Tuvalu's views on Cancun climate change talks | Pacific Beat

Tuvalu's views on Cancun climate change talks

Tuvalu's views on Cancun climate change talks

Updated 15 February 2012, 12:57 AEDT

The leader of Tuvalu's delegation at the UN Climate Change talks in Mexico says while it is frustrating a binding agreement on limiting carbon emissions is still no closer, the meeting finished with plenty of positives.

Over the weekend the sixteenth Conference of Parties to the UN Framework on Climate Change wrapped up in Cancun in Mexico, with a decision to delay debate on a binding agreement on limiting global carbon emissions.

The parties have however, formally agreed on funding adaptation measures in the countries being affected.

Tuvalu has been leading the push for a binding agreement, and in the past has expressed extreme disappointment when nothing could be agreed to.

Presenter: Pacific Correspondent Campbell Cooney

Speaker: Enele Sopoaga, Tuvalu's Deputy Prime Minister, and the leader of its delegation to Cancun

SOPOAGA: Sort of encouraged by the turn around of things. It could have been worse, but I think goodwill prevailed and despite a lot of issues still sticking out. The doors are still opened and I think the Cancun agreement acknowledged the importance of leaving the door open for the way forward and yes of course it is a package that is not perfect, but we were of course trying very much to get the best out of the two weeks work there in Cancun.

COONEY: The 30 billion dollar fund, that was very much firmed up and agreed to and commitments made. I suppose that is the one big positive that you could walk away from Cancun with it?

SOPOAGA: Absolutely, you're right. I mean countries like Tuvalu and LDCs, small island developing state are really struggling with adaptation to the impacts.

COONEY: When we talk adaptation Mr Sopoaga, what does that mean for Tuvalu, what sort of projects are we talking about?

SOPOAGA; We are talking particularly food security, because our vegetation, for example, is already being intruded and damaged by sea level rise and is affecting the source for our food security in the islands. So we need really accelerated actions to help the people adapt to that impact of climate change. Then also we have erosion, land erosion on the foreshores, it is becoming very, very serious and therefore we need the funding for protective measures to help the island countries. The water shortage is an issue and we know and we believe this is caused by climate change, so that is another area we need to get adaptation funding to help the people adapt.

COONEY: One of the things that you're neighbouring country, Kiribati is doing is when it comes to training and that, they seem to be focusing their people on jobs outside Kiribiti. They are looking at it saying well, we might not be able to stay here. It seems in Tuvalu, the idea or thought that they may have to leave is not something they want to really consider, but you look for adaptation and mitigation, so you will be able to stay in your homeland?

SOPOAGA: Absolutely, that's our perception on that and we shared this with the world also in Cancun, we re-emphasised the view of Tuvalu is for Tuvalu people to be able to live in Tuvalu forever and we don't want to be forced out, to evacuate and leave the islands. And I think it is extremely important for the international community to recognise that and we believe if actions that as advised by science, as advised by the economics and many other are taken urgently and in a timely manner, we can have a lot of chances of saving countries like Tuvalu and therefore helping the people to remain on the islands forever.

We only need to follow and put some leadership to the actions to address climate change on mitigation, cutting down emissions to the levels as ambitious as possible.

COONEY: You mentioned last time that we spoke that really a year's delay after Copenhagen was not good enough. You've got another year basically before something concrete is put in place. You must be hoping like anything that Durban just does not turn like, a little bit more talk and no firm agreement?

SOPOAGA: These issues need political leadership from major developed and developing countries to come together and regain the confidence. I think Copenhagen was the disaster for Tuvalu, total disaster. There was simply no leadership coming out of the 110 heads of states who were there. That was disastrous to think that they could not unite on this very perhaps the most serious threat to human kind.

Now I am glad Cancun we were able to resurrect that confidence, the trust between nations, but we need to work to do more. We need to work harder and to regain trust in the process, because I believe failing in this process would certainly prescribe the end of multi-lateralism. There is no other process that we can work together to show solidarity of the world if you cannot address climate change as one group or family.

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