By Kenton X. Chance
WARSAW, Poland — Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations allied to Taiwan have been using the high level segment of the global climate summit and other diplomatic challenges to call for the Asian country to be included in the talks as an observer.
China claims Taiwan as a renegade province and the protracted sovereignty dispute has seen Taipei being omitted from several United Nations agencies, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Addressing the high level segment on Thursday, Minister for Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology in St. Lucia, James Fletcher, said Castries has received assistance from several friendly governments and development partners over the years as the country attempts to respond to the negative impact of climate change.
“However, there is so much more that we need to do in the area of adaptation, such as upgrades our water supply, improve our food security, strengthen our coastal defences, storm-proof our infrastructure, and retool our health sector,” he said, adding that Castries thanks Taipei “for the strong support it has provided to our mitigation efforts.
“Given the demonstrated commitment of Taiwan to addressing Climate Change issues, both nationally and internationally, and the need to ensure that all global ‘hands are on deck’ in this monumental battle to save our planet and our future, the Government of St. Lucia supports the request for the Republic of China (Taiwan) to be granted Observer Status at the UNFCCC,” he said.
St. Kitts and Nevis also supported Taiwan’s inclusion when it addressed the high level segment on Thursday.
Delano Bart, Q.C., Basseterre’s Ambassador to the United Nations, called on Parties to be guided by the science regarding climate change.
“Mr. President, there is a clear understanding that the stakes have risen and that the global community needs to pool its collective will to galvanize the necessary action to address this challenge. It is also clear to us that the solution rests in multilateralism. Our effectiveness here in the UNFCCC process is a true test of its continued validity. I say to you, as states, we all have a role to play,” he said.
“Mr. President, it is in keeping with this view that the Federation calls for the inclusion of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the UNFCCC process as an observer,” the envoy further said.
He said Taiwan has shown its commitment to contributing to the fight against climate change through its national actions as well as through initiatives to assist parties in reducing emissions, for example, through clean energy projects.
“Taiwan is also one of the few countries to have voluntarily announced reduction targets for carbon dioxide emissions,” Bart further stated.
On Wednesday, Sen. Lisel Alamilla, Belize’s Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, told the high level segment that her country is grateful to Japan, Australia and the European Union for their assistance in its mitigation and adaptation efforts.
“We have also received assistance in various forms from the Republic of China on Taiwan and urge that it is time for Taiwan to be permitted to meaningfully participate in the Convention. No country should be excluded from offering a solution to climate change,” she further stated.
Ahead of the talks, St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Minister of Foreign Affair, Sen. Camillo Gonsalves, wrote to Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, urging the Secretariat to take necessary measures to accommodate Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the UNFCCC and Conference of Parties, being held here from November 11 to 22.
Gonsalves said although Taiwan has been excluded from the UNFCCC and its related mechanisms, it remains keen to join international efforts aimed at saving energy and reducing carbon emissions by making effective use of its advantages in high-tech and design, the Taiwan embassy in Kingstown said in a release.
Because of Taiwan political status, is it represented by the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) as an observer in sessions of the COP.
As an observer, delegates from Taiwan have only limited access to COP events.
ITRI has been holding side events at COP sessions since 2010, to demonstrate Taiwan’s determination to join global efforts to combat climate change.
However, Taiwan can only enhance its contribution if it is able to participate in COP and the UNFCCC in a more comprehensive manner, the embassy further stated.
In his letter, Gonsalves indicated that the challenges posed by climate change have continued to grow during the past decade.
He advocated the participation of non-party actors, such as Taiwan, in the Convention, and strongly recommended that the Secretariat invite Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to participate in the COP as an observer, and record Taiwan’s National Appropriate Mitigation Actions submitted through ITRI, in the UNFCCC Registry.
Haiti, another CARICOM member, and the Dominican Republic, complete the list of Caribbean nations that recognise Taiwan as a sovereign nation.
Taiwan is recognized by 21 United Nations member states, as well as by the Holy See.