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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 1st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


The 23 September UN Climate Summit was a multi-dimensional event which brought together more than 120 Heads of State and Government, along with leaders from civil society and business, to catalyze ambitious action to address climate change. During July and August, UN-NGLS led an open, transparent nomination process to identify civil society speakers and attendees for the Summit. Ultimately 50 candidates were invited to attend, 18 of whom were provided with travel funding.


Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, a 26-year old poet from the Marshall Islands – who is also a teacher, a journalist, a founder of an environmental NGO and a mother – was selected to speak during the opening ceremony of the Summit. She has since been widely commended for delivering the most memorable presentation of the day: a short statement followed by a stirring poem addressed to her daughter, titled “Dear Matafele Peinam.” She brought many to tears and received a long standing ovation in the General Assembly Hall.
A video that accompanied her performance, and the full text of the poem, can be found on her blog: jkijiner.wordpress.com/

Videos of her statement and poem are circling the globe, with more than 350,000 views combined in the last week. Watch her full presentation here:
Statement and poem by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Climate Summit 2014 – Opening Ceremony

More than 120 articles have been written worldwide already about the messages she brought to the Summit, including by several major international media outlets. A tracking document can be viewed here: bit.ly/KJKarticlesClimateSummit

Currently, more than 60 articles convey perspectives and recommendations from many of the 49 additional civil society participants selected through the UN-NGLS process. The tracking document for these articles is available here:
 bit.ly/NGLS-CSO_Climate_Summit_Pr…

The global resonance of the messages brought to the Summit by this diverse array of civil society representatives illustrates the importance and value of civil society participation in UN processes. UN-NGLS expresses its highest respect and appreciation to all of the civil society representatives who brought their hopes and expertise to UN Headquarters for the Summit – several of whom had never left their countries before. UN-NGLS thanks the Climate Change Support Team in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General for supporting this civil society engagement.

For more information about outcomes of the UN Climate Summit, please visit:
 www.un-ngls.org
Email:  info at un-ngls.org

=================================

THE POEM:

dear matafele peinam,

you are a seven month old sunrise of gummy smiles

you are bald as an egg and bald as the buddha

you are thunder thighs and lightning shrieks

so excited for bananas, hugs and

our morning walks past the lagoon

dear matafele peinam,

i want to tell you about that lagoon

that lucid, sleepy lagoon lounging against the sunrise

some men say that one day

that lagoon will devour you

they say it will gnaw at the shoreline

chew at the roots of your breadfruit trees

gulp down rows of your seawalls

and crunch your island’s shattered bones

they say you, your daughter

and your granddaughter, too

will wander rootless

with only a passport to call home

dear matafele peinam,

don’t cry

mommy promises you

no one

will come and devour you

no greedy whale of a company sharking through

political seas

no backwater bullying of businesses with broken morals no blindfolded

bureaucracies gonna push

this mother ocean over

the edge

no one’s drowning, baby

no one’s moving

no one’s losing

their homeland

no one’s gonna become

a climate change refugee

or should i say

no one else

to the carteret islanders of papua new guinea

and to the taro islanders of fiji

i take this moment

to apologize to you

we are drawing the line here

because baby we are going to fight

your mommy daddy

bubu jimma your country and president too

we will all fight

and even though there are those

hidden behind platinum titles

who like to pretend

that we don’t exist

that the marshall islands

tuvalu

kiribati

maldives

and typhoon haiyan in the philippines

and floods of pakistan, algeria, and colombia

and all the hurricanes, earthquakes, and tidalwaves

didn’t exist

still

there are those

who see us

hands reaching out

fists raising up

banners unfurling

megaphones booming

and we are

canoes blocking coal ships

we are

the radiance of solar villages

we are

the rich clean soil of the farmer’s past

we are

petitions blooming from teenage fingertips

we are

families biking, recycling, reusing,

engineers dreaming, designing, building,

artists painting, dancing, writing

we are spreading the word

and there are thousands out on the street

marching with signs

hand in hand

chanting for change NOW

they’re marching for you, baby

they’re marching for us

because we deserve to do more than just

survive

we deserve

to thrive

dear matafele peinam,

you are eyes heavy

with drowsy weight

so just close those eyes, baby

and sleep in peace

because we won’t let you down

you’ll see

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 28th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

United Nations Press Release
 
Small Island Developing States Call for Global Partnerships to Take  Urgent Action on Climate Change.
(New York, 24 February) – Small Island Developing States called for global support for partnerships to take actions that would assist them in building resilience against climate change impacts and achieve sustainable development.
 
Representatives from small islands told  the first preparatory committee for the third United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States that just concluded that global action on climate change is essential not only for their sustainable development but also for their survival.
 
“A reality that can no longer be ignored in this process is climate change. The crisis has made realizing our sustainable development more difficult,” said Ambassador of Nauru Marlene Moses, who currently chairs the Alliance of Small Island States.
 
“Extreme weather and ecological degradation erode the economies we depend on for food and survival. In other words, we cannot develop sustainably if we fail to act on climate change and we cannot act on climate change without effective sustainable development. These issues are inextricably linked.”
 
The series of meetings at UN headquarters discussed the main objectives of the Conference, whose theme this year is “sustainable development of small island States through genuine and durable partnerships.”
 
Representatives from small island developing states also emphasized that the Conference, which will be held in Apia, Samoa, in September 2014 {during the UN year of special attention to the SIDS}, should result in a concrete and focused document that could not only benefit small islands, but also inform other processes such as the climate negotiations in Paris in 2015 as well as the UN’s post-2015 development agenda.
 
For their part, China, the European Union, and the United States reaffirmed their commitment to support small island developing states at a regional and national level, as well as develop new partnerships that could evolve into more comprehensive cooperation on global challenges.
 
“The recognition of the extreme vulnerabilities of small island developing states should propel us urgently towards clarity of collective vision and concrete actions,” said the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States Gyan Chandra Acharya. “In doing so, we will be rendering a great service to the global community as whole.
 
“The situation in islands should be an eye-opener for all of us given the severity and multiplicity of the challenges this should lead us to urgent action.”
 
 Conference Secretary-General, Wu Hongbo, encouraged small island developing States to take advantage of this “historic year” for them. In addition to the Conference, 2014 has also been declared the International year of Small Island Developing States with the objective of highlighting these countries’ economic, social and cultural contributions.
 
“The Conference will be a major milestone for small island developing states,” Mr. Wu said. “It will make an important contribution to the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda. It will also result in tangible outcomes through strengthened and collaborative partnerships between small island developing states and the international community.”
 
For more information on the Conference and the preparatory committee see: sids2014.org
For information on the International Year and ways to get involved visit: www.un.org/islands2014
 
Media contacts: Florencia Soto Nino, sotonino@un.org, 917-367-4833; Melanie Prudhomme, prudhommem@un.org, 917-367-3541, UN Department of Public Information

What is missing from this UN PRESS RELEASE IS THE REALIZATION THAT THE PLIGHT OF THE SIDS IS NOT A MATTER FOR THE SIDS ALONE, BUT IN EFFECT THEY ARE THE PROVERBIAL CANARY IN THE ROOM THAT ITS CONDITION TELLS US ABOUT OUR OWN PLIGHT.

CLIMATE CHANGE DOES NOT ENDANGER JUST THE ISLANDS BUT ALSO THE MOUNTAINS AND HIGHLANDS – THE SHORES AND PLAINS – AND THE SIDS’ PROBLEMS WERE NOT CAUSED BY THEM,  BUT BY US – THOSE UNSCRUPULOUS EMITTERS OF FOSSIL CARBON FROM CHINA,  THE US,  THE EU, and other big-shots called now to participate in “PARTNERSHIPS” without any mention of the need for changes in production and consumption ways of the gluttonous Industrialized – old and new – States.Yes, we were there and attest that speakers did address these issues, but the PRESS RELEASE does not mention those criticisms. Giving money as aid has not washed clean the emitters in the past, and will not do so in the future – only a combined program that reduces emissions by those others – that is the mitigation work on climate change – linked with direct work with the Inhabitants of the SIDS – to help in their Adaptation to the misery that was created already,  can do.

The best we can say about the just concluded preparatory meeting for the Conference that will eventually be held in Apia, Samoa, is that it was a celebration of what those Island States contribute to the World Population at large – so it really is not only their loss from what goes on by our direct loss – beyond the Canary role – that should concern us.

That is why we find those meetings very important and we will continue to watch for signs that the UN talking about SIDS does not come instead of REAL ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE BY ALL.

ON THE OTHER HAND – with the UN General Assembly meeting in New York 16-29 September 2014, this means the UN schedule for the second half of September is already taken – the Arctic Circle meeting is scheduled for September 5-7, 2014,  so the Apia , Samoa meeting was set for 1-4 September or as we found in a Samoa posting – ” title=”http://www.sids2014.org” target=”_blank”>, Reporting From the UN Headquarters in New York, Samoa

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 21st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

 

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.
 
WHO:            
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. webtv.un.org/
For more information see: www.un.org/islands2014
 Hashtag: #islands2014

===================================================

THIS IS A VERY UNUSUAL EVENT AT THE UN – A CELEBRATION OF LIFE FOR DIEING STATES – STATES IN DANGER OF SINKING INTO THE RISING SEAS CAUSED BY THE INCOMPREHENSIBLE GLUTTONY FOR FOSSIL FUELS BY OTHER STATES – WE WILL BE THERE TO REPORT ON THIS AND TO WATCH IF THE OTHERS DO SHOW UP AT THE CELEBRATION. 

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 1st, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Malo ni!

My name is Mikaele Maiava. I’m writing from the Pacific Island archipelago of Tokelau to ask you to join with us in action as we take on the fossil fuel industry.

Last October, Tokelau turned off the last of its diesel generators. In their place, we switched on our solar plants, making Tokelau the first country in the world to become 100% renewably-powered.

I woke up before sunrise that day, excited about the history Tokelau was making. My whole village made its way to the site of over 100 solar panels — we could see the many hours of hard labor that had gone into this project. As we counted down to the switch, I could feel future generations smiling at us and thanking us. Our children’s future suddenly looked brighter because we had the vision (and perseverance) necessary to get off fossil fuels and switch to 100% renewable energy.

You might wonder why we bothered. Aren’t we doomed to lose our islands from sea-level rise? I don’t blame you for thinking that if you did. So often the global media victimises the Pacific Islands and portrays us as helplessly succumbing to climate change and rising seas. But the global media know nothing of who we really are, or how it feels to live on these paradise islands we call home. They don’t know that as Pacific Islanders, we are warriors, and that the land we live on is part of us.

We know that the longer the fossil fuel industry gets its way, the worse climate change will be, and the more sea-level rise will threaten our islands. But giving up on our home is not an option. We are not drowning.
We are fighting.

That’s why on March 2nd, Pacific Islanders across 15 diverse nations will be mobilising at prominent locations to perform our unique war challenges, songs, and dances. We’ll be laying down a challenge to the fossil fuel industry. It is their coal and oil and gas vs. our future. They cannot both coexist. And it is our future that has to win.

In this moment, and in the years to come, we need you to walk beside us. Because we live far away from the mines and power plants that threaten our future, we need the world’s solidarity. Click here to stand with us during this weekend of Pacific Warrior climate action!

We want to show the world that people from countries and cultures everywhere are standing with us — the Pacific Warriors — in the fight against climate change.

Fakafetai lahi,
Thank you,
Mikaele Maiava

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 22nd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

15 February 2013

Press Conference held inside the UN with access to the room available only to those the UN calls PRESS, and allows in by means of a stranglehold on the process of Media Accreditation. As such, the many websites belonging to environmental media are not part of this process. No wonder that the outside world is hardly provided information on subjects like this one. Non Member-State government-backed media does not stand a chance under such scrutiny.

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Press Conference on Impact of Climate Change on Marshall Islands.

The Security Council should consider climate change as a threat to international peace and security, particularly for such low-lying nations as the Marshall Islands whose “very existence” was at risk, a Government minister from that country said at a Headquarters press conference today.

“This organization [the Council] that we put faith in to provide the security of our country is saying that that is not a security matter,” said Tony deBrum, Minister in Assistance to the President of the Marshall Islands, as he briefed journalists on today’s so-called “Arria Formula” meeting on security implications of climate change.

Initiated in 1992 by Ambassador Diego Arria, the representative of Venezuela on the Security Council, such informal gatherings do not constitute an activity of the Council and are convened at the initiative of a member or members of the Council.

Mr. deBrum said he had participated as a panelist and reminded the Council that 35 years ago, he had come to the United Nations to petition for the independence of the Marshall Islands.  Between 1976 and 1986, his delegation had annually visited the United Nations.  In 1986, the Security Council finally approved the termination of the trusteeship and the establishment of an independent Government for the Marshall Islands, he added.

“We are very grateful for that, but it is hard to be excited about the independent Government seeking prosperity, progress and good life for its people to be faced with the situation where its very existence is threatened through climate change,” he said.

“It seems ironic that the very same agency whose approval was needed for my country to become a country again would consider my coming back to ask for help […] is not relevant to their work,” he said.  There was no outcome document or a running record from that meeting, but he expected that his appeal had convinced some or more of the participants that climate change “is in fact a security issue, not just an economic/social/political issue”.

When asked which countries opposed treating climate change as the Council’s prerogative, he said China, Russian Federation and Guatemala were among them.  “Surprisingly”, the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, of which the Marshall Islands was a member, had taken a position that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was the appropriate venue for deliberations on that issue.  That revealed that “many of our own friends throughout the world do not realize the urgency of the problem,” he said.

Describing the situation, he said rising tides had started severely impacting the islands, with roads inundated every 14 days in keeping with the moon cycle.  In southern parts of the nation, where there used to be a military base in the Second World War, ordnances were being exposed by the tides, presenting a clear danger to the life and welfare of people there.  Even the nation’s capital was required to ration water.  In the northern part, emergency kits for making drinking water were being distributed as well water was inundated with salt.

“It became unsuitable for human consumption, and dangerous even to our staple food and citrus,” he said. He said he was not predicting a looming crisis — it was already happening, affecting not just his own country but also Kiribati, Tuvalu and some of the other low-lying islands of the Pacific.
He hoped that “logic will prevail and people see it as a just cause”.

In September, there will be a Pacific Islands Forum meeting to be held in his country, he said.  He wished to invite the most significant players in the politics of climate change to visit the Marshall Islands to see the situation first hand.  “We are not just sitting under coconut trees and waiting for coconuts to fall,” he said, stressing the need for proactive measures.

To an inquiry about Palau’s bid to bring the climate change issue before the International Court of Justice as a security and human rights violation, he said it was an interesting effort, but was not moving anywhere.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 18th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Islands want UN to see climate as security threat.

Posted: Feb 17, 2013 4:46 PM EST Updated: Feb 17, 2013 4:46 PM EST

© In this April 25, 2007 file photo, a woman gathers shellfish on an eroded beach on Majuro Atoll in the Marshall Islands. An April 25, 2007 file photo, a woman gathers shellfish on an eroded beach on Majuro Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Marshall Islands and other low-lying island nations {February 15, 2013, at the Arria formula UN Security Council non-Meeting} appealed to the U.N. Security Council to recognize climate change as an international security threat that jeopardizes their very survival.

Tony deBrum, a minister and assistant to the Marshall Islands president, said Friday the island nations are facing opposition from Security Council permanent members Russia and China and a group of more than 130 mainly developing nations, which argue that the U.N.’s most powerful body is the wrong place to address climate change.

DeBrum told reporters after a closed Security Council meeting on the “Security Dimensions of Climate Change,” organized by Britain and Pakistan, that he hopes more council members will be convinced that “this is a security issue and not just an economic-political-social issue.”

The low-lying islands, which are already being inundated with sea water, want the council to bring its “political weight” to the issue and help their countries survive, for example, by harnessing new technologies and ensuring alternative energy supplies, he said.

DeBrum said it was “ironic, bizarre perhaps” that 35 years after he went before the Security Council to seek the independence of the Marshall Islands he was back again “to appeal for the survival of my country.”

He said climate change has already taken a toll on the Marshall Islands. Wells have filled with salt water, making drinking water scarce and in turn affecting food production. One small island in a lagoon is now under water, and coastlines are being eroded.

The impact of climate change is also causing migration to other islands, as well as to Australia and the United States, he said.

In an interview Friday with The Associated Press, Rachel Kyte, the World Bank’s vice-president for sustainable development, said that since the council’s last discussion of climate change “the sense of immediacy and urgency has increased.”

“The question is: Do you want to keep on cataloguing all of the terrible things that are going to happen if we continue on a business as usual track, or are we actually going to start doing anything about it?” she said.

Kyte said she explained to the council on Friday that “it is possible to stop the worst from happening but it will require real, concerted policy action globally at every country level.”

“Economically we know what to do, but politically it’s going to take leadership,” she said. “And every day we don’t act we make the job more difficult for ourselves.”

“What the Security Council has to do is understand that everything has to be seen through this lens. Climate change is changing the future scenarios for every country,” Kyte said. “It’s framing decisions on security, economic security, food security.”

Germany’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Miguel Berger recalled that in July 2011, at his country’s initiative, the Security Council discussed the security implications of climate change at a formal meeting and adopted a presidential statement expressing the council’s concern about the possible adverse effects of climate change on international peace and security.

Berger told the council that Germany was happy to see the council taking up the issue again and stressed that all U.N. entities, including the Security Council, need to intensify their efforts to combat climate change and its security implications. He called for these implications to be included in Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s reports to the council on climate change.

“Let us not forget: Climate change and its security implications will shape tomorrow’s world in a way that is almost impossible to overestimate,” Wittig said. “We should also consider whether a U.N. special envoy on climate and security could help us to tackle the foreign and security policy implications of climate change.”

Pakistan’s U.N. Ambassador Masood Khan said the meeting would galvanize actions in all U.N. forums to combat climate change.

“Our response should not be anchored only in politics; it should also be guided by science and technology,” Khan said. “Our response should not just counter immediate threats; it should forewarn and prepare us for the impending threats that impinge on our security.”

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 18th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Ambassador Peter Thompson from Fiji speaks for the G 77 and China at the Arria Formula Non-meeting at the UNSC and the same day speaks also on the MDGs at a different meeting at the UN. We have here both his presentations.

To put it in diplomatic terms, we are amazed how the representative of a Small Islands State participates in the thrashing of its own future by serving the forces of business-as-usual that came about because of the influence the Islamic Oil States have on what at the UN goes under the term G 77 & China.

The Arria formula meeting of the Security Council – by its own definition a Non-meeting – came about as Member States with eyes open – have realized that the UN was incapable of moving on the issue of Climate Change, and this while practically every UN State has already stories to tell about losses from Climate Change – within their own territory or in States they do business with. The most hurt are obvious the Small Island States that might be completely wiped out by the effects of man-made Climate Change committed by other States. As such, transferring the issue to the Security Council, from the moribund UNFCCC and UNCSD, is an attempt to move the issue from the General Assembly UN debating club to the only UN institution that has the power to act. The alternative would be to close this UN, like the League of Nations was closed, and negotiate anew an organization with 193 Nations participating in a decision-for-action new mechanism. Every decent person would say this alternative will be unachievable. So what does Ambassador Peter Thompson, a traitor to the SIDS, mean by his statement on behalf of the negativistic uncounted governments from among the 77+China?
Further, the UNCSD will expire at the 2013 General Assembly meeting this coming September – as per a decision of the Rio+20 meeting June 2012. They will be replaced by a mechanism yet unknown, and dependent on recommendations that will be forthcoming from a special panel that was established in September 2012. The Issues of the MDGs and the newly to be formulated Sustainable Development Goals is also pending in the air – and that is part of the decisions of new UN formulas for 2015 and beyond. The distinguished Ambassador does seem to ignore all of this and try instead to stick with the formula of things that were totally rejected in Rio. Our conclusion is thus in non-diplomatic terms – he is sticking with the old ways that are responsible for the inaction at the UN that resulted in 20 wasted years, and at the same time puts sticks into the possible wheels of the UNSC with which some try to find ways to move out from the UN swamp.
In our postings about the Arria-formula meeting of Friday, February 15th we were able to bring forward the ridiculous Statement made by Egypt that clearly shows, that though it started out differently it got bent in haste to the same conclusions as the G77+China with even not having had the time to reconsider its own numbering system from the previous Arab League bent. The ray of light comes from Pakistan that seemingly decided to cosponsor the call to the Arria formula event, and obviously the SIDS that part now ways with the G77&China that did nothing for them in these lost 20 years.
———————————————————————————————————-

Mr. President,

I acknowledge the presence of Distinguished Panelist and Guest Speakers in today’s event. I thank the Secretary General for his Statement and note the interventions that have been made thus far.

I wish to express a special welcome to the Honorable Tony de Brum, Minister in Assistance to the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, I welcome the Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, and the Vice-President and Network Head for Sustainable Development at the World Bank Ms. Rachel Kyte. I also wish to welcome the contributions through video recordings by the President of Kiribati His Excellency Mr. Anote Tong and the Foreign Minister of Australia Senator Bob Carr.

Mr. President,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

We note the initiative of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in organizing this Meeting which we note is being convened under the informal Arria Formula of the United Nations Security Council on the subject “Security Dimensions of Climate Change”

Mr. President,

The Group of 77 and China reiterates its position that the United Nations Security Council is not the appropriate forum for this discussion. The Group will repeat that the primary responsibility of the United Nations Security Council is the maintenance of international peace and security, as set out in the Charter of the United Nations.

On the other hand, other issues, including those related to economic and social development, are assigned by that same Charter to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and to the United Nations General Assembly (General Assembly).

The ever-increasing encroachment by the Security Council on the roles and responsibilities of other principal organs of the United Nations represents a distortion of the principles and purposes of the Charter, infringes on their authority and compromises the rights of the general membership of the United Nations.

Mr. President,

The Group of 77 and China underlines the importance of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the ECOSOC to work within their respective mandates as set out in the Charter.

General Assembly resolution 63/281 recognized the respective responsibilities of the principal organs of the United Nations, including the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security conferred upon the Security Council and the responsibility for sustainable development issues, including climate change, conferred upon the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, and invited the relevant organs of the United Nations, as appropriate and within their respective mandates, to intensify their efforts in considering and addressing climate change, including its possible security implications.

The relevant bodies in the field of sustainable development are the General Assembly, the ECOSOC and their relevant subsidiary bodies, including the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Group of 77 and China is of the view that it is vital for all Member States to promote sustainable development in accordance with the Rio Principles, in particular, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and fully implement Agenda 21 and Outcomes of other relevant United Nations Conferences in the economic, environmental and social fields, including the Millennium Development Goals Declaration.

We further emphasize the critical role of the international community in the provision of adequate, predictable, new and additional financial resources, transfer of technology and capacity building to developing countries.

We maintain that the UNFCCC is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change. In this sense, we recall that an appropriate response to this challenge should address not only the consequences but mainly the roots of the problem. At the DOHA COP 18, we made progress towards addressing Climate Change through concrete decisions on remaining work under the Bali Action Plan, a Plan of work under the Durban Platform and a Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol with a clear time line. The Second Commitment Period of Kyoto Protocol, however, lacks ambition and we hope that its level will be enhanced in 2014 as agreed in Doha

Mr. President,

Let me emphasize that there is a strong case for developed countries’ emission reductions and mitigation actions to avoid adverse impacts of climate change. In this context, we are extremely concerned that current mitigation pledges from developed countries parties in the UNFCCC negotiations are not at all adequate to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions so as to hold the increase in global average temperature according to what is required by science.

We reiterate the need to coordinate international efforts and mobilize partners to assist the observation networks through regional initiatives such as South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring, and Caribbean Community Climate Change Center. In this regard, we call upon the relevant agencies and organs of the UN, including OCHA, to reinforce regional broadcastings systems to help island communities during disasters and increase the effectiveness of observation in these regions. Any measures taken in this context need to ensure an integrated approach in responding to environmental emergencies

The response to impacts of climate change and disasters must include the strengthening of the Hyogo Framework for Action for disaster risk reduction, the increasing of assistance to developing countries affected states, including by supporting efforts towards enhancing their national and regional capacities for implementation of plans and strategies for preparedness, rapid response, recovery and development.

Mr. President,

The Group would like to underline the fact that developing countries continue to suffer from the adverse impacts of climate change and the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Developing countries are the most vulnerable to climate change, and support for their efforts needs to be stepped up.

In this regard, we call for the full and effective implementation of the commitments under the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, the Mauritius Declaration and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. We reiterate that sea-level rise and other adverse impacts of climate change continue to pose a significant risk to small island developing states and their efforts to achieve sustainable development and, for many, represent the gravest of threats to their survival and viability including for some through the loss of territory.

The Group of 77 and China will continue to pursue the achievement of sustainable development and eradication of poverty, which are our first and overriding priorities, as well as the fulfillment of commitments by developed countries in all relevant bodies.
Mr. President,

We strongly reiterate our expectation that the initiative of the Council to hold this debate does not create a precedent that undermines the authority or mandate of the relevant bodies, processes and instruments that already address these issues in all their complexities.

Thank you, Mr. President.

============================================

Thank you, Distinguished Co-Facilitators.

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

At the outset, may I express the Group’s congratulations on your appointment as Co-Facilitators on this very important item. I would also like to convey our appreciation for the dispatch of your Informal Food for Thought Paper which you intend to guide our reflections on the modalities and substance of the Special Event and, in particular, underlines the urgency of moving to an early decision on the modalities of the Event.

Co-Facilitators,

The Group of 77 notes that the Special Event is not a formal event of the General Assembly but an ad hoc meeting convened on a specific theme, that is, “To follow up on efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).” This process follows on from the request we made as Members States of the United Nations back in 2010 and it is a review of the efforts undertaken to date towards the achievement of the MDGs.

The Group is of the view that the Outcome of this Special Event must feed into an intergovernmental process for the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda. Notwithstanding the link between the review of the MDGs and the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda, the review that this Special Event will undertake must not be subservient to or dependent on other processes under way for the post-2015 agenda.

It is of fundamental importance that the Special Event produces concise and actionable outcomes which will sharpen the focus on achieving the MDGs. This must include means to prioritize funding for MDGs, particularly in line with international agreements on development financing.

Co-Facilitators,

Given the importance, complexity and time-sensitivity of the issues that the Special Event must address, the Group welcomes the holding of this event during the High-level segment of the 68th UN General Assembly. However, the Group is concerned that a one-day meeting may not achieve the kind of concrete results that is needed for this final push on MDGs within the MDG period. The Group would therefore like further consideration of the time allotted for this Special Event.

Co-Facilitators,

These are our initial thoughts. We will revert with more substantial input during the course of our consultations under your able facilitation. The Group assures you of its continued support and constructive engagement in the preparations and conduct of this Special Event.

I thank you Co-Facilitators.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 16th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr, spoke from the Island Republic of Kiribati, the Bikenikora Village, where he went to visit with President Anote Tong of the Republic of Kiribati. and prepared there a tape to be used for the Arria formula non-meeting at the UN Security Council, February 15, 2013. We made some excerpts because it presents interesting angles of what sea-rise could mean to an Island State. This is a potential clear wipe-out. A UN Member State might simply be discontinued because we emit greenhouse gasses.Just think of it.

What happens with the water area where there used to be an inhabited land? Who takes over the non-existent sunken State? What happens to the mineral and oil rights at the bottom of the former territorial waters?

How do you organize the migration of the inhabitants to another country? Do you establish training centers in the country of origin so that the incoming folks fit better into the adopting society? This is what Australia and New Zealand have to consider in their relations to Kiribati.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr has recorded a video message that he says is intended as a call to action at the United Nations. He says that climate change is now a matter of security.

The Foreign Minister says his video message is about approaching the problem of getting world consensus on climate change from a slightly different tack.

Senator Carr recorded his message in the low-lying Pacific nation of Kiribati, and warned that rising sea levels will make the place uninhabitable within 10 to 20 years and force the mass migration of its population.

Bob Carr’s recorded message will be a contribution to a climate debate in the United Nations early next month. He says Kiribati is in the frontline of climate change and president Tong is keen for the world to understand his country’s special message.

The message is to be played at next month’s UN Security Council debate on climate change, as Alexandra Kirk reported for ABC News.

—————————

BOB CARR: My name’s Bob Carr, I’m the Foreign Minister of Australia. I’m here in Kiribati with the president of this small, island country, president Tong. And what I’m looking at here is the living reality of climate change. This is a village; the tide rises and floods it. This did not happen in the past, and it sends a message of what might happen to this nation of 100,000 people over six islands should the temperature continue to warm and the sea levels continue to rise.

Australia’s working with Kiribati on mitigation measures, like planting mangroves to hold back the tides – even so, Kiribati still faces a future determined by climate change.

Well the president spoke about two decades being all they’ve got left if ocean levels continue to rise. We’re sending to the UN Security Council this key notion that climate change is a security issue.

You take Kiribati as an early warning sign. If they have to evacuate because rising levels of salt water have inundated their fresh water and there’s no drinking water on the islands, then they will be an example of environmental migration. They would be environmental refugees.

The UN is concerned with problems of peace and security. That defines its charter, especially that of the Security Council. We’re saying that if, for example, a population is driven from its traditional home by rising sea level, then this creates a problem of peace and security.

And if it can happen with Kiribati, it can happen with other vulnerable low-lying areas in poor developing countries.

If Kiribati ends up being a victim of climate change, presumably the burden will fall on Australia and possibly New Zealand. Is that correct?

I think we have to accept that as a given, hence our very big commitment to English language and technical education.

I was at a training college in Kiribati and I saw Australian teachers provided by AusAid, some of them volunteers, working hard to lift English education and provide training in carpentry and motor mechanics so that if it does arise that the population has to be relocated, they can enter the workforce of countries like New Zealand and Australia, with Australian qualifications.

That’s the key, they’re being educated to Australian qualifications, they’re winning Australian trade certificates.

That means, that presents, not as desperate environmental refugees, but as proud skilled migrants, and that’s a serious strategic commitment on our part.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 16th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

posted on THU 14 FEB 2013 4:47 PM

Arria Formula Meeting on Climate Change – at

Tomorrow morning (15 February) Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant (UK) and Ambassador Masood Khan (Pakistan) will co-chair an Arria formula meeting on the “Security Dimensions of Climate Change”. It seems that the aim of the debate is to have an interactive and frank session on how climate change can negatively impact the maintenance of international peace and security and to highlight the security implications of intensified climate change. The co-chairs are hoping that the discussion will also touch on possible steps that could be taken to move from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to make remarks at the start of the meeting.

This will be followed by presentations from a panel of speakers that includes the Honorable Mr. Tony deBrum, Minister in Assistance to the President of the Marshall Islands;

Professor Hans Schellnhuber, Head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research;

Ms. Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice-President for Sustainable Development;

and Mr. Gyan Acharya, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing states.

Following these presentations, Security Council members, other member states and civil society participants are also expected to make their interventions.

A concept paper was circulated earlier this month to help guide the discussion. It outlines some of the security challenges and highlights key issues that could be taken up during the meeting. For example, it notes that climate change can worsen threats created by poverty and poor management of resources. It also points out that climate change could eventually make citizens residing in low lying small island states “stateless”, thus raising a number of legal issues. Finally, the paper asks if there are ways to enhance cooperation to manage shared water resources more effectively given growing water scarcity, and whether current mechanisms to curtail competition over natural resources can be strengthened.

The Council has held two previous debates on the security implications of climate change. The first was held in April 2007 (S/PV.5663), under the UK presidency, and considered the relationship between energy, security and climate. At the time a number of Council members had reservations about holding the debate on the grounds that it was unclear whether or not climate change could usefully be addressed within the Council’s mandate and there was no attempt to have a formal outcome.

The second debate (S/PV.6587), held in July 2011 under the German presidency, was on the impact of climate change on peace and security. Although negotiations were difficult Council members were able to agree on a presidential statement (S//PRST/2011/15) which highlighted that rising sea-levels may carry security implications for low-lying island states. The presidential statement also requested the Secretary-General to ensure that his reports to the Council on peace and security matters contain contextual information on possible security implications of climate change.

Including climate change on its agenda has been quite a contentious issue for the Council.

There are still some members who are less comfortable with the Council making decisions on an issue that they are not convinced is an explicit threat to peace and security.

An Arria formula meeting perhaps provides an opportunity to pursue this issue in an informal format that allows Council members to hear the views of a diverse and informed group with a stake in the issue. Among the permanent members, France, the UK, and the US have argued that the Council is an appropriate forum to discuss threats to international peace and security related to climate change. In effect, they see the Council’s efforts to address climate change as a part of its conflict prevention efforts.

However, China and Russia have a different position, having argued that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is the appropriate venue within the UN system for deliberations on this issue.

Of the new Council members, Australia and Luxembourg in particular have shown concern about the security threats posed by climate change and believe that it is an issue that the Council should address.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 15th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

BLOOMBERG NEWS is first Large Media Network to report on the Arias method meeting at the UN Security Council, with closed doors to the Press but open door to UN Member States in general, today, Friday, February 15, 2013, which we had on our website for a while, and the previous link we got was from Matthew Lee of the Correspondents for Free Access to UN news.

Also, the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, after his speech at the Council on Foreign Relations this past Monday, and his two days in Washington DC – Wednesday and Thursday, will participate at the UNSC meeting today. We hope that through his presentation the subject will become available to the public at large – that is, if the UN Department of Public Information will deem it important enough to  sponsor it to the Press in general. So far we got this through UN Wire of the UN Foundation.

———–

Climate Change’s Links to Conflict Draws UN Attention.

By Flavia Krause-Jackson – Feb 14, 2013 10:30 PM ET

Imagine India in 2033. It has overtaken China as the most populous nation. Yet with 1.5 billion citizens to feed, it’s been three years since the last monsoon. Without rain, crops die and people starve. The seeds of conflict take root.

Climate Change as Source of Future Conflict Draws UN Attention.

Climate Change as Source of Future Conflict Draws UN Attention

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, climate change is a topic that has moved higher on the list of U.S. domestic issues.  Photographer: Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg

—–

This is one of the scenarios Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, will present today to members of the United Nations Security Council in New York to show the connection between climate change and global security challenges.

Either rich nations will find a way to supply needy nations suffering from damaging climate effects “or you will have all kinds of unrest and revolutions, with the export of angry and hungry people to the industrialized countries,” Schellnhuber said in an interview.

Climate change is a “reality that cannot be washed away,” according to notes prepared for diplomats at today’s session. “There is growing concern that with faster than anticipated acceleration, climate change may spawn consequences which are harsher than expected.”

The Security Council session is evidence of the increased focus on the link between climate change and global security.

Yet, today’s discussions will not be held as a formal meeting of the council because China and Russia, two of the larger emitters of the greenhouse gases that scientists tie to climate change, raised objections, said two UN diplomats who asked not to be named given the sensitivity of the subject. China was the largest gross emitter of carbon dioxide in 2011, followed by the U.S., the European Union, India and Russia, according to the European Commission’s Joint Research Center.

Informal Talks AT THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL – the ARIAS information gathering method:

Instead, the informal, closed-door discussions will be held away from the council chamber and led jointly by the U.K. and Pakistan, where floods have left millions of people homeless in a foreshadowing of the extreme weather scientists say will result from a warming planet.

“Before it was always an issue of the developed world, so the involvement of Pakistan is a very interesting sign,” said Schellnhuber, a climate change scientist who is German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s top adviser on the issue.

Representatives from nations not on the 15-member Security Council are invited to the session, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to participate. In 2011, the council agreed to a statement expressing “concern that the possible adverse effects of climate change may, in the long run, aggravate certain existing threats to international peace and security.”

“It was OK, but it was rather vague,” said Schellnhuber.

Hottest Year

With 2012 the world’s hottest year on record, the implications for both domestic and foreign policy of wildfires in Australia and Russia, floods in Asia and hurricanes in the Americas give today’s discussion an added sense of urgency.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, it’s a topic that has moved higher on the list of U.S. domestic issues. President Barack Obama presented climate change as a priority for his second term during his Feb. 12 State of the Union address.

“Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods — all are now more frequent and intense,” Obama said in his speech. “We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science — and act before it’s too late.”

U.S. intelligence agencies said in a December report that climate change coupled with water shortages will alter global patterns of arable land, while greater demand for energy may curb the amount of raw materials available to make fertilizers.

Critical Resources

Climate change will complicate resource management, particularly in Asia where monsoons are crucial to the growing season, according to the 140-page Global Trends 2030 report, produced by the U.S. intelligence community. It will worsen the outlook for availability of critical resources of food, water and energy, the report said.

Rising global temperatures may provoke conflict between the European Union and Russia as Arctic ice melts, easing access to fossil-fuel deposits in that area and opening new sea routes, Schellnhuber said.

The conflict in the Sudan’s western region of Darfur has generated headlines over the years as the first climate war because drought and the advancing desert stoked tensions.

“Many developing and fragile states — such as in Sub- Saharan Africa — face increasing strains from resource constraints and climate change, pitting different tribal and ethnic groups against one another,” according to the Global Trends report.

Environmental Refugees

The millions of environmental refugees, such as those displaced by natural disasters and rising sea levels due to melting ice, will be one focus of the UN session, as will be the potential for conflicts.

The UN’s decision-making body will discuss the challenges from reduced water availability, a critical issue in the Middle East and Africa, and also explore the implications of glacial melting.

Melting ice caps has led to a push to strengthen the Law of the Sea, an accord granting countries bordering the Arctic rights to economic zones within 200 miles (322 kilometers) of their shores. Russia, for example, has staked a claim to a North Pole seabed worth billions of dollars in oil and natural gas.

“The impacts of climate change, such as sea-level rises, drought, flooding and extreme weather events, can exacerbate underlying tensions and conflict in part of the world already suffering from resource pressures,” according to the U.K.- Pakistan notes.

————–

— With assistance from Alex Morales in London. Editors: Terry Atlas, Michael Shepard

To contact the reporter on this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson in United Nations at fjackson@bloomberg.net

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 14th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Flag of Marshall Islands
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Marshall Islands
Click flag or map to enlarge Opens in New Window
Map of Marshall Islands
Map of Marshall Islands
Map of Pacific


After almost four decades under US administration as the easternmost part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Marshall Islands attained independence in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association. Compensation claims continue as a result of US nuclear testing on some of the atolls between 1947 and 1962. The Marshall Islands hosts the US Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA)
Reagan Missile Test Site, a key installation in the US missile defense network.

constitutional government in free association with the US; the Compact of Free Association entered into force on 21 October 1986 and the Amended Compact entered into force in May 2004

name: Majuro
geographic coordinates: 7 06 N, 171 23 E
time difference: UTC+12 (17 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

33 municipalities; Ailinginae, Ailinglaplap, Ailuk, Arno, Aur, Bikar, Bikini, Bokak, Ebon, Enewetak, Erikub, Jabat, Jaluit, Jemo, Kili, Kwajalein, Lae, Lib, Likiep, Majuro, Maloelap, Mejit, Mili, Namorik, Namu, Rongelap, Rongrik, Toke, Ujae, Ujelang, Utirik, Wotho, Wotje

21 October 1986 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)

blue with two stripes radiating from the lower hoist-side corner – orange (top) and white; a white star with four large rays and 20 small rays appears on the hoist side above the two stripes; blue represents the Pacific Ocean, the orange stripe signifies the Ralik Chain or sunset and courage, while the white stripe signifies the Ratak Chain or sunrise and peace; the star symbolizes the cross of Christianity, each of the 24 rays designates one of the electoral districts in the country and the four larger rays highlight the principal cultural centers of Majuro, Jaluit, Wotje, and Ebeye; the rising diagonal band can also be interpreted as representing the equator, with the star showing the archipelago’s position just to the north

===========================================================================

Columbia Law School Climate Law Blog has posted a new item,’Upcoming Event –
The United Nations Climate Negotiations: Perspectives From a Small Island
Nation’ – our update is after the event and before moving the outcome to the UN Security Council – Friday February 15, 2013.

On Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, the Center for Climate
Change Law will host a discussion with Tony deBrum, Minister in Assistance to
the President of the Marshall Islands and former Foreign Minister, and Dr.
Radley Horton, Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University, focused
on the UN Climate Negotiations from […]

Info: The United Nations Climate Negotiations: Perspectives From a Small Island Nation
Date/Time: February 13, 2013 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm EST
Location: Columbia Law School, Jerome Greene Hall room 101, 435 West 116th Street (at Amsterdam Avenue)


You may view the latest post at
blogs.law.columbia.edu/climatechange/2013/02/10/upcoming-event-the-united-nations-climate-negotiations-perspectives-from-a-small-island-nation/

=======================================================================================

The February 13, 2013 event at the Columbia University School of Law – was in effect a dry-run of what will be presented to the UN Security Council on Friday Februaruy 15, 2013 in an Arias format meeting – that is in an information gathering session – a closed meeting of the UNSC that will dash out the issue of climate change endangering the security of the people of the Marshall Islands in particular and of all small island States of the Pacific. Further the problem of climate change caused flooding of coastal areas, tsunamis, and the probable wiping out of whole populations will be on the UN table.

An Araias is not a negotiation that expects an outcome – it is plain information gathering that can later lead to discussions that come before attempts at decision making.

The Ambassador Representing the Republic of the Marshall Islands at the United Nations, H.E. Ms. Amatlain Elizabeth Kabua, was present at the Columbia University’s Center for Climate Change Law event.

Professor Michael B. Gerrard, head of the Center, has already produced several volumes of study of the problems posed by a budding Climate Change impacts legal system dealing with “Threatened Island Nations” and “The Law of Adaptation to Climate Change – US and International Aspects” – both being titles of appropriate volumes.

At the meeting on Wednesday, Prof. Gerrard introduced the general problem of Climate Change, Judge Jack B. Weinstein, US District Court, Eastern District of New York, introduced  legal aspects,  Professor Radley Horton of the Center for Climate Systems Research at Columbia University, spoke of the scientific aspects, with Tony deBrum of the Marshall Islands President’s office and former Foreign Minister describing the legal situation aspects of the Marshall islands and the impact the US had on those islands, and students and others fielding many questions.

Professor Horton showed a graph of sea level rise 1870-2006 by Church & White from UNEP (2006), and material from the US National Climate Assessment (2013) dealing with “Hawaii and Affiliated Lands.”

My eye caught here indication about VERTICAL LAND MOTIONS which a couple of years ago we attributed to the melting of the ice-cover of Antarctica and a release of pressure on the Antarctic plate that reaches to the “Ring of Fire” of volcanoes and earth-quakes on its border with other tectonic plates. We suggested the movement causes earth-quakes that cause the tsunamis that flood coastlines and islands – thus this whole set of events being Climate Change related. The issue explains thus enhanced flooding that impacts countries like Bangladesh. At the end of the meeting I had a chance to talk about this with Mr. deBrum of the Marshall Islands who will be the main presenter at the Arias meeting at the UN Security Council. We will revisit this later.

The case of the Marshall Islands is particularly bad and the responsibility of the United States is particularly great – this going back to the many nuclear experiments that for a couple of years were detonating powerful bombs in the Bikini and other island locations. The destruction of those islands started already at that time – now it is continued with the attacks of climate change greenhouse gas emissions.

As the Marshall Islands is a State with few inhabitants, the answer to move them somewhere else is not acceptable to the islanders. They prefer compensation and the condtruction of physical barriers. They also have suggestions for Renewable energy production using commercial OTEC technology (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion). The first 20 MW floating OTEC electric generation plant will be completed by 2017.

In my discussion with Mr. deBrum I suggested getting States like Bangladesh and other States of large population involved, as the Security Council has to hear about large number of people being affected in order to move them to action – and the mentioned Tsunami-effect ought to be pushed forward.   I mentioned to him the Washington military-people event when a Brigadier-General from Bangladesh asked – “when 10 million people moving to higher ground because of the floods, get to the Indian border, which way am I supposed to shoot,” that was a moment of truth that an Arias meeting at the UNSC can start worrying about.


###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 24th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

“First, the Secretary-General should appoint a Special Representative on Climate and Security to analyze the projected security impacts of climate change so that the Council and Member States can better understand what lies ahead.

“Second, the Secretary-General should assess the capacity of the United Nations system to respond to the likely security impacts of climate change, so that vulnerable countries can be assured that it is up to the task. These two proposals are the absolute minimum necessary to prepare for the greatest threat to international security of our generation.”

———————————————————————————————————————————————

PACIFIC ISLAND STATES CALL FOR UN MEASURES TO HELP COUNTRIES FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE

The leaders of three Pacific Island countries called on the United Nations today to take a series of measures to help them and other small island nations combat the effects of climate change.

“Climate change threatens to undo all of our recent development gains if the major biggest polluters continue down the path of business as usual,” Nauru’s President Marcus Stephen told the General Assembly annual general debate.

He stressed that it is essential that the international community recognizes climate change as a peace and security issue, not just an environmental one, and called for further measures to ensure the issue was addressed by the Security Council.

“First, the Secretary-General should appoint a Special Representative on Climate and Security to analyze the projected security impacts of climate change so that the Council and Member States can better understand what lies ahead.

“Second, the Secretary-General should assess the capacity of the United Nations system to respond to the likely security impacts of climate change, so that vulnerable countries can be assured that it is up to the task. These two proposals are the absolute minimum necessary to prepare for the greatest threat to international security of our generation.”

Mr. Stephen also urged Member States to honour their commitments made in existing environmental accords such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Cancún Agreements so that further progress can be made on sustainable development goals.

Micronesian President Emanuel Mori echoed Mr. Stephen’s remarks by saying that a special category for Small Island Developing Countries (SIDS) is imperative if the UN is to improve the lives of people who live in these states.

He also remarked that climate change as a security threat is not new, but should be taken even more seriously now by Member States.

“We cannot help but notice the persistent failure and reluctance by some countries to address the security aspect of climate change even in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence.

“We believe that those who opposed the debate in the Council and those who doubted the security implications of climate change simply ignored the obvious,” he said.

President of Kiribati Anote Tong noted that climate change is a threat that his country faces every day and this will be true for other countries in the future.

“In Kiribati, many young people go to sleep each night fearing what will happen to their homes overnight especially during the high tides,” he said.

“Accelerated and continued erosion of our shorelines is destroying settlements and as I speak some communities are relocating elsewhere on the island. I was glad that the Secretary-General was able to understand and feel for himself the sense of threat which our people and those of similarly vulnerable countries experience on a daily basis,” he said, referring to the Secretary-General’s recent visit to Kiribati earlier this month, which marked the first time ever that a Secretary-General visited the country.

* * *

SURINAME URGES SPEEDY CREATION OF UN-BACKED CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION FUND

Suriname has urged the international community to move quickly to create the United Nations-backed climate change adaptation fund to support vulnerable developing countries that risk losing their peoples’ livelihoods to the effects of climate change.

“Our understanding of the climate change suggests that our planet will undergo considerable changes over the next 50 years, impacting all areas of society,” President Desiré Delano Bouterse told the General Assembly.

“For Suriname and its low-lying coastline, this means a vulnerable exposure to a rising sea level, risking inundation of our fertile soil and fresh water reservoirs.” An estimated 80 per cent of the South American country’s population lives in coastal areas.

The climate change adaptation fund was established by the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries.

Mr. Bouterse also stressed that the upcoming Conference of Parties to UNFCCC in Durban, South Africa, must reach concrete agreement on limiting emissions of the harmful greenhouse gases that are blamed for global warming.

“We owe this to our present and future generations. We call upon parties concerned to reach agreement,” he said.

* * *

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 14th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

nbsp;www.iisd.ca/mea-l/guestarticle96….

MEA Bulletin – Guest Article No. 96 – Thursday, 15 July 2010
A Proposal to Change the Political Strategy of Developing Countries in Climate Negotiations
By Romina Picolotti (translated from Spanish)*
Full Article
If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can’t be done.
Peter Ustinov

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Developing countries are definitely looking for different results in global climate negotiations. We want industrialized countries to comply with their obligations to reduce emissions. We want the effective transfer of technology. We want industrialized countries to provide the necessary financing to mitigate and adapt to climate change. And, we want the system we construct to address climate change to be fair and equitable, including the financial mechanism, and not like the present system utilizing the Global Environment Facility (GEF) where donor countries dominate the decision-making process.

We have already invested 16 years in climate negotiations under the UNFCCC process since its entry into force in 1994. The last meeting of negotiators this June in Bonn showed some progress, or at least a bit more realism in defining possible achievements for the next key meeting to be held in Cancun later this year, but negotiators clearly have not overcome their incapacity to offer pragmatic solutions to what has become the most important global problem humanity has ever faced.

Meanwhile, the science of climate change continues to solidify and tell us in no uncertain terms that inaction or late action means unavoidable and likely irreversible problems later. Of course, as always, the world’s most socially and economically vulnerable will also be the primary targets of the most catastrophic impacts of the planet’s changing climate.

In this scenario, developing countries call over and over again for their legitimate claims over the deteriorating climate to be heard, but fail to obtain the necessary responses for these claims in the post-Kyoto rounds of negotiations. What should we do?

At the last meeting of the Montreal Protocol signatories, a representative of the Federated States of Micronesia employed a metaphor that can help us find a way. He likened our climate desperation to a hypothetical neighborhood fire.

It’s as if our house is about to be consumed by flames from a raging fire, and the city’s firemen show up at the door, with no truck, no water, no equipment and begin arguing about which technique would be most suitable to put out the encroaching flames. All of a sudden a group of experienced volunteer firefighters decked out with fire equipment, a water truck, and ready to put out the fire show up behind the others. As a homeowner in desperation over advancing flames, what do you do? The answer is a no-brainer, you ask the guys with the solution to put out the fire!

The metaphor alludes to the Montreal Protocol (MP), hailed as the most successful environmental treaty to date. From 1990 to 2010, MP’s control measures on production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) will have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 135 gigatons of CO2.This is equivalent to 11 gigatons a year, four to five times the reductions targeted in the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Yes, this is amazing!

The Federated States of Micronesia used the metaphor of the house on fire to illustrate the opportunity before us to fully utilize the strength of the MP to combat the Planetary fire that climate change is becoming. Specifically, he referred to the opportunity to regulate the production and consumption of HFCs, which would produce the equivalent CO2 mitigation of more than 100 gigatons.

This proposal, without a doubt, implies a great opportunity for developing countries, not only in terms of the substantive issues involved, but it also fundamentally highlights the political implications underlying the process. If we are looking for different results from climate negotiations, we mustn’t always do the same thing.

Utilizing the maximum potential offered under the MP to mitigate climate change, regulating the production and consumption of HFCs would require that industrialized countries and developing countries both assume “mitigation” obligations. Mitigation obligations in the context of the MP do not mean specific CO2 reduction targets. What it means is that developed and developing countries assume the obligation to regulate the production and consumption of HFCs, which are super greenhouse gases, and by doing so we mitigate global warming. Therefore, to assume this “mitigation” obligation under the MP context should not terrify us. This is precisely the value of utilizing the MP. Our largest challenge as developing countries is not to assume or not assume mitigation obligations, but rather it is to assume them in a context that is fair, and not to assume them in the current context of the UNFCCC. From the perspective of a developing country, assuming mitigation obligations without financing, without the transfer of technology, and without decision-making power is simply suicide.

It would be however, politically wise to assume these obligations in the context of the MP and set a crucial precedent. The MP has demonstrated over its 23-year history that the technology is effectively transferred, and that industrialized countries have complied with their obligations, including financing what is needed so that developing countries can comply with their own obligations to control ODS after a suitable grace period. We, developing countries, have a full voice and equal vote on the decision-making process under the MP financing mechanism known as the Multilateral Fund. Finally, the MP has also demonstrated that it is capable of creating the necessary confidence amongst States to take bold and continuous steps forward in compliance with all of the established deadlines.

Moreover, developing countries have in many cases complied with obligations to reduce production and consumption of ODS before the established deadlines. Everything we are calling for under the UNFCCC process we have already achieved under the MP framework. Advancing with the inclusion of HFCs under the jurisdiction of the MP would substantially strengthen developing countries in a proactive forum as countries that actively contribute to solutions in a fair agreement, and not as countries that can only claim and denounce. Developing countries can demonstrate that with the right institutional structure we are ready to do the job.

The political strategy hence, is to take advantage of the opportunity that is offered by the Federated States of Micronesia’s proposal to advance on pro-climate actions available under the MP, and utilize the MP framework to negotiate from a different vantage point in the UNFCCC process. This “other vantage point” shows what developing countries are able to achieve when industrialized countries comply with their obligations, when transfer of technology takes place, when the decision-making process includes developing country voices in a fair and equitable way, and when financing is made available.

The latest report on the UN Millennium Development Goals recognizes that “the unparalleled success of the Montreal Protocol shows that action on climate change is within our grasp”.

Hopefully, we will wisely take advantage of this invaluable political opportunity that the Federated States of Micronesia and the Montreal Protocol are offering, and we will not succumb to Peter Ustinov’s foreshadowing of the tragic earth-ending expert voice suggesting a solution is beyond our reach.

*Romina Picolotti, formerly the Secretary of Environment of Argentina, heads the Center for Human Rights and Environment. She received EPA’s Climate Protection Award in 2008 for her leadership in securing historic commitment to accelerate the phase-out of HCFCs under the Montreal Protocol.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 14th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation Meets in Samoa.

BY PACIFIC REGIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME.
Honiara, 15 July 2010

Press Release – “Climate Solutions: Invest in Biodiversity” is the theme of the thirteenth gathering of the Pacific Islands Round Table for Nature Conservation that opened in Samoa this morning.

The coalition of nature conservation partners works to improve collaboration and coordination towards effective conservation action in the Pacific region.

Close to 100 participants will discuss effective biodiversity conservation as the key frontline response to climate change.

Opening the meeting at the Development Bank Building in Apia today, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Government of Samoa, Hon. Faumuina Tiatia Liuga asked that participants not only focus on climate change but also recognise the importance of other environment concerns such as biodiversity conservation.

“While climate change is perceived as a hot topic on the international agenda, don’t lose sight of other environment issues in our region. Nature conservation is important and it is linked to our cultures and traditions.”

2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity which underlies the importance of the meeting of the Pacific islands roundtable for nature conservation. Nations around the world are expected to have met key international targets for biodiversity loss as agreed to by Heads of State at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable development to halt biodiversity loss by 2010. The Pacific has adopted the theme “Value Biodiversity – It’s our Life” to celebrate this year.

Mr. Taholo Kami, Chair of the Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation and IUCN Oceania Regional Director, welcomed participants to the regional meeting and urged them to also celebrate good conservation efforts in the region.

“We haven’t come close to reaching the 2010 target to have a declining biodiversity loss and climate change hovers as a threat and challenges us as Pacific islanders with our livelihoods and as conservationists. From this meeting we should have exciting outcomes as we look at the link between biodiversity and conservation and take time to learn from each other in the region. “

Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation partners have been encouraged to sign a charter outlining their commitment to the 2008 to 2010 Action Strategies and Principles adopted at the 8th Pacific Nature Conservation and Protected Areas conference held in Alotau, Papua New Guinea in 2007. 13 key partners have now signed this charter.

This week the 2010 Round Table meeting aims at setting longer term priorities for the next 10 years which will be consolidated to develop as priorities for the next Action Strategy for 2013 to 2017. The role of biodiversity as a climate change solution may be reflected in the coming priorities.

Mr David Sheppard the Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) during his keynote speech on Climate change and Natural solutions outlined that effective biodiversity conservation is the key frontline response to climate change.

“We need to develop more effective links between climate change and biodiversity as well as Pacific solutions to Pacific problems. Nature based solutions to climate change should be given more emphasis.”

The conference ends on Friday with a presentation of meeting outcomes and resolutions. Participants are meeting in the Development Bank of Samoa in Apia and they represent nature conservation and development organisations, governments, inter-government, donor agencies, Pacific governments and community groups with an interest in Nature Conservation.

Source: www.sprep.org/article/news_detail.asp?id=797

 www.solomontimes.com/news.aspx?nw…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 7th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

from: Michael Gerrard <MGerra@law.columbia.edu>
date: Tue, Jul 6, 2010
subject :Call for Papers — Drowning Island Nations: Legal Implications and Remedies.

Many low-lying island states exist at or just a few meters above sea level, and in the coming decades as a result of sea level rise and other factors some of them may face population relocation, loss of water supply and vital infrastructure, disruption of marine resources and agriculture, and other impacts. The Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands has approached Columbia Law School’s Center for Climate Change Law to explore creative approaches to the legal issues facing these nations. Among the legal questions that need to be explored are the implications of the loss of inhabitable physical territory for statehood, for maritime governance, for property, fishing and mineral rights, and for the legal status of displaced persons.  International law, human rights law, environmental law, and admiralty law are just a few of the fields that may be implicated.

We will be hosting a conference to explore these issues at Columbia Law School in the spring of 2011.  We request legal scholars and practitioners who may wish to write papers for the conference to submit abstracts by September 1, 2010.  Details are in the linked Call for Papers.


www.law.columbia.edu/null/download?&exclusive=filemgr.download&file_id=54692


——————————
Michael B. Gerrard
Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice
Director, Center for  Climate Change Law
Columbia Law School
435 West 116th Street
New York, New York 10027
Tel: 212-854-3287
Fax: 212-854-7946
michael.gerrard@law.columbia.edu

www.ColumbiaClimateLaw.com

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 4th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

White House is feeling weight of controversies surrounding oil spill.

Washington DC, Friday, June 4, 2010

At virtually every turn lately, the White House cannot shake the appearance that it is hamstrung and a step behind. From a major crisis such as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to smaller and seemingly avoidable controversies over internal Democratic Party politics, President Obama and his team are on the defensive.

The question many Republicans and even some Democratic allies of the administration are asking is whether the collective weight of all these problems will diminish the president’s ability to get his agenda through Congress, or further weaken his party before the November midterm elections.

That all this has happened to a White House staffed by the team that so successfully navigated the 2008 presidential campaign is a source of surprise and consternation for Democrats. The missteps have also become easy ammunition for Republicans seeking to capitalize on what may be self-inflicted wounds.

Defenders of the administration argue that there was nothing the White House could have done early on to stop the oil that has been gushing from the well in the gulf.

————

Then Comes the information: “President Obama has once again postponed his trip to Indonesia and Australia, telephoning the leaders of the two countries late Thursday night,” the White House said.

It is the second time the trip has been canceled. It was originally planned for March but was put off because the president wanted to be in Washington for a critical health-care vote in Congress.

Now, the president needs to stay in Washington to oversee the worsening environmental crisis from the oil spill off the Gulf Coast, making a seven-day venture oversees impractical and politically problematic.

Obama had been scheduled to leave June 13 and stay abroad for a week, spending time in Indonesia, Guam and Australia. There was no indication in the statement about when he might try again.

“President Obama spoke tonight with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia, and with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia,” press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement sent out just before midnight. “President Obama expressed his deep regret that he has to postpone his trip to Asia that was scheduled for later this month. The President looked forward to rescheduling so that he can visit both countries soon.”

The statement continued: “President Obama underscored his commitment to our close alliance with Australia and our deepening partnership with Indonesia. He plans to hold full bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Rudd and President Yudhoyono on the margins of the G-20 meeting in Canada” in late June.

————-

But we think that not going on that trip these days is a major mistake. We believe that there is a tremendous opportunity that the President is missing and we wrote about it in our posting:  www.sustainabilitank.info/categor…

An oil drilling accident offshore Brunei in 1979 caused a mud volcano which took nearly 30 years and 20 relief wells to stop. The Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia, PT Lapindo Bratas gas exploration resulted in an on land mud volcano, May 29, 2006, when it wiped out four villages. It is still an ongoing disaster. Louisiana and Washington DC beware: The real model against which the BP Deepwater blowout should be compared are THE MUD VOLCANOES and the time frame is very serious. Why not establish a School for Government and Industry LEARNING responsibility in Sidoajo, Indonesia, an area suggested for TOURISM by President Yudhoyono ?

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 26th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz ( PJ at SustainabiliTank.com)

President Obama could have made it his point to visit the Sidoajo MUD VOLCANO and explain the perils of drilling for oil.

In Sidoajo, on ground, not under 5,000 feet of water, there is to be seen a still active blow-out of gas that has wiped out four villages. He could have spoken from there to the people of the United States and explain the perils of geoengineering in search of oil. Indonesia would have cooperated – President Yudhoyono wants to turn the place as a site for educational eco-tourism.

There are also other reasons for the originally planned trip. There are important questions about the US leadership in international institutions like the UN and on climate at the UNFCCC. There is an aspiring UN Secretary-General in Australia – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd – and much interest in Climate in both countries. There is also interest in Guam at a time the US might have to reconsider its military installations in the region, but the opportunity to address the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, while standing next to that Mud Volcano, was like heaven sent in order to extricate himself from the Washington Furies.

—————–

The following shows how mindless Republican legislators can be – at this stage, without exhonorating Obama from having failed to clean up Washington from the Republican remnants in the bureaucracy, we are clearly pointing fingers at that anti-Americanism Republican style.

see from the following:

“For the past several weeks, much of the debate in the capital has centered on whether the President and his team reacted quickly enough to the threat of the oil gushing from the bottom of the ocean floor.”

And what are they saying? Had the alarm bells sounded earlier, could anyone have done anything?

Is it not true that years of submission to oil industry dictates over Washington have rendered the country helpless? Is there anything short of “Drill Baby Drill!” that propels the Republican onslaught on Obama these days? The idea is to be allowed to drill in shallow water and on land in order to avoid similar spills in the future – this is nothing short of holding the revolver at whatever heads there are still in existence in that town.

West Wing briefing

Congressional Republicans seize on oil spill crisis to attack Obama

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 4, 2010; 9:26 AM

As President Obama heads to the Gulf Friday for his third oil-spill visit, his most ardent critics back in Washington will be stirring up trouble.

From their perch in Congress, members of the opposing party have seized on the oil spill crisis as a way to hammer Obama politically, moving aggressively to question the president’s response to the environmental disaster.

The most recent salvo came late Thursday night, as Rep. Darrell Issa of California provided copies of Coast Guard logs to the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit organization dedicated to investigative journalism. The center used the information in the logs — and a damning quote from Issa — to post a story on its Web site: “Coast Guard Logs Show Feds Understood Oil Spill Threat Within Hours of Explosion.”

The story suggests that the Coast Guard had reason to believe the environmental damage could be massive almost from the start.

(Photos of the Gulf oil spill’s animal victims)

“Potential environmental threat is 700,000 gallons of diesel on board the Deepwater Horizon and estimated potential of 8,000 barrels per day of crude oil, if the well were to completely blowout,” the center quotes one of the logs from the Coast Guard as saying on April 21, less than a day after the accident.

The center notes the difference between the logs and the official White House timeline, which provided far less of a sense of the looming environmental threat until several days later.

Why is that important?

Crises often prompt investigations and recriminations in Washington. And once-secret documents are typically the thing that drives the conversation along, providing members of one party the ammunition to criticize the other.

For the past several weeks, much of the debate in the capital has centered on whether the president and his team reacted quickly enough to the threat of the oil gushing from the bottom of the ocean floor.

White House officials have consistently said the president made the accident his No. 1 priority, and the center quoted a spokesman as telling the New York Times Thursday night that the official White House timeline had a disclaimer at the bottom that it did not reflect everything that was being done.

Republicans seemed poised to leap on the logs as evidence that the White House moved too slowly, at least at the beginning. Issa told the center that “Americans have a right to be outraged by this spill, by top government officials caught off-guard, and by the facts the White House omitted in explaining what it knew and when it knew it.”

But Issa is regarded in Washington as an automatic anti-Obama quote, and the fact that the documents come from him could undermine their impact.

And the other news out of the Gulf appeared to be getting better, not worse, as engineers successfully cut off a piece of the broken equipment and were preparing to try and cap the oil leak so that the crude could be sucked up to the surface.

If those efforts succeed — and there have been a lot of failures so far — the president will likely benefit from the positive developments.

On the other hand, the cleanup of the Gulf is going to take a long time, perhaps years, as White House press secretary Robert Gibbs suggested Thursday. That means there will be plenty of time for questions about who knew what, when.

Expect the Republicans to continue to ask them.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 7th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From Nanette Woonton, Kya Orana from the Pacific:

ISLAND STATES OUTRAGED AT ATTEMPTS TO UNDERMINE COPENHAGEN OUTCOME.

6 November, Barcelona – The 43-member Alliance of Small Island States
(AOSIS) today expressed outrage at attempts this week to steamroll the
worlds most vulnerable countries into accepting a watered down political
agreement at the Copenhagen Climate Summit this December, rather than
internationally legally binding outcomes.

Brushing aside suggestions at this weeks climate talks in Barcelona that
it would be impractical or unrealistic to agree this year on legally
binding instruments for post-2012, AOSIS demanded the immediate
engagement of world leaders to break the deadlock in negotiations, and
urged heads of state and government to come to Copenhagen ready to sign
onto robust and legally binding commitments.

Ambassador Dessima Williams, Permanent Representative of Grenada to the
United Nations and current AOSIS Chair, said Many states put forward
their proposed treaty texts nearly six months ago. There are no
practical obstacles whatsoever. All thats lacking now is the political
will to finish the job. Weak political declarations are not the
solution. Leaders must come to Copenhagen ready to sign on to new
targets under the Kyoto Protocol, and a new broader treaty to bind all
countries.

It is widely accepted that only legally binding commitments are
sufficient to seal the deal on deep emission cuts and the finance
commitments necessary to protect those already suffering the early
impacts. For most states, legally binding outcomes are a prerequisite
for a new multilateral deal on climate change.

AOSIS applauded UK Prime Minister Gordon Browns recent promise to attend
the climate talks in Copenhagen, and today welcomed similar calls to
world leaders from Brazilian President Lula da Silva and German
Chancellor Angela Merkel late yesterday. Confirming her own Prime
Ministers attendance in Copenhagen, Ambassador Williams said With just
four weeks to go before Copenhagen, it is high time to set aside narrow
national interests and focus on saving the planet from the
fast-approaching climate catastrophe.

Small island nations, joined by the Group of Least Developed Countries
and other vulnerable nations more than 80 in total continue to call for
global warming to be limited to well below 1.5C above pre-industrial
temperatures.

Large polluters have indicated a preference for a 2C limit, but recent
science indicates that the higher limit would threaten the existence of
a number of low-lying island states, and cause suffering, loss of life
and irreparable damage to the worlds coral reefs.

Contact

Dr Albert Binger
Permanent Mission of Grenada to the United Nations
Email:yengar@hotmail.com <mailto:yengar@hotmail.com>

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 14th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

India’s humble rickshaw goes solar.
by Elizabeth Roche Mon Oct 13, 2008.   NEW DELHI (AFP) – It’s been touted as a solution to urban India’s traffic woes, chronic pollution and fossil fuel dependence, as well as an escape from backbreaking human toil. A state-of-the-art, solar powered version of the humble cycle-rickshaw promises to deliver on all this and more.

The “soleckshaw,” unveiled this month in New Delhi, is a motorised cycle rickshaw that can be pedalled normally or run on a 36-volt solar battery.

Developed by the state-run Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), prototypes are receiving a baptism of fire by being road-tested in Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk area.

One of the city’s oldest and busiest markets, dating back to the Moghul era, Chandni Chowk comprises a byzantine maze of narrow, winding streets, choked with buses, cars, scooters, cyclists and brave pedestrians.

“The most important achievement will be improving the lot of rickshaw drivers,” said Pradip Kumar Sarmah, head of the non-profit Centre for Rural Development.

“It will dignify the job and reduce the labour of pedalling. From rickshaw pullers, they will become rickshaw drivers,” Sarmah said.

India has an estimated eight million cycle-rickshaws.

The makeover includes FM radios and powerpoints for charging mobile phones during rides.

Gone are the flimsy metal and wooden frames that give the regular Delhi rickshaws a tacky, sometimes dubious look.

The “soleckshaw,” which has a top speed of 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) per hour, has a sturdier frame and sprung, foam seats for up to three people.

The fully-charged solar battery will power the rickshaw for 50 to 70 kilometres (30 to 42 miles). Used batteries can be deposited at a centralised solar-powered charging station and replaced for a nominal fee.

If the tests go well, the “soleckshaw” will be a key transport link between sporting venues at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

“Rickshaws were always environment friendly. Now this gives a totally new image that would be more acceptable to the middle-classes,” said Anumita Roychoudhary of the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment.

“Rickshaws have to be seen as a part of the solution for modern traffic woes and pollution. They have never been the problem. The problem is the proliferation of automobiles using fossil fuels,” she said.

Initial public reaction to the “soleckshaw” has been generally favourable, and the rickshaw pullers have few doubts about its benefits.

“Pedalling the rickshaw was very difficult for me,” said Bappa Chatterjee, 25, who migrated to the capital from West Bengal and is one of the 500,000 pullers in Delhi.

“I used to suffer chest pains and shortage of breath going up inclines. This is so much easier.

“Earlier, when people hailed us it was like, ‘Hey you rickshaw puller!’ Police used to harass us, slapping fines even abusing us for what they called wrong parking. Now people look at me with respect,” Chatterjee said.

Mohammed Matin Ansari, another migrant from eastern Bihar state, said the new model offered parity with car, bus and scooter drivers.

“Now we are as good as them,” he said.

Indian authorities have big dreams for the “soleckshaw.”

India’s Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal who hailed the invention for its “zero carbon foot print” said it should be used beyond the confines of Delhi.

“Soleckshaws would be ideal for small families visiting the Taj Mahal,” he told AFP.

At present battery-operated buses ferry people to the iconic monument in Agra — but their limited numbers cannot cope with the heavy tourist rush.

CSIR director Sinha said he hoped an advanced version of the “soleckshaw” with a car-like body would become a viable alternative to the “small car” favoured by Indian middle class families.

“Greenhouse gas emissions are showing an increasing trend year on year and 60 percent of this comes from the global transport sector.

“In the age of global warming, the soleckshaw, with improvements, can be successfully developed as competition for all the petrol and diesel run small cars,” Sinha said.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 16th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

WIP on our website means WORK (WRITING) IN PROGRESS – or simply unfinished article. When finished the WIP will be taken off but the article will stay in place without the UPDATED designation. Nevertheless, theses introductory lines will remain as a reminder that the article had a long birth.

***

The meeting, August 15, 2008 was chaired by the Ambassador For Palau. Present were also the Ambassadors from Nauru and from Fiji. Many other Missions were represented – some of these missions have representatives on the working committee. Involved are also some of the active NGOs.

At present the sponsors of a resolution to be brought before the UN General Assembly are 11 from among the 14 Pacific Small Island Developing States – Fiji, Marshall Islands, The Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu; the Maldives and Seychelles from non-Pacific SIDS; Canada, the Philippines from among larger States. But these 15 States will pick up many more co-sponsors. Mentioned were Turkey, the EU, Austria and Iceland that have expressed their eagerness to join. There is no opposition we were told – but only some hesitation because it is seen as a new approach to the problem of the humanitarian impact of climate change that goes on already – this while in major UN institutions the debate has not led yet to action. The inhabitants of the small islands of the Pacific are the first to lose their habitat – and what we see is the eradication of UN Member States by this predictable catastrophe.

On our website we announced this encounter between the proponents of the resolution and the NGOs:

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 15th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)We also pointed out the topically relevant event at the Lincoln Center’s “Mostly Mozart Festival” when Lemi Ponifasio’s REQUIEM had its two evenings before a New York audience.The history of this special effort by the Pacific SIDS started on February 15, 2008, in a speech by Ambassador Stuart Beck of Palau, before the UN General Assembly:www.palauun.org/news_archive.cfm?news_id=189Palau Calls for Security Council Action to Protect Island Nations From Sea-Level Rise.

NEW YORK, NY,  www.islandsfirst.org February 15, 2008 — Addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations at the High Level Debate on Climate Change, H.E. Stuart Beck, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Palau, citing the “life or death” nature of sea-level rise for the world’s island nations, urged the Security Council to utilize its powers under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to address this threat to member states by imposing mandatory greenhouse gas emission standards on all member states, and utilizing the power to sanction, if necessary, to encourage compliance with such standards.

He said:
“The waters continue to rise in Palau, and everywhere else…Though this litany of disasters has become well known in these halls, no action with remedial consequences has been taken…We take this opportunity to respectfully call upon the Security Council to react to the threat which we describe. Would any nation facing an invading army not do the same?”

States reacted swiftly to the statement. This week, Ambassadors are meeting in New York to draft a General Assembly Resolution requesting Security Council intervention to prevent an aggravation of the climate change situation caused by greenhouse gas emissions by states. Pacific Island states will be in the forefront of the effort, since they are both the most vulnerable states, and amongst the least responsible for the problem.

Last year, the Security Council debated the security implications of climate change. Its then President, Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett of the United Kingdom, affirmed that climate change is a threat to “our collective security in a fragile and increasingly interdependent world”. Chapter VII of the UN Charter conveys to the Security Council the necessary tools to address the problem, as it has done so in recent years in connection with terrorism and HIV/AIDS. No other international body has the power to mandate change in an effort to save the threatened island cultures of the world.

The full text of Ambassador Beck’s remarks at the UN Climate Change debate is as follows:

“Mr. President, esteemed colleagues, friends:

The waters continue to rise in Palau, and everywhere else. Salinization of fresh water and formerly productive lands continues apace. The reefs, the foundation of our food chain, experience periodic bleaching and death. Throughout the Pacific, sea level rise has not only generated plans for the relocation of populations, but such relocations are actually in progress. Though this litany of disasters has become well known in these halls, no action with remedial consequences has been taken. Larger countries can build dikes, and move to higher ground. This is not feasible for the small island states who must simply stand by and watch their cultures vanish.

Is the United Nations simply powerless to act in the face of this threat to the very existence of many of its member states? We suggest that it is not.

Last April, under the Presidency of the United Kingdom, the Security Council took up the issue of climate change. At that time, while there were some expressions of discomfort with the venue of the debate, a discomfort which we decidedly did not share, there was general agreement with the notion expressed by the President of the Security Council, UK Foreign Minister Margaret Beckett that climate change is a threat to “our collective security in a fragile and increasingly interdependent world”.

Islands are not the only countries whose existence is threatened. Ambassador Kaire Mbuende of Namibia characterized climate change as a ” a matter of life or death” for his country, observing that ” the developing countries in particular, have been subjected to what could be described as low-intensity biological or chemical warfare. Greenhouse gases are slowly destroying plants, animals and human beings.”

Speaking on behalf of the Pacific Island Forum at last years Security Council debate Ambassador Robert Aisi, of Papua New Guinea observed that climate change is no less a threat to small island states than the dangers of guns and bombs to larger countries. Pacific Island countries are likely to face massive dislocations of people, similar to flows sparked by conflict, and such circumstances will generate as much resentment, hatred and alienation as any refugee crisis.

Ambassador Aisi observed then, and we reiterate now, that it is the Security Council which is charged with protecting human rights and the integrity and security of States. The Security Council is empowered to make decisions on behalf of all States to take action on threats to international peace and security. While we applaud the efforts of the President of the General Assembly and the Secretary General to shine a light on this awful problem, we take this opportunity to respectfully call upon the Security Council to react to the threat which we describe. Would any nation facing an invading army not do the same?

Under Article 39 of the Charter, the Security Council “shall determine the existence of any threat to peace…and shall make recommendations…to maintain or restore international peace or security”. We call upon the Security Council to do this in the context of climate change.

Under Articles 40 and 41 of the Charter, it is the obligation of the Security Council to “prevent an aggravation of the situation” and to devise appropriate measures to be carried out by all States to do this. While we Small Island states do not have all the answers, we are not unmindful of the scientific certainty that excessive greenhouse gas emissions by states are the cause of this threat to international security and the existence of our countries. We therefore suggest that the Security Council should consider the imposition of mandatory emission caps on all states and use its power to sanction in order to encourage compliance.

We further propose that under Article 11 of the Charter, the General Assembly is empowered to call to the attention of the Security Council “situations which are likely to endanger international peace and security” and, at the appropriate time, we will call upon this body to do so. In the event that the General Assembly chooses not to avail itself of this right, then we will call upon the countries whose very existence is threatened to utilize Article 34 of the Charter, which empowers each Member State to bring to the attention of the Security Council any issue which “might lead to international friction”.
I think we can all agree that international friction is a mild term to describe the terrible plight in which the island nations now find themselves.

Our Charter provides a way forward. Our Security Council has the wisdom and the tools to address this situation. And while we debate, the waters are rising.

Thank you.”

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 12th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The “Mostly Mozart” New York City Lincoln Center Summer Festival has become a New York City annual staple. For years it is also connected to the name of the theater director Peter Sellars who would bring in, or create, some special event as part of this festival. Years ago he did this sort of work in Purchase, Westchester County, New York, just outside the city where he staged new insights into Mozart Operas – but since moved these activities to the main location of the city. Jane Moss is the Artistic Director, and to her credit that she pulled in Peter Sellars who here, as in other locations in the world, including Vienna, Austria, has become an acknowledged ferment for creativity. These activities may have only remote connection to Mozart – but he somehow manages to find some link to the culture underneath Mozart’s art. But please, do not look for Mozart’s music in some of these events.

In any case – please remember that this REQUIEM was created by invitation of the 2006 Vienna Celebration of the 250th year Anniversary of Mozart’s Birth and the director for these events was Peter Sellars.

***

This Year, in the summer of 2008, July 29 – August 23, 2008 – “Mostly Mozart came up with two such events. Both, as the vast majority of the Festival’s events are imports:

(a) REQUIEM, an event created in Vienna, that was now seen in New York for two evenings only, Friday August 8th and Saturday August 9th, and a discussion between Peter Sellars and Lemi Ponifasio, the creator, choreographer, and designer of the event on the opening night’s afternoon.

(b) LA PASSION DE SIMONE, that was actually directed by Peter Sellars, and can be attended Wednesday August 13th, Friday August 15th, and Sunday August 17th, with two discussions open to the public on August 13th – a pre-concert discussion with Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, and August 15th – a post-concert discussion with all those involved in the production. This event is about the personal voyage of Simone Weil with text by the Paris-based Lebanese writer Armin Maalouf. We are happy to be able to note this show here as we hope to create some interest among our readers to go to see this show. We are sorry that we were not able to bring pre-event information in the case of REQUIEM.

Before moving on to REQUIEM I would like to mention that when I looked up on the internet the term “Simone Weil” I found to my astonishment, that the best material is in German, French or Spanish – nothing very enlightening in English. so I decided to post the short biography that on the english Wikipedia is posted in German –

“Simone Weil wuchs in einer großbürgerlichen jüdischen Familie in Paris auf, ihr Bruder André wurde ein berühmter Mathematiker. Am Lycée war sie Schülerin von Alain. Sie studierte an der École Normale Supérieure Philosophie und wurde danach (1931) Mittelschullehrerin in der französischen Provinz.

In diesen Jahren – sie arbeitete eine Zeit lang als Fabrikarbeiterin bei Renault – und bis zu ihrem kurzen Einsatz im Spanischen Bürgerkrieg (wo sie auf der Seite der Anarcho-Syndikalisten in der “Kolonne Durruti” kämpfte) war sie politisch aktiv. Ab 1936 traten für sie religiöse Fragen in den Vordergrund, wobei sie zuvor Atheistin war. Sie näherte sich dem Katholizismus an und ließ sich möglicherweise sogar kurz vor ihrem Tod taufen, nicht offiziell von einem Priester, aber – gültig – von einer Freundin. Von der Taufe im Londoner Krankenzimmer vor der Abreise nach Ashford berichtet zwar 1989 Georges Hourdin in seiner Biographie (Simone Weil) und teilt einen Briefwechsel mit Pater Perrin und Simone Deitz mit, in den Aufzeichnungen Simone Weils, die sie bis kurz vor ihrem Tod weitergeführt hat, findet sich allerdings kein Hinweis. Zeit ihres Lebens litt sie an schwersten, oft unerträglichen Kopfschmerzen.

Wegen der deutschen Besetzung Frankreichs floh sie zunächst nach Marseille, 1942 in die USA und anschließend nach England, wo sie Mitglied des Befreiungskomitees Charles de Gaulles wurde. Sie starb an Magersucht, wobei nicht sicher war, ob sie durch die starken Kopfschmerzen magersüchtig wurde.”

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First, let me introduce the background material that was handed out at the August 8th discussion:

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Lemi Ponifasio (photo Pincas Jawetz)

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Peter Sellars (photo Pincas Jawetz)

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The August 8, 2008 Lincoln Center discussion (photo Pincas Jawetz)

To show what a large scope this REQUIEM has, as I understood it, I would like to mention that the positions taken by its author when explaining what we will be going to see in his answers to Peter Sellars – in above discussion, served me also in my reporting that day on the opening of the Olympics: www.sustainabilitank.info/category/china#6593 In that article I already tackled the essence of the discussion under:

The “Super 8 Friday” – 88888 – Resulted, According to Front Page New York Times The Following Day, In Super-Power News Characteristic to Our Times: In The Old World East Of The Atlantic Russia Moved Further Troops Into Georgia, While West Of The Atlantic Another Top US Politician Revealed That He Cheated On His Wife – In The World of The Future – China Gave A “Dazzling” Coming-Out Party.

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 9th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz ( PJ at SustainabiliTank.com)

I will add here that like in all art, the real creation in art is in the eye and mind of the viewer. What we see is merely the raw material that creates the vision, feelings , and understanding in our minds. As such – different people will say they saw, or interpreted what they saw, in very different ways. As such, even though Lemi Ponnifasio laid out before us various aspects of what we will watch in his ceremonial approach to life (mind you – he made it clear that the Pacific islanders are not actors and this is not a show) different people will still see in it different things.

In my previous comments in the “China” article I mentioned the standing poles that are there as the center-pieces of a house/home without walls – my friend saw in it at a later stage the symbol of smoke stacks that come with electricity-generation turbines that pollute the air, that creates the loss of the life on these islands, that is therefore the loss of the culture, and it becomes thus the Requiem to a Requiem where the second Requiem in this statement is actually the remembrance of the culture that is gone, so that the Mozartean Requiem is the resurgence of the memory of life.

I saw above in the discussion, but my friend added to it the smoke-stack symbolism that her “American” mind added to his “Samoan” interpretation. Both these things do not appear in other reviews I picked up from the press desk the following day – then again, this does not bother me at all – some of the viewers did still see this as art despite the fact that Lemi Ponifasio is imploring us to accept that this is a ceremonial of life and death – the death of not just individuals – but of whole cultures. Individuals in that culture do not die. They continue to be with us because those cultures transcend the physicality of death. Yes, in China the dead’ ashes may sit in an urn – right there on the mantle-piece, but the islanders have no mantle-piece and do not need the ashes as symbol that the passed-on did not pass away. He is just not seen by the naked eye but is felt – this how the people of Kiribas (Kiribati) feel their old islands even when they live now in New Zealand – the host country that agreed, in gallantry to accept in their midst the climate change/global warming refugees from the sinking islands of the Pacific.

How right are those at the UN who look at the climate change/global warming induced destruction, starting first with the Pacific islands and extending then to the low-lands of countries like Bangladesh, and continuing to cities like New Orleans and Miami Beach, as threats to World Security and Peace. Global Warming refugees will not be accepted easily like in this case where New Zealand stepped in to help.

New Zealand is Aotearoa – the Europeans that came to live in new Zealand found there the Maori who are Pacific Islanders and made a pact with them to live in peace. The New Zealanders of European descent, who since became the large majority in the two main islands of New Zealand, do not mind now to see this immigration of Maori-alike people and the enhancement of this aspect of the islands culture. After all – this is an enrichment that eventually will benefit all – even those that will still try to cling to the memories of the “old country.” People like Ponifasio understand that there is a need to compromise, after all, he takes his ceremonial before paying audiences that regard it as theatre. He will try to educate them by explaining that there is a quantum-jump difference here. But he will compromise nevertheless so his 24 members of his MAU get a way of making a living – even though they will also enhance visions of people ready to see beyond what their eyes trick them to see.

www.SustainabiliTank.info saw in the various slow actions on the stage, birds, fishes, people that have a loss of habitat. Starting with the chest self-pounding of the Maori heroes, we move to see the moaning climate-victims. We watch to the end how the mats on the floor are neatly folded away as the floor of the ground is going under-water. The reality of space is still there – the two pillars that define the space do not tumble down – but simply are renegotiated and the people leave.

This was a fascinating 90 minutes I spent watching that stage and old memories came back to my mind. These were memories of the end of the sixties and seventies when the new off-off Broadway was born. I saw there the staging of Robert Wilson on the life and times of personalities – the likes of Stalin or Sigmund Freud at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). The very slow dragging action leading to tremendous impacts left behind. I remembered Richard Schechner’s lectures at NYU, and his involvement with the La Mama theater – his talks about Shamanism as the birth of theater. I saw later some of what he was talking about in places like New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, South Africa. I felt like seeing now some of these real things – right here in New York – and low and behold – it was about effects of global warming – I hope I was able to convey some of it in this posting.

One comment about Richard Schechner that I must add here – this because I learned this fact only after posting the China Olympics piece: “In March 2005, the Richard Schechner Center for Performance Studies was inaugurated as part of the Shanghai Theatre Academy, where Schechner is an Honorary Professor. With The Performance Group, Schechner directed many productions including “Dionysus in 69″ based on Euripides’ The Bacchae (1968 production)”

The second half of this relates obviously to the “Bacchae” which was the first piece of the Lincoln Center Summer festival 2008 that we posted on www.SustainabiliTank.info. I hope that someone from our theatre-art intelligentsia could do a comparison between that 1968 production and the 2008 production. Then it was about the shamanic aspect in the Bacchae celebration – now we end up seeing a late women-liberation and self-destruction aspect. To put it nicely – Schechner had then his feet more solidly on the ground and the years since did not serve us well.

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