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The Marshall Islands:

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 1st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)


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 March 1st, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)


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.info)

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.info)

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.info)


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.info)

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.info)

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

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 14th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

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 July 7th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

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 August 16th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

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.”

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