14/11/2011: Climate Vulnerable Fund conference ends in Dhaka

The worst hit climate vulnerable countries have emphasised developing their own capacities to fight the effects of climate change instead of sitting idle and waiting for assistance from developed countries.

The determination was expressed at the end of a two-day Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) conference in Dhaka yesterday through a 14-point Dhaka Declaration.

The declaration aims to give member countries of CVF a common ground for negotiations at the Conference of Parties (COP-17) scheduled to be held in Durban at the end of this month.

It also aims to provide the vulnerable countries with a road map to face together the causes, consequences, and collateral effects of climate change, based on the positive momentum sparked by the Copenhagen and Cancun meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Environment ministers from 11 countries and observers from 8 countries took part in the conference.

New chair of CVF, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, opened the third ministerial level conference of the forum yesterday morning.

She said although in Copenhagen and Cancun the developed nations made commitments about fast start financing for global climate change mitigation and adaptation fund, no evidence of direct and easy access to that fund and technology has been seen yet.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, who was present at the session, said, "Durban must complete what was agreed upon last year in Cancun. Governments must ensure that the adaptation framework and technology transfer mechanism are up and running as soon as possible."

The forum expressed deep concern over the findings of an independent study titled Climate Vulnerability Monitor-2010 on current and near term socio-economic impacts of climate change, and the large-scale worldwide crisis it has already created.

The declaration said climate change induced displacement of people has become an additional major concern, and their relocation and rehabilitation are putting enormous pressure on infrastructures and service facilities, causing tremendous social stresses.

It said migration is a viable adaptation strategy to manage risks during displacement and relocation, and the affected population should be offered enhanced options to dignified and diversified livelihoods.

Despite CVF countries' negligible present and historical contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emission, the principal cause of climate change, they expressed their determination to pursue national green development pathways in spite of limited capacities.

They also expressed their determination for working collectively with industrialised nations towards limiting foreseeable global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, identifying 2015 as the year for peaking global emission.

CVF called for an extensive and inclusive cooperation of all countries in accordance with common but differentiated responsibilities, and respective capabilities.

The declaration noted that climate change is rendering development projects costlier and compelling diversion of already inadequate development funds to costly climate change adaptation programmes.

Briefing reporters on the Dhaka Declaration, Bangladesh State Minister for Environment and Forests Dr Hasan Mahmud said, "We have decided to raise our voices together on various contentious issues in Durban."

"We want an end to the confusion over the release of fast start fund of 30 billion US dollars, balanced allocation of the Green Climate Fund, second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, and a decision about the displaced people."

Foreign Minister of the Maldives Ahmed Naseem, Environment Minister of Nepal Hemraj Tater, Agriculture and Forest Minister of Bhutan Dr Lynopo Prema Gyamtsho also spoke.

Bangladesh's secretaries of foreign affairs and environment M Mijarul Quayes and Mesbah Ul Alam, and Director General of DARA Rose Mountain were also present.

The member countries of the forum are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Kiribati, Madagascar, the Maldives, Nepal, the Philippines, Saint Lucia, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Vietnam.

Costa Rica will host the next conference in November 2012.

Source: The Daily Star, Dhaka