'Vocal group' representing Caribbean at Warsaw climate talks

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

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WARSAW, Poland (CMC) — The The 19th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 9th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol began here on Monday with the Caribbean having a relatively small but "very, very vocal" delegation at the talks, according to a source familiar with the closed-door negotiations.

"For small island states, loss and damage is a major, major issue and at the same time, they are calling for maximum ambition to cope with emissions. That is the only way, at the end of the day, to prevent rising sea levels," the source said, noting the peculiar challenges that a warmer globe poses for small island states.

Caribbean negotiators will be well advised to register their voices.

The source, who asked not to be identified, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the devastation in the Philippines, where some 10,000 are feared dead after last weekend's typhoon, is only expected to provide "more drama", rather than impetus for binding agreements favouring small island developing states (SIDS), the most vulnerable to climate change.

This is the stark reality even as the Climate Finance talks next week are expected to build confidence in the ability of the Convention to deliver concrete support to enhanced actions on mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.

Caribbean and other SIDS might be well advised to hold their collective breath in light of the failure of developed nations to stick to their financial commitments to help poorer countries meet the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

"I think you have talked to the heart of what we are going to over the next two weeks, the idea that there is a sum of resources that we are going to be talking about and developing countries getting a sense that there would be clarity and assurances that the resources would be there," said Dechen Tsering, coordinator, finance, technology and capacity building programme at the UNFCC.

The UNFCCC has noted that the contributions of countries to climate change, and their capacity to prevent and cope with its consequences, vary enormously.

The convention and the protocol, therefore, foresee financial assistance from parties with more resources to those less endowed and more vulnerable, the UNFCC, added.

The aim is to raise scale-up long-term finance commitment to US$100 billion per year by 2020 from a wide variety of sources.

"And I think how smoothly the resources go is how much confidence there is in both developed parties and developing country parties.

"I followed the negotiations for many years and I see we need to do much more," Tsering told reporters, adding "important building blocks are now being put in place.

"We are starting to look at enabling environments to start to mobilise resources in developing countries and we are looking at enabling environments for the deployment of resources, the effective utilisation of resources."

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