensive travel by thousands of people, conference participants “sought to achieve some level of carbon neutrality by producing an Accord on as few sheets of paper as possible”.
No deadline, no contract
He noted that the Accord was not legally-binding, no date was set for a legally-binding agreement, and no reference was made to the continuing applicability of the Kyoto Protocol.
Gonsalves said the US$10 billion annually pledged by developed countries to tackle climate issues was based on the comfort of developed economies and not the actual needs of those affected.
“We, the most affected, are very much accustomed to grand announcements and pronouncements of aid and assistance, which ultimately fail to materialise…
“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,” Gonsalves said
He further said the Accord refers to a limit of a 2°C temperature rise above preindustrial level but the existence of “a significant number of countries” was threatened by any rise above 1.5 °C.
He however said SVG remained “committed to solutions on climate change”.
He added that while the nation looked forward to the climate change conference in Mexico next year, it hoped the discussion would be “marked by openness, inclusivity, transparency and legitimacy”.
“We think that the credibility of the United Nations itself is going to be tested between now and the conclusion of the conference in Mexico next year.
“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,” Gonsalves said.