Bali can be the tipping point on climate change says Oxfam

“Poor people are first and worst hit by the impacts of climate change – from increasing floods and droughts to more intense hurricanes”
Published: 3 December 2007

Leaders of 189 countries have historic opportunity to break deadlock and protect the world’s poor from climate chaos.

Together with a groundswell of people from governments, the private sector and wider civil society, Oxfam has high expectations for the UN Climate Conference in Bali beginning today.

Oxfam is calling for governments to put poor people at the heart of the negotiations. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, which focuses strictly on reducing carbon emissions, equal priority must now be given to helping the most vulnerable communities adapt to climate impacts that they had little role in causing. It requires a massive increase in the paltry amount of international funding currently provided for adaptation. This is compensatory finance owed by the most polluting rich countries to the worst affected in the developing world and so must be additional to existing aid promises.

“No matter how you spin the arrow of responsibility it always ends up pointing at a handful of rich countries. They caused historical pollution and got rich in the process. They can afford to adapt at home and justice demands that they help the world’s poor countries cope as well,” said Kate Raworth, senior researcher for Oxfam. “Future commitments to cut emissions are a must, but additional financing for adaptation cannot wait until 2012. Here in Bali delegates from dozens of poor countries will tell you that they need it now,” she added.

Poor people are first and worst hit by the impacts of climate change – from increasing floods and droughts to more intense hurricanes – but they are the least equipped to cope. According to Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Bali is a make or break moment. Oxfam says that without strong and urgent action, it is the world’s poor who stand to be broken.

“We work with many communities in developing countries who depend on the land and the sea for their livelihoods. When repeated droughts destroy their harvests year on year, and coral bleaching kills fish stocks, hunger pushes these communities to the brink of survival. These climate impacts threaten to undo decades of hard-earned development,” said Raworth.

The first commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol runs from 2008–2012.  A global agreement must now be negotiated to ensure strong action after 2012. In order for there to be no gap between the commitment periods, these negotiations must be completed in 2009 to allow sufficient time for all countries to ratify the agreement.

“Last year’s Stern Report sealed the economics of climate change. This year, the IPCC made the science irrefutable. Last week, UNDP’s Human Development Report put poverty impacts at the centre of the debate,” said Raworth. “The pressure is now on 4,000 UN delegates to deliver the global politics needed for a climate breakthrough,” she added.

Notes to Editors

Oxfam Press Conference in Bali

When: Tuesday, 4 December, 09h00 – 09h30 (one to one interviews from 09h30 to 10h00)

What: Launch Oxfam report, “Financing adaptation: why the UN’s Bali climate conference must mandate the search for new funds.”

Who: Charlotte Sterrett / Kate Raworth – Oxfam report authors. Members of Bangladesh, Cambodia and Tuvalu government delegations (tbc) will be on the panel to give their perspectives on the need for adaptation funding and rich-country support.

Where: The press conference will be in the Auditorium of the Bali International Convention Center, inside the main entrance and on the right, opposite the plenary.

Contact Information

For further information or to interview an Oxfam spokesperson, please contact:

Nicky Wimble +62 (0) 818 0549 6152

Jason Garman +62 (0) 819 3612 4983

Laura Rusu +62 (0) 819 3612 4985

Indonesian press: Yon Thayrun +62 0812 6989 619