For immediate release
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, November 17, 2009 – The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) on Tuesday rejected calls by some world leaders, including the biggest polluters, to stall a legally binding outcome at next month’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15) in Copenhagen.
The grouping of most vulnerable states instead maintained that the developed nations should continue to build on actions already undertaken.
“We must protect the most vulnerable, not the most powerful,” said Grenada’s Environment Minister Michael Church at the end of a two-day PRE-COP Consultation in the Danish capital.
“AOSIS still insist and maintain that there are all the ingredients for us to arrive at an international legally binding outcome in Copenhagen in December and that continues to be our position,” said Church who also chairs the 42-island grouping of small states.
That is a point supported by Barbados, Ghana and Bangladesh. “There are no legal or technical obstacles to prevent us from arriving at a legally binding outcome in Copenhagen and failure to reach an agreement represents a lack of political will that needs to be acknowledged,” said Selwin Hart, the representative from Barbados.
“We remain convince that if there is political will we can arrive at an international legally binding outcome at Copenhagen,” he added.
Ghana said anything less than a comprehensive binding agreement represents lack of trust by developed countries towards the developing, least developed and vulnerable countries.
“We must come out of Copenhagen with confidence that we (Ministers) have been able to bring the concerns of our people unto the platform of COP 15, to be integrated into the main agreement,” said Sherry Ayittey, Ghana’s Minister for Environment, Science and Technology.
“We are ready to come to Copenhagen on December 12 to continue with the dialogue until a consensus is reached,” she said in response to an invitation by Denmark’s Minister for Climate and Energy, Connie Hedegaard.
“We have noted the reiteration of commitments to a legally binding outcome. We want and expect nothing less,” said Bangladesh’s Foreign Secretary, Mohamed Mijarul Quayes.
He said that there must be clear, predictable commitments for cuts, financing and technology transfer “not as an expression of nicety, or the spirit of a Good Samaritan, but as an acknowledgement of responsibility and a commitment to secure the common future of all of us.”
The AOSIS Chair highlighted the vulnerability of small island states and urged parties, who will return for COP 15, December 7-18, to agree on real commitments to action that will ensure protection is offered to the most vulnerable states on the planet.
“I’m speaking as an islander but I am sure there are continental countries that will be affected in a very adverse way if we do not take actions that are consistent with what scientists say,” said Minister Church.
In effect one group of countries is calling for continuation until a legally binding agreement can be reached if it isn’t in Copenhagen in December; the other group proposes an intermediary arrangement called a political agreement.