Most vulnerable countries must stick together to be heard at climate talks

29 July 2009 (Dhaka, Bangladesh) – The world’s most climate vulnerable countries must work together in international climate negotiations or the needs of the one billion people they represent risk being ignored, concluded a summit of international civil society in Dhaka this week.

The conference which included representatives from 18 of the countries that are most vulnerable to climate change including from Small Island Developing States such as Samoa and Maldives, Least Developed Countries such as Nepal and Bhutan, and African nations such as Lesotho and Niger also called for urgent action by rich countries to limit average global temperature rises to no more that 1.5 degrees centigrade, reflecting that an increase in excess of that would seriously threaten their survival and development.

“Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States and African countries have little power individually but together make up around 100 of the 192 countries represented at the climate talks. A grouping of this size can command the attention of the US, Europe and China. Only by working together can we ensure the climate deal meets the needs of the one billion people around the world who are least responsible for the climate crisis but who are being hit first and worst by its effects,” said Ziaul Hoque Mukta, Policy and Advocacy Manager, Oxfam in Bangladesh.

“We call upon developed countries to take on binding commitments to reduce their emissions by at least 45% in aggregate below 1990 levels by 2020. In addition financing must be available for Most Vulnerable Countries urgent adaptation needs and the existing barriers to accessing current funding such as multiple and complex accessing criterion must be removed.” said Professor Kwesiga, from the Development Network of Indigenous Voluntary Associations (DENIVA) in Uganda, East Africa.

“All Heads of States in the countries most vulnerable to climate change must prioritise the High Level Meeting on Climate Change in New York in September 2009 - an important opportunity to ensure that the voices of the most vulnerable are heard ahead of Copenhagen” said Kwesiga.

Notes to editors

Summary of the Declaration of the International Civil Society of Most Vulnerable Countries

29 July 2009, Dhaka, Bangladesh

We, the civil society of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, having met in Dhaka 27-29 July 2009 for the International Civil Society Conference: The Rights of the Most Vulnerable Countries in Climate Negotiations, call upon all governments to recognize the threats to survival and development that anthropogenic climate change poses to the most vulnerable countries.

We urge our governments to join together to raise the voice in the international negotiations of those people whose very survival is threatened by anthropogenic climate change for which they are least responsible.

We call on all Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to recognize the Most Vulnerable Countries (MVCs) as a legitimate collective voice at the negotiations, comprising the majority of Parties to UNFCCC; three-quarters of the membership of the G77; and in excess of 1 billion people globally.

Shared Vision – A fair and safe agreement must be reached at COP15 that limits global temperature increases to no more than 1.5°C. Global greenhouse gas emissions must peak no later than 2015 and then decline to at least 95% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Mitigation - In line with the urgent action that the science demands, developed countries must reduce their emissions by at least 45% in aggregate against 1990 levels by 2020. The majority of this action must be undertaken domestically in order to guarantee a low carbon global future.

Adaptation - Finance must be made available for adaptation in developing countries that prioritises the most vulnerable countries, communities and people, and allows them to define their own adaptation needs. NAPAs must be urgently funded and implemented.

Finance - At least USD 150 billion per year must be made available under the direct control of the UNFCCC for climate change requirements in developing countries, of which at least USD 50 billion per year must be for adaptation, and MVCs should be prioritised. Climate finance from developed countries must be additional and distinct from ODA targets of 0.7% of GNI.

We all have a role to play in combating this global challenge of climate change. We call upon our governments to engage fully and effectively in the international negotiations in support of our demands herein, and we urge all Parties to the UNFCCC to work urgently and resolutely to agree a fair and safe deal at Copenhagen COP15 for the benefit of us all.

We, the MVCs, can afford no delay and no excuses.

The conference was organized by Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL) & Oxfam International.

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