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Posted on on August 19th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (


China to spend $1bn on massive Caribbean resort.

MENAFN – AFP – 19/08/2014

(MENAFN – AFP) Chinese investors are to plunge more than US1 billion into developing Antigua and Barbuda’s first mega-resort, creating 1,000 jobs for the tiny cash-strapped nation. 

Construction on the mammoth 1,600-acre (647-hectare) multi-hotel, residential and commercial project is slated to begin early next year.

The ‘Singulari’ scheme – 50 per cent bigger than the regionally-heralded Baha Mar resort under way in the Bahamas – is being lauded as a major feather in the East Caribbean country’s tourism cap.

Spanning 900 acres of land in the north of Antigua and 700 acres of tiny islands, it will include several luxury hotels, hundreds of private homes, a school, hospital, marinas, golf courses, an entertainment district, horse racing track and the Caribbean’s biggest casino.

It is being created on land previously owned by disgraced US financier Allen Stanford, once Antigua’s largest employer.

Sam Dyson, of Luxury Locations real estate agency which introduced Beijing-based Yida International Investment Group to the island in May 2013 and negotiated the deal with the land’s liquidators, said: “Singulari will provide Antigua and Barbuda with an economic boost and galvanise the destination as a tourism force to be reckoned with.”

A Yida spokesman said job fairs would be held within weeks to ensure locals were given first priority for the 200 positions being made available later this year when the land is prepared for development, and the 800 created next year when construction starts.

“Over the next 10 years, Yida Group and its global partners will create an additional US2 billion of gross domestic product and economic value to Antigua, including sales of real estate, creation of new industries and origination of foreign direct investment,” he added.

Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne signed a memorandum of agreement with the developers on June 13, one day after taking office following June’s general election. Browne declared his intention to transform the country, suffering crippling national debt and unemployment, into an economic powerhouse.

With national debt at almost 90 percent of GDP, the main challenges for the new government will include reviving the 108-square mile (280-square kilometer) country’s tourism-dependent economy.

Financial woes have been exacerbated by fallout from Texas businessman Stanford’s US7 billion Ponzi scheme. A citizen of Antigua and Barbuda, Stanford was the private sector’s biggest employer before his arrest in 2009.


Posted on on February 21st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (



Global launch of the International Year of Small Island Developing States
Monday, 24 February
UN Headquarters, Trusteeship Council
10:00 am

The United Nations will launch the International Year of Small Islands Developing States to celebrate the economic, social and cultural contributions that this group of countries has made to the world, as well as raise awareness of the challenges they face such as climate change and rising sea levels. The Year will highlight the common links between small islands developing States and other countries, and encourage new partnerships to achieve a sustainable future for generations to come.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will open the ceremony along with the President of the General Assembly, John W. Ashe. A promotional video for the Year will be showcased followed by statements from senior representatives of small island developing States. The ceremony will close with cultural performances from each of the three small island regions.
Mr. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General
Mr. John W. Ashe, General Assembly President
Mr. Wu Hongbo, Secretary-General of the Third International Conference on the Small Islands Developing States
Mr. Baron Divavesi Waqa, President of Nauru
Mr. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa
Ms. Maxine Pamela Ometa McClean, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Barbados
Mr. Devanand Virahsawmy, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development of Mauritius
Mr. Warren Chanansigh, Major Groups Representative

Master of Ceremonies: Mr. Ronald Jumeau, Ambassador of Climate Change and Small Island Developing States, Seychelles
The event will be webcast live on UN Web TV.
For more information see:
 Hashtag: #islands2014





Posted on on January 21st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (


Bolivia’s Evo Morales: Critical of  “The Empire” But Proud of How Far his Nation’s Has Come.


     by George Baumgarten, Accredited United Nations Correspondent


     His face and native garb have grown more familiar now: the colorfully-trimmed jacket, and the wide, warm smile. Some have been critical, calling him a clone of the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. But Evo Morales Ayma, Bolivia’s now 54-year old President for the last eight years, is nobody’s clone.

Left wing he most surely is—both Socialist and anti-American. But Morales is an original. His greatest pride and priority is his leadership and defense of Bolivia’s native peoples, of whom he most certainly is one. And he can now point with pride to what are said to be significant accomplishments on their behalf.


     Juan Evo Morales Ayma was born on 26 October 1959, in the small village of Isallawi, near Orinoca in western Bolivia’s Oruro Department, south of the capital city of La Paz and just west of Lake Poopo. As a youngster he worked as a farmer in Bolivia and northern Argentina, and first learned to speak the native Aymara language. He would go on journeys of several weeks with his father, to trade salt and potatoes for maize and coca (Coca, the raw material of cocaine, is also made into tea, which visitors are advised to drink to combat possible altitude sickness on Bolivia’s (and Peru’s)high plains.  It is a major cash crop, and an important part of their culture.). He also attended university in Oruro, and completed all but his final year. After university, Morales spent mandatory time in the army (1977-78), and even once served as a military guard at La Paz’s Palacio Quemado (Presidential Palace). These were tumultuous years in Bolivia, with five presidents and two military coups, in the short space of just two years.


     Bolivia shares with Paraguay the distinction of being one of only two land-locked countries on the American continents. It sits on a plain at high altitude, over which tower the snow-capped peaks of the Andes, most notably the volcano of Cotopaxi, overlooking La Paz. The city itself sits at an altitude of some 12,300 feet in a valley, with the airport, known as El Alto (“The High One”) International, overlooking it from a plateau one thousand feet higher. Coming into the capital at night has been described as descending from the airport into a “bowl of stars”.


     Returning from his army service, Morales moved with his family to the city of El Chapare, near Cochabamba in the eastern lowlands. There they had a farm which grew rice, oranges, grapefruit, papayas bananas and coca. El Chapare was a town of 40,000 in 1981, which grew in the next seven years into a city of 215,000 people. Morales became active in the union of cocaleros (coca growers), which was his initiation into local politics. He was one of a group of cocaleros who refused a payment to eradicate his coca crop, as urged by the United States. To the farmers, this was an issue of Bolivian national sovereignty.                                                                              


     After serving as General Secretary of the cocalero union, Morales was involved in huge protests against the price of water, and then was finally elected President in late 2005. He was widely regarded as the first democratically-elected indigenous President in Latin America. He quickly let it be known that the improvement of the lot and standard of living of Bolivia’s indigenous peoples would be his first and highest priority. At that time, 16% of Bolivians were said to have been illiterate, and within just a few years, he declared illiteracy to have been eradicated in the country. He also is said to have brought rural electrification to almost all of the country.


     Morales came to speak to the U.N. press corps, in his capacity as the newly-installed Chairman of the “Group of 77 [and China]”-  a non-aligned (and somewhat anti-western) group within the United Nations General Assembly (not to be confused with the “Non-Aligned Movement”, or N.A.M.).

   Bolivia had “inherited” the leadership of the G-77 from Fiji. I asked the President what he thought the Group of 77 could be doing—or should be doing, or what influence they hoped to have—given the current tumultuous world situation, with various wars on several continents. He told me that the “Empire” (as he calls the United States), can neither now stage coup d’etats, or win elections. Sometimes they send in the Blue Helmets (i.e., U.N. Peacekeeping Forces) or N.A.T.O. They “intervene, in order to seize the natural resources” (as in Iraq). Who, he asked, now controls the Libyan oil?


     He said that he would ask former Presidents of the G-77 for their advice. He noted that there had been a controversy over Bolivia’s doctors only working for 3-4 hours a day, and that there were those advocating a “blue helmet intervention” – Therefore, he would ask his predecessors as to how to deal with conflicts that are “created and financed” by the “Empire”.


     Morales also met with the President of the General Assembly, Antigua’s John W. Ashe, and informed him that he was calling for a conference this coming June in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the G-77. President Ashe thanked Morales for his invitation to participate, and the two leaders agreed on the importance of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the successor phase to the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals. Thus was begun this new phase in the career of one of the world’s unique leaders.

Evo Morales may have some contempt for the U.S., and for the West in General. But he is a true leader of his people, and has dedicated himself to the redress of their long-held grievances. And he is genuinely beloved by those whom he serves.

    Copyright 2014  – George Alan Baumgarten



Posted on on February 9th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

cumbre ALBA con Chavez

Hugo Chávez, anfitrión de la cumbre del Alba en Caracas.

Los presidentes de Venezuela, Hugo Chávez; de Cuba, Raúl Castro; de Bolivia, Evo Morales; de Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega; de Haití, Michel Martelly; el primer ministro de Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit; de San Vicente y las Granadinas, Ralph Gonsalves; el premier de Antigua y Barbuda, Winston Baldwin Spencer; y el canciller de Argentina, Héctor Timerman, acordaron celebrar dos reuniones al año, de carácter ordinario.

La Alternativa Bolivariana para las Américas, creada hace 7 años por Cuba y Venezuela para fomentar la integración en la región bajo los principios de solidaridad, comercio justo, respeto estricto a la soberanía y complementariedad económica.

Los países que integran el ALBA son: Cuba, Venezuela, Dominica, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Antigua y Barbuda, y San Vicente y las Granadinas.


América Latina: Cumbre del Alba entre la economía y Las Malvinas.


Caracas, 5 enero 2012

Las claves

  • El Consejo Económico de la Alternativa propuso la creación de fondos de reservas del Banco del Alba, al tiempo que el presidente Chávez, aprobó la incorporación del 1% de las reservas internacionales de Venezuela (300 millones de dólares), a la entidad financiera del bloque
  • El presidente de Bolivia, Evo Morales, propuso este domingo la creación de un Consejo de Defensa de los países miembros de la Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América (Alba).
  • ALBA estudia sancionar a R.Unido y no asistir a Cumbre de las Américas si no asiste Cuba.


Integración desnuda

“Y aquí estamos entrando en la segunda década del milenio, sin visión estratégica de la integración, perdidos entre siglas que a nadie dicen nada ALBA, Unasur o CELAC por solo nombrar algunas. Mientras tanto, los países del continente disfrutan de una relativa bonanza económica, producto del aislamiento y la exportación de materias primas que finalizará en cuanto se cierre el ciclo económico”. (Tal Cual. Venezuela)


La Alianza Bolivariana  (Alba)  dedicó la jornada a las políticas económicas conjuntas y la posición de apoyo a Argentina, por el caso de las Islas Malvinas, y a Cuba, para presionar su presencia en la próxima Cumbre de las Américas, a la cual no ha sido invitada aún.  El Alba propuso la creación de fondos de reservas del Banco del Alba, al tiempo que el presidenteChávez, aprobó la incorporación del 1% de las reservas internacionales de Venezuela (300 millones de dólares), a la entidad financiera del bloque

Los gobernantes del ALBA acordaron en Caracas la creación de un “espacio económico” y de un fondo de reservas de su banco regional. También se comprometieron a redoblar su apoyo a Haití y a estudiar sanciones contra Londres por el conflicto por las Islas Malvinas que mantiene con Argentina.

Los presidentes de los países del ALBA debatirán esta jornada la entrada de nuevos miembros, con el fin de consolidar sus objetivos integracionistas. Haití, nación que desde 2007 participa en este mecanismo como observador, figura entre las solicitudes de ingreso pleno, interés que fue ratificado por su mandatario,Michel Martelly, para acceder a todos los beneficios que el bloque subregional ofrece.

El canciller de Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez, detalló que para los próximos 2 y 3 de marzo se celebrará una Cumbre extraordinaria del ALBA en Haití, a fin de revisar el trabajo planificado en esta cita.

Los jefes de Estado también analizaron la posible incorporación de Suriname y Santa Lucía. De igual manera, debatirán los documentos de trabajo que se desprendieron de las reuniones realizadas por partidos políticos y medios de comunicación de los países que integran la Alianza.

La Alternativa Bolivariana para las Américas, creada hace 7 años por Cuba y Venezuela para fomentar la integración en la región bajo los principios de solidaridad, comercio justo, respeto estricto a la soberanía y complementariedad económica.

Los países que integran el ALBA son: Cuba, Venezuela, Dominica, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Antigua y Barbuda, y San Vicente y las Granadinas.


Posted on on August 20th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

erom: CCRIF <>
date Thu, Aug 19, 2010
subject Caribbean Economics of Climate Adaptation Study results released.

Please see attached press release regarding the publication of preliminary results of the study on the Economics of Climate Adaptation (ECA) in the Caribbean implemented by the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility and regional partners.

The results for eight pilot countries (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, Jamaica, and St. Lucia) are presented in a short brochure entitled, Enhancing the climate risk and adaptation fact base for the Caribbean (Preliminary Results).

The brochure is available on the CCRIF website at

Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF)


Posted on on May 24th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

UNEP leads 27 countries of the Wider Caribbean on  “land-based pollution” at an International Maritime Organization (IMO) meeting in Panama City based on the ISTAC of Kingston, Jamaica (Interim Scientific, Technical and Advisory Committee to the Cartagena Convention. Will they touch nevertheless the menacing Deep-Water Oil-Well Blow-Out?

from: James Sniffen <>


Panama City, 24th May, 2010:

Over 50 pollution control experts from 27 countries of the Wider Caribbean
gather today (Monday 24th May) in Panama City at the invitation of the
United Nations Environment Programme’s Caribbean Environment Programme
(UNEP CEP) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The gathering of experts for the 5th Meeting of the Interim Scientific, Technical and Advisory Committee (ISTAC) to the Protocol concerning pollution from land-based sources, commonly known as the LBS Protocol, will last for five days.  The CEP is the Secretariat for this Protocol and is based in Kingston, Jamaica.

The LBS Protocol is one of three agreements under the Convention for the
Protection and Development of the Marine Environment in the Wider Caribbean
Region (the Cartagena Convention).  It establishes regional guidelines and
standards for reducing the impact of pollution on the coastal and marine
environment, and on human health.   Over 80% of the pollution of the marine
environment of the Wider Caribbean is estimated to originate from land
based sources and activities.

Panama, the host country, is one of only six countries to have ratified the LBS Protocol.  The others are Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Saint Lucia, France and the United States.  Discussions during the meeting will focus on measures to increase the region’s commitment to ratify the Protocol, and have it enter into force and become international law as soon as possible.

In support of regional cooperation, UNEP CEP is partnering with the IMO and their joint Regional Activity Centre for Oil Spills (RAC REMPEITC) to bring together experts from environmental agencies, maritime authorities and port administrations for this 5th LBS ISTAC.

Delegates are expected to identify practical measures to improve the implementation of marine environmental agreements including the IMO London Convention on the control of pollution from dumping of wastes at sea and the MARPOL Convention on the prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships.

According to Nelson Andrade, Coordinator of UNEP CEP”   “It is vital that
Governments adopt a more integrated approach to reducing pollution from
land and marine based sources”.  He noted that the continued partnership
between UNEP and IMO will help to effectively implement the Cartagena
Convention and its three Protocols and to reduce marine contamination.

Meeting Participants are also expected to review recent achievements of the
UNEP CEP to reduce and control marine pollution and to endorse a new work
plan and budget for 2010-2011.

For additional information, please contact:

Christopher Corbin,Programme Officer,
Assessment and Management of Environment Pollution (AMEP),
Regional Co-ordinating Unit, UNEP CEP
Kingston, Jamaica
Telephone: (876) 922-9267 — Fax: (876) 922-9292;;

About UNEP’s Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) –  The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) established the Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) in 1976 under the framework of its Regional Seas Programme.   It was based on the importance and value of the Wider Caribbean Region’s fragile and vulnerable coastal and marine ecosystems including an abundant and mainly endemic flora and fauna,

A Caribbean Action Plan was adopted by the Caribbean countries and led to the adoption, in 1983, of the only current regional, legally-binding agreement for the protection of the marine environment, the Cartagena Convention.  The Convention and its first Protocol (Oil Spill) entered into force in 1986.

Two other protocols were developed by the region – the Protocols on Special Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) and the Control of Pollution from Land Based Sources (LBS) in 1990 and 1999 respectively.

The SPAW Protocol entered into force in 2000, whereas three ratifying countries are still needed for the LBS Protocol.

The Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit (UNEP-CAR/RCU) serves as the Secretariat to the Cartagena Convention and is based in Kingston, Jamaica.

Each Protocol is served by a Regional Activity Centre.  These Centres are
based in the Netherlands Antilles (Regional Marine Pollution Emergency
Information and Training Center for the Wider Caribbean, RAC/REMPEITC) for
the Oil Spills Protocol, Guadeloupe (RAC/SPAW) for the SPAW Protocol, Cuba
(Centre of Engineering and Environmental Management of Coasts and Bays) and
Trinidad & Tobago (Institute of Marine Affairs) for the LBS Protocol.

Jim Sniffen
Programme Officer
UN Environment Programme
New York
tel: +1-212-963-8094/8210


Posted on on May 27th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

The Japan Times online, Tuesday, May 27, 2008, ANALYSIS of the Kobe meet of Environment Ministers.

Kobe saw discussion but no accord: Environment chiefs do manage to take stand against plastic bags.

By ERIC JOHNSTON, Staff writer, Japan Times online

KOBE — Group of Eight environment ministers held their weekend summit in Kobe hoping, in vain, to emerge with a strong commitment by developed nations to agree on greenhouse gas reduction targets by 2020.

They had also hoped their message would influence the July G8 summit in Hokkaido and provide momentum in the global quest to forge a post-Kyoto Protocol agreement by December 2009. Instead, the ministers emerged with a document saying reducing the use of disposable plastic bags and other consumer products is a good idea.

“The purpose of the G8 environment ministers summit is not to negotiate agreements. The purpose is to provide a forum for discussion,” Environment Minister Ichiro Kamoshita said at the beginning of the conference.
He added that he was happy the ministers agreed to a line in the chairman’s summary about efforts by Japan and other economies to reduce the use of disposable plastic bags.

The emphasis at the summit was to avoid delicate subjects like midterm emissions-reduction targets, said Scott Fulton, an official with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

To that extent, focusing on gestures that are less grand and politically difficult may indeed be useful, a word used over and over again by those ministers disappointed at the outcome.

Plastic bags aside, the outcome was not without potentially positive outcomes on a larger scale, at least on the political and diplomatic fronts.

The long-term goal of at least halving global emissions from 1990 levels by 2050 received a degree of unprecedented support and was welcomed by all developed and developing countries present at the Kobe conference.

Scientifically, however, the decision looks less grand.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s most prominent body of global warming experts, warned last year that developed countries should cut greenhouse gas emissions by between 80 percent and 95 percent by 2050 if they want to prevent a global warming catastrophe.

More significantly, perhaps, for Japan’s efforts to play a leading role in formulating a new climate change treaty is that for the first time it clarified its position to the international community on the sectoral approach.

Japan clearly stated that its idea of greenhouse gas reduction targets for different industrial sectors was not a substitute for nationally binding targets, as some feared, but instead one method of calculating what those national targets should be.

On midterm goals, the ministers noted the importance of concluding negotiations by December 2009 on a post-2012 framework in line with the Bali Action Plan, which, in the footnotes, recommends greenhouse gas reductions of between 25 percent and 40 percent for developed countries by 2020.

The ministers also called for effective midterm targets that take into account the IPCC findings.

For their part, the 2008 Japan G8 Summit NGO (nongovernmental organization) Forum, the umbrella organization for NGOs involved with the July G8 summit, gave the Kobe meeting mixed reviews.

They were disappointed that the ministers did not go further and include specific mention of the Bali targets, although they welcomed the general mention of the need for midterm targets.

It remains to be seen if the midterm targets in the Kobe statement, which marked the first time since the Bali conference that the G8 has officially mentioned such goals, will be agreed on by the leaders in Hokkaido.

Japan had to walk a fine line when drafting the language of the chairman’s summary, as the United States and other countries remain opposed to any midterm targets that do not include the major emitting economies.

As expected, the agenda item that proved the least controversial, and therefore the most welcomed by the G8 ministers, was the “3R” agenda of promoting reducing, reusing and recycling.

This includes eliminating the use of plastic bags, part of an overall effort to promote environmentally sound waste management techniques in both developed and developing countries.

Also: Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Kobe meet fails to set 2020 goals: Achieving progress too tall an order.

Staff writer
KOBE — Environment ministers from the Group of Eight industrialized nations ended a three-day meeting in Kobe on Monday united on the need for a long-term goal of at least halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

But the meeting ended in bitter disappointment for those hoping for a clear commitment to medium-term reductions, as the ministers failed to support specific emission reduction targets for 2020, as recommended last year by an international body of global warming experts.

“Last year, the G8 leaders agreed to seriously consider reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least half by 2050. Strong political will was expressed to go beyond this agreement and reach agreement on a shared vision of long-term global goals at the G8 Hokkaido summit,” said the chairman’s summary.

It added that developed countries should take the lead in achieving a significant reduction.

But setting medium-term goals has left developed and developing countries — as well as the G8 members themselves — bitterly divided, and virtually no progress was made toward this goal.

A new climate agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, is to be hammered out in Copenhagen by December 2009.

Environment ministers from Britain and Canada expressed a sense of urgency in Kobe about moving forward toward a medium-term reduction target agreement by then.

In February 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommended reduction commitments from developed countries of between 25 percent and 40 percent by 2020.

A United Nations conference in Bali last December called on developing countries to take “measurable, reportable and verifiable” climate change mitigation actions in a post-Kyoto treaty. But at the Kobe meeting, the ministers agreed only to consider the IPCC report’s recommendations.

“The need was expressed for effective midterm targets which take into account the findings of the IPCC,” the chairman’s summary said.

Going into the environment ministers summit, Japan had faced criticism from the international community for not working harder to get all of the G8 to agree on the need for medium-term reduction targets. It was also criticised for not taking the lead by announcing its own national targets in line with the IPCC recommendations.

Germany, for example, has national legislation in place to reduce emissions by nearly 40 percent by 2020, while the European Union has called for a 20 percent reduction by 2020.

“We need long-term and midterm reduction targets, as well as national action plans to achieve those targets,” said German Environment Minister Matthias Machnig at a news conference Monday morning.

Environment Minister Ichiro Kamoshita said that despite the IPCC recommendations and the looming deadline in December 2009 for a new climate change treaty, more study is needed.

“For midterm reduction targets, the important issue is how to take the IPCC knowledge into consideration to come up with a viable target. At this point in time, I’m not sure it’s appropriate to cite specific figures at the negotiation table,” Kamoshita said.

In addition to climate change, the ministers agreed that governments should come up with national action plans and implementation strategies to protect biodiversity.


Also: Saturday, May 24, 2008

G8 COUNTDOWN: Status quo may block climate pact: G8 campaign faces political hurdles, noted activist, Yurika Ayukawa warns.

By ERIC JOHNSTON, Staff writer, The Japan Times online.
KYOTO — A weak prime minister, a divided bureaucracy and opposition from big business mean Japan’s ability to use the July Group of Eight Summit at Lake Toya to forge an effective global warming treaty is at risk, a leading environmental activist warns.

“Over the past six months, Japanese proposals for a post-Kyoto Protocol treaty on the environment have met with stiff international opposition at conferences in Bali, Bangkok and Japan,” said Yurika Ayukawa in a recent interview with The Japan Times. “Time is running out, and we’re very worried Japan will not exercise leadership on the environment at the G8 Summit.”

Ayukawa is vice chairwoman of the 2008 G8 Summit NGO Forum, an umbrella organization of about 130 nongovernmental organizations working on poverty and development, peace and human rights, and environmental issues.

One of Japan’s most prominent environmental activists, Ayukawa has been meeting with Japanese officials involved in climate change issues and with politicians who are pushing for Japan to take the lead on forging a new climate change treaty to replace the Kyoto pact, which expires in 2012.

But she said Japanese industry, including the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren), is proving to be a major roadblock to reaching the kind of tough emissions-reductions targets most climate change experts say are needed to slow the rate of global warming.

“Keidanren opposed the Kyoto Protocol and many powerful corporate types don’t want Japan to be bound by numerical targets under a post-Kyoto Protocol treaty,” Ayukawa said. “Because of pressure from politically powerful industries, especially the steel industry, and because Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda is politically weak and the Diet is divided, Japanese negotiators for a new protocol are constrained on what they can promise.”

At last year’s U.N. climate change conference in Bali, it was agreed that developed countries would take measurable and verifiable nationally appropriate mitigation actions, including quantified emissions-reduction objectives.

But developing countries are only obliged to take nationally appropriate actions under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” between developed and developing countries.

Developing countries, including China and India, remain opposed to any agreement that forces them to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a specific amount, while developed countries, notably the United States, insist a post-Kyoto Protocol treaty must include measurable emission-reduction standards for developing nations, which are large greenhouse gas emitters.

To bring China and other nations onboard a post-Kyoto treaty, Japan has suggested what’s known as a sectoral approach. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this year, Fukuda proposed that numerical greenhouse gas-reduction targets be set based on how energy-efficient various industrial sectors are.

“The target could be set by compiling on a sectoral basis energy efficiency as a scientific and transparent measurement, and tallying up the reduction volume that would be achieved based on the technology to be in use in subsequent years,” Fukuda said.

But the vagueness of the concept itself has increased Ayukawa’s concerns.

“The sectoral approach is extremely complicated. There are differences between countries on what the phrase industrial ‘sectors’ really means. Unless there is a thorough discussion between all parties as to what, exactly, the term refers to, it will be impossible to reach an agreement.”

Yet such a discussion will no doubt be time-consuming, and the deadline for a post-Kyoto Protocol treaty is rapidly approaching, as it was agreed in Bali last year that an accord should be reached by the end of 2009, she said.

In Davos, Fukuda also said Japan will, along with other major emitters, set a quantified national target for greenhouse gas emissions-reductions. If that is the policy the government intends to pursue, Ayukawa said, it will likely be a bone of great contention.

“The phrase ‘major emitters’ includes China and India, and has made them wary of Japan’s proposals, as they fear agreeing to it will lock them into specific numerical targets that they oppose,” Ayukawa said. “Japan and the other advanced countries have a responsibility to lead the effort to forge a new climate treaty, and they need to take the lead by setting tough numerical targets.”

Japan’s NGOs are hoping to meet with Fukuda prior to the July G8 summit in Hokkaido to raise the above concerns, Ayukawa said. Fukuda may also have a separate meeting with international NGOs.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008, SENTAKU MAGAZINE, as reported on The Japan Times online.
Tycoon aims to speed up politics: Business tycoon Hiroshi Okuda is said to be meeting frequently but secretly with leading figures of both the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the No. 1 opposition Democratic Party of Japan, apparently with an eye to reorganizing the political landscape after general elections expected in the not-too-distant future.

He is gravely concerned that his country might become isolated in the international community if the Diet remains “twisted” — with the LDP-led governing coalition holding a two-thirds majority in the Lower House and the DPJ and other opposition parties holding a majority in the Upper House. Legislative bills initiated by the government have been blocked.

Okuda, the former CEO of Toyota Motor Corp. who served as chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren), has long been known to have close relations with political leaders, who often have turned to him when in trouble.

As recently as March, Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda asked Okuda to succeed Toshihiko Fukui as governor of the Bank of Japan. If he had accepted the offer, his nomination could well have been approved by both houses of the legislature and he would have become the first head of the central bank with a manufacturing background. Okuda declined, and Fukuda named two former Finance Ministry bureaucrats in succession. Both nominations were rejected in the Upper House, creating a temporary vacancy in the top central bank post.

Under former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Okuda, as a member of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, gave wholehearted support to Koizumi’s thoroughgoing “structural reform” agenda, which included privatizing the postal services. It is no wonder that intimate relations have developed between the two and that Koizumi relied on Okuda on a number of occasions.

Okuda appeared to have gone into retirement after handing over the chairmanships of Nippon Keidanren and the Industrial Structure Council to Canon Inc. Chairman Fujio Mitarai. Nippon Keidanren, meanwhile, had ended its 10-year moratorium on making contributions to political parties, a decision that pleased the LDP, which was suffering from fund shortages.

Politicians’ reliance on Okuda revived after a series of actions taken by Mitarai proved unpopular. In February, Prime Minister Fukuda bypassed Mitarai and named Okuda to head a council to deliberate on the key issue of global warming ahead of the summit meeting of the Group of Eight industrialized nations, to be hosted by Japan in July.

It appears that whatever Fukuda accomplishes with the advice of Okuda could have a major impact on his own government.

Why is it that Okuda enjoys so much trust from leading political figures? One reason is that he still wields much influence over the Toyota group, whose annual profits reach ¥2 trillion. Both the governing and opposition parties hope to receive political contributions through initiatives from Okuda and Toyota. Numerous corporations in Japan are looking for business opportunities with the Toyota group, whose yearly global turnover is in the ¥25 trillion range.

Mitarai is said to have followed Okuda’s advice: that companies making big profits should not hesitate to raise employee wages. This, coupled with Canon’s decision to give full employee status to temporary workers, has restored public confidence in him.

At a news conference in February, Mitarai said Japan should open dialogue with the European Union on how trading rights to greenhouse-gas emissions can reduce carbon dioxide. This is a drastic departure from the “absolute opposition” that Nippon Keidanren — whose principal members are from the electric power, steel and other industrial segments — had taken to such action.

This turnaround is also said to be the result of Okuda’s advice to Mitarai. This is understandable because Okuda has a track record of making Toyota an environmentally friendly company, having initiated development of the low-emission “hybrid” automobile — which runs on both a gasoline engine and a battery — over strong opposition within his own company. Okuda is said to have advised Mitarai that continued opposition to limits on carbon dioxide emissions would endanger the latter’s position as a leader in business circles.

A strong bond between Okuda and DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa is also said to have been instrumental in restoring the relationship between Nippon Keidanren and the No. 1 opposition party, which had been severed for three years.

One evening in early April, Okuda was having drinks with Koizumi, and a number of powerful lawmakers from both the LDP and the DPJ were with them. Okuda sought to drive home the point that the political objectives of business circles had not materialized.

Even though Nippon Keidanren, under his leadership, decided to resume political contributions with the aim of exerting influence on politics, nothing much has happened since the opposition camp won a majority in the Upper House election last year. Okuda is deeply concerned that unless this situation is rectified, Japan will become isolated in the international community.

That’s why Okuda has been meeting with leading political figures of both camps frequently but secretly. He appears set on reorganizing the entire Japanese political landscape after the next general elections. He is supported by Koizumi, Mitarai and Takashi Imai, honorary chairman of Nippon Steel Corp.

It should be noted that a move toward political reorganization at the initiative of a business leader has never worked before. If Okuda fails in his bid, he could end up a laughingstock, like a 21st-century Don Quixote.

A chivalrous spirit may be driving him. Regardless of the outcome, Okuda is likely to remain most influential as Mitarai’s mentor.

This is an abridged translation of an article from the May issue of Sentaku, a magazine covering Japanese political, economic and social topics.


The Independent of London quotes Yvo de Boer, in the Monday May 27 issue:

“UN climate chief Yvo de Boer said strong national commitments to cut gases by industrialized countries were needed to encourage rapidly developing nations such as China and India to curb their own emissions.

“While I think a long-term goal is good, I hope that agreeing to one doesn’t consume too much time and detract from what I think should be the primary focus, namely providing clarity on where rich nations intend to be in 2020,” he said.  

Above is the problem at hand – in a nutshell. If de Boer continues to speak up he might yet redeem himself and his organization – the UNFCCC.


Posted on on April 7th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

Back from the Bangkok meeting, Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, will be passing through New York on Thursday April 10, 2008.

He will be summing up before the ten members of world media, a fracture of the 90 members of the UN Correspondence Association, that will be present in the building at that time, the outcomes of last week’s United Nations Climate Change Talks in Bangkok, the first major UN climate change meeting this year.

The Press Briefing will be held in room S-226 at the UN headquarters in New York – the second floor, the UN Secretariat Building where floors 2-4 are partly turned over to the press accredited with the UN.   The briefing will take place on: Thursday,   April 10, 2008, at 12:30 p.m.
In Bangkok, delegates from 162 countries gathered to map out their work programme leading to a long-term international climate change agreement in Copenhagen by the end of 2009. The Bangkok meeting had its hot and cold times; the opinions about the results verry vary. The UN declared roses, but others see only positioning towards the precipice. We trust that Mr. de Boer wants to present his point of view, and he needs thus more attention then the dried up UN press corps is allowed to provide him with.
The briefing will be webcast and in Manhattan you can watch it on UNTV, Channel 78.

Mr. de Boer is also available for interviews and media opportunities – the problem is that the UN Department of Information Control allows him to do all of this only in relation to those the Department selected for accreditation to the UN. We know that Mr. de Boer, in order to succeed in his job, must have wider access to the public. The fact that UNFCCC will allow for a webcast, and UNTV, unless it cuts of the program because of some activity at the UN Security Council that is deemed by DPI as more important – is also a possibility for some to get his input. But this does not make for a vibrant press coverage. Media is about asking questions – not just a conduit of information from the UN tub to the gasping mouth of the uninformed. Our website is full of examples of what I am talking here about. The last time we wrote about this it was in the context of the Japanese preparations for media contact at this year’s upcoming G8, that by the way, will have a lot to do also with our interest in climate change policy.

In short – what Mr. de Boer needs to do is to have a press conference also outside the UN confines – a place where every correspondent active in New York, every blogger interested in the subject, can come – listen, ask, be informed, and tell then his readers, listeners, watchers – this because the subject of climate change is of interest not just to the governing elites of 192 UN Member Governments, but to every Joe and Jane who will be in the end those that pay for inaction of the few – and watch what I am saying – it is these folks that need the information in order to help them impact policy.

Just watch this simple fact: The New York Times has an excellent experienced scientist/blogger – Andy Revkin – who covers climate change. But when there will be the April 10th briefing, Mr. de Boer will be lucky to see in the room Mr. Warren Hoge, who has the regular UN beat for the paper. Andy willl not be there, because he is not the regular NYT UN accredited reporter. So the readers of the NYT will at best find a note that Mr. Boer made a presentation in New York, and they will have lost the chance to find out what could have been a news breaking answer to a good question from Andy. Needless to say that less famous bloggers have no back up whatsoever – and today news are spread by the blogs!
At the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali last year, countries agreed to step up international efforts to combat climate change and to launch formal negotiations to come to an agreement on long-term cooperative action. They decided on the ambitious time-line to conclude negotiations by the end of 2009 and identified the main elements for discussion, including a shared-long term vision and enhanced action on adaptation, mitigation, technology and finance. The new working group that was mandated in Bali to lead the work has met in Bangkok for the first time with the intention of spelling out the steps needed to come to the envisaged agreement.

Furthermore, talks in Bangkok advanced work on the rules through which emission reduction targets of developed countries can be met.   This work was taken up by an already existing working group in which discussions take place on further commitments for Annex I countries under the Kyoto Protocol.

The Problem is how and when will the developing countries join above effort. Clearly, they cannot be asked to carry the brunt of the responsibility even though they are the growing new polluters on the bloc. On the other hand, governments like the US, Japan, Germany, these days say that there is a need to expand the responsibility also to the major economies of the front-runners among the now developing countries – China, India, Brazil. But what about the Small Island States, The Least Developed States, the Naurus and Bangladesh of this world? They stood up to speak for themselves at Bangkok because of the long existing truth that the G77 does not back their needs. After all, it is not the economic loss of the oil exporters that the submerging islands should be asked to worry about.

Bubbles float all over the UN – plain talk is what is needed. I know that Mr. de Boer knows that and we want the opportunity to ask him direct questions that are not monitored by the UN Secretariat political appointees.Will Mr. de Boer stand up to this challenge and have please a press briefing outside the UN?

How does Mr. de Boer expect to handle in December 2008, at this Conference of the Parties to UNFCCC and the meeting of the members to the Kyoto Protocol, when in November there was a Presidential election in the US   and the man in the White House has really just a few more days – not the years needed for him to be a serious player in the negotiations?

Above is a question that will not be asked at the UN – But for the Planet’s sake – there must be somewhere space to allow such a question – or really lots of travel just produces lots of emissions.


Posted on on December 11th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

The Commission on Sustainable Development Is It A Moribund UN Body Or Will It Be Revived Because It Is Needed After The Re-Engagement Hoopla That Happens Now At Bali?

Our Website was established in order to help create the awareness that there is no other development possible – not in the developing countries and not in the developed countries – that is not SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.

We had experience starting from before the Brundtland Commission of 1987, we were engaged at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, and we wrote the “Promptbook on Sustainable Development for The World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg 2002. In short we are strong believers that if the UN CSD were not created in 1994, we would have had to create it now.

Why that? Simply, because as it is crystal clear now that the development of tomorrow cannot go on by rules of the development of yesterday – and this was given, right today, full global recognition in Oslo, when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the scientists of the IPCC, and to Al Gore – whatever will come out from the Bali-Poznan-Copenhagen process will be clearly a final global landing on the runway that was built in Rio for Agenda 21. And as we keep saying – this will be a joint Sustainable Development for North and South, East and West. It will be a world were those that have the needed technologies will share them with those that are only trying out for their own National development. This will not be done because of altruism – it will be rather because of self interest that comes from the simple fact that we are all residents of planet earth, and we understand that we have caused the planet to be on a path of destruction that harms the continuation of life as nature or god created.

After UNCED, The UN created a Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development and Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Gali appointed Mr. Nitin Desai, at the Under-Secretary-General level to head the Department. 1994-1998 Joke Waller-Hunter from the Netherlands was the first Director of the Division for Sustainable Development and the head of the Commission on Sustainable Development – so the Commission itself dates back, for all practical purpose, to 1994 – even though it officially was started in 1992. In May 2007 we witnessed the CSD 15 (that is counting back to 1992!).

In 1997, Secretary-General Kofi, in an effort to reduce the number of UN Under-Secretary-Generals, consolidated three economic and social departments and created UN DESA (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs) and eventually put Mr. Desai as head of DESA where he was until he was replaced in 2003 with Mr. Jose Antonio Ocampo, the former Finance Minister of Colombia; the new Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, brought in, July 2007, Mr. Sha Zukang, the previous China Ambassador in Geneva. In 1998 Ms. JoAnne DiSano, with a background of having worked for the Canadian Government, and then for 11 years with the Australian Government, became the Director of the new Division of Sustainable Development within DESA. She held this position until September of 2007 and since then the position is VACANT, and it looks as if the UN does not care.

Ms. Joke Waller-Hunter, left her position with the CSD in 1998 in order to become the Executive Secretary of the of Bonn based   UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) where she remained untill her death in 2006. She was replaced there in 2007, by Mr. Yvo de Boer, appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Mr. Yvo de Boer is also from the Netherlands, where he was Director for International Affairs of the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment. He was in the Past Vice-Chair of the Commision on SD and Vice-Chair of the COP of the UNFCCC. Both, the CSD and the UNFCCC are outcomes of the 1992 UNCED. Ms. Joke Waller-Hunter’s departure from New York may have had something to do with the 1997 UN reorganization that replaced the Department of SD with a Division of SD within DESA. She may have sensed that her presence at UNFCCC will further SD goals easier then   at the new Division of SD – that its creation caused in effect a demotion in her position.

The present vacancy at the nerve-center of the CSD, at a time the CSD is needed indeed, following the latest push at the UNFCCC, on matters of climate change, that causes our renewed interest in the UN CSD and in the UN Division that was established specifically in order to run the CSD. We are afraid that it will be difficult to see progress on the UN level, in matters of climate change, without a functioning office that deals with sustainable development.

Now to be honest, our interest is not just because of curiosity – but rather because of the worry that we understand very well the reasons for the slow demise of the CSD – the factors that got it to start on what may be a path to extinction.

At CSD 9 it was decided that the CSD will discuss specific topics in cycles of two years. So the first cycle was Water for CSD11-CSD12, the second cycle Energy for CSD14-CSD15, the third cycle Land Use for CSD16-CSD17.

So 2006-2007 was the Energy cycle, and as in UN fashion it was supposed to be the turn to have a chair from Asia, it was the Asians that suggested Qatar to chair the energy subject. Now Qatar is a producer of gas rather then oil.

Some said that though sustainable development must help put forward development methods that are less dependent on oil and coal, this for reasons of global warming and climate change, nevertheless, recognizing the role of natural gas as a cleaner fuel and a potential intermediary fuel from an oil and coal economy to an economy that is starting to be based on renewable sources of energy, Qatar could have been acceptable also as a political peace-maker between the interests of conventional industry and the incoming new industry based on renewbles. But to the consternation of those optimists, we could see that behind the representative of Qatar, at the CSD sessions, there was always sitting a representative from Saudi Arabia, and in the end there was no resulting negotiated text for what is probably one of the most important topics of Sustainable Development – Energy.

Above was nothing yet when compared with what happened in the last day of CSD 15. As always, there are elections for the next CSD membership – the membership is held at 53 countries elected according to a regional key – and then there is the election of the “bureau” and the new chair. The turn according to UN habit was that next chair will be from Africa, and as said, the topic for CSD16 in 2008, and for CSD17 in 2009, will be Land Use. The Africans decided to put forward Zimbabwe as their choice and campaigned with the G77 that this is their wish. The UK did not want any part of this, and specially since the land policies of the Mugabe Government have run Zimbabwe agriculture from being a large agricultural exporter to becoming a starving nation, with an economy that was totally destroyed, a monetary situation that shows astronomic inflation rate, and human rights problems that clearly make it ineligible for a UN leadership position, it is this obstinacy that reduced the CSD to plain irrelevancy. We were there that night of Friday May 11, 2007, in room 4 in the UN basement, and watched in disbelief how the distinguished, low-key German Ambassador, head in New York of the EU presidency, with the German Minister of the Environment next to him, simply told the CSD Chair from Qatar that the EU cannot work with this sort of CSD.

If by any way I exaggerate now, 7 months later, please forgive my memory, but see what I, Pincas Jawetz, Inner City Press journalist Matthew Rusell Lee, and the EUobserver from Brussels, wrote about this – the references on the web are:

– EUobserver on the 5/11 Crash of CSD15 (May 14th, 2007)

– A First Analysis: From The Ashes of the CSD, Will We See A Rising Phoenix? A Brundtland II, To be Called – “OUR COMMON GROUND” ? (May 13th, 2007)

– The UN General Assembly Resolution of September 30, 1974 against South Africa was not Premised On Apartheid’s Threat To Security, But On Its Serious Violation Of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. WHY DOES

– 9/11 and 3/11 Have Become Symbols of what Oil Money Can Cause To Those Who Insist On Buying The Oil, Will 5/11 Become The Symbol of Awakening at the UN? This Because Of May 11, 2007 Late Evening Happenings At
The So Called UN Commission On Sustainable Development? (May 12th, 2007)

– At the UN, Zimbabwe Elected 26-21 to Sustainable Development Chair for CSD16, As EU and Others Reject Final Text of The Chairman from Qatar of CSD15. (May 12th, 2007)

I took then the 5/11 date and in ways of exaggeration tried to compare this with 9/11 in New York and 3/11 in Madrid. Was it really an exaggeration? Could we say that the backing Zimbabwe got from States with unresolved problems from colonial days, and oil states that think, completely wrong, that they have anything to gain from derailing the concept of sustainable development, sustainable energy, global warming, climate change…, from efforts to improve the life of billions of people?

Further, the UN recognizes three groups of States with greater needs – these are the Least Developed States (LDCs), the Small Island Independent States (SIDS), and the Landlocked States. These are the States within the UN system that are most in need of help via sustainable development. Why did the UN take them out from being under the Under-Secretary-General who heads DESA, and put them under a separate Under-Secretary-General? Does this not cause waste and decreased efficiency? Would they not be served better within a well functioning unified economic organization that takes, for instance, in account the interests of Island States when it comes to the subject of the effects of global warming/climate change?

Now, I was not going to allow myself to lose my hope for a functioning CSD. The articles I refer to above are actually articles of hope – that is I hope that from the ashes the CSD will rise, as a Phoenix, under the leadership of Brundtland II.

Does this look likely? I submit it is imperative, and by the end of this week, whatever wind will be blowing from Bali, people will see that it does not go without sustainable development. So why do the Africans not get together and try to rein in Mr. Mugabe? Again, just this week, the EU invited all Heads of State of Africa to Lisbon for discussions on trade that were needed in order to help restart the Doha trade round. The Europeans were ready to put aside the dispute with Mugabe, and he was also invited – then why did he have to show physically his raised fist? Is this the end of an EU-Africa relation? Clearly not. It was just a new beginning showing that rational people can try to restart negotiations even in the presence of a street-bully. And that brings me back to the UN DC-2 building – that is where one finds the CSD Secretariat.

CSD 16 will happen one way or another in May 5-16, 2008. The full list of topics is: “The Review Session of The Third Implementation Cycle that Will Focus on Agriculture, Rural Development, Land, Desertification, and Africa.”

The CSD expects Germany to fund the bringing to New York of youth representatives from the developing countries. A main topic will be “Drought and Desertification and Africa” – this means effects of climate change that helped cause warfare in Africa. Will the world allow Africa to commit suicide through obstinacy, or is the world obliged to look into the mirror and say we cannot continue on this path? Mr. Baroso bit his lip and made an effort. We assume the EU will continue to try to find a way to keep the Commission in business, if at least the UN Secretariat helps reestablish a CSD Secretariat – and at the minimum there must be a functioning Director of the CSD Secretariat. That is the closing of the three month old vacancy that was created with the departure of Ms. JoAnne DiSano.

I understand that part of the nominating and election process involves the Commission itself. The present 53 members are:

African States: 12 besides Zimbabwe. They are – Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo/Kinshasa, Djibouti, Gambia, Guinea, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Tanzania, Zambia.

Asian States: 11 – Bahrain, China, North Korea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kuwait, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Thailand.

Eastern Europe: 6 – Belarus, Croatia, Czech Rep., Poland, Russia, Serbia.

Latin America and Caribbean: 10 – Antigua and Barbuda (the incoming head of G-77), Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Haiti, Peru.

Western European and Others: 13 – Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Monaco, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, UK, US.

By looking through this list I clearly see that Poland, the host of next year’s follow up meeting to Bali, motors of the UNFCCC track like Germany, UK, Japan, Australia, India, even China, Antigua, Korea,Tunisia, Congo/Kinshasa, Tanzania, Croatia will want to see a functioning CSD. What is needed is a low key peace maker with vision who comes from inside the UN system, and who has a history of having seen the difficulties when working with developing countries that seem to have memories from colonial days that they apply to new situations that really are of a totally different nature. Finding such a person would help, we hope, revive the CSD, so it could continue its functions and prepare for much larger importance when the UNFCCC track finally starts sputtering.


Posted on on November 15th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

Ajay Makan writes from Male, Maldives, November 15, 2007, for Reuters:

Island States Urge UN to Study Rights, Climate Link.

Small island states (SIDS) called on the United Nations on Wednesday to assess whether a link exists between failure to tackle climate change, which threatens to wipe their countries off the map, and human rights.

But the 26 nations from around the globe failed to agree on an resolution backing a human rights agenda meant to take on big greenhouse gas polluters at a UN climate change summit in Bali, Indonesia next month.

The Maldives and other vocal island states blame the United States and other big polluters for climate change and say their inaction to curb greenhouse gas emissions will destroy their economies through rising seas and wild weather.

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) used the two-day meeting to highlight what it said was a human right “to live in a safe and sustaining environment”. It said “climate change directly and fundamentally undermines that right”.

But Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda were cautious, delegates said, that an explicit recognition of human rights would boost pressure on their own governments to improve political rights.

The Alliance represents 43 countries with a population of fewer than 15 million people, ranging from wealthy Singapore in Southeast Asia to Fiji, Kiribati and Tuvalu in the Pacific and Caribbean nations.

Alliance delegates will meet international lawyers and civil society groups to develop a common agenda ahead of the Bali summit, which aims to kick-off negotiations for global pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

Alliance Chair Angus Friday expressed optimism the group could still adopt a common platform at the Bali summit. He also hailed the resolution as a first step towards an international recognition of the link between climate change and human rights.

“We have to be realistic about the timescale, but we have started a process today,” he told reporters.

The resolution at the end of the meeting called for a UN study into linkages between human rights and climate change and a March 2009 debate at the UN Human Rights Council.

“The right to life as we know it is threatened. My people survive by praying,” Tuvalu’s ambassador to the UN told Reuters.

Delegates met at one of the Maldives’ flagship deluxe resorts, refurbished following the 2004 tsunami, a reminder of the country’s vulnerability to rising seas.