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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 11th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) says it has a membership of 57 States on four continents with a total population of 1.3 billion people. Having seen its map we realize it has also at least three “blocked States” – India, Thailand, and The Philippines  though it has the Moro National Liberation Front as an observer State, a withdrawn State – Zimbabwe, and at least one non-State – Israel that was replaced by Palestine as a member State. Cote d’Ivoire was the last member to enter – it joined in 2001. Russia became an Observer in 2005.

Afghanistan was suspended during the years of Soviet occupation 1980 – March 1989 and Egypt, the fifth largest Islamic population, was suspended May 1979 – March 1984 when it tried for peace in the Middle East.

The organisation attempts to be the collective voice of the Muslim world (Ummah) and the official languages of the organisation are ArabicEnglish, and French.

The flag of the OIC has an overall green background (symbolic of Islam). In the centre, there is an upward-facing red crescent enveloped in a white disc. On the disc the words “Allahu Akbar” (Arabic for “The Almighty God”) are written in Arabic calligraphy.

 

The OIC attracted attention at the opening session of the meeting in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on 16 October 2003, where Prime MinisterMahathir Mohamad of Malaysia in his speech argued that the Jews control the world: “They invented socialismcommunismhuman rights, and democracy, so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so that they can enjoy equal rights with others. With these they have gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power.” He also said that “the Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million, but today the Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.” The speech was very well received by the delegates, including many high ranking politicians, who responded with standing ovations.”

India, a country that has 161 million Muslim, only Indonesia with 203 million and Pakistan with 174 million have larger Muslim populations then India, was not welcome even as an observer to OIC – this because of its conflict with Pakistan where India would like to have a referendum of the local population as a means to decide the future of Kashmir.

Most OIC member countries are non-democratic. There are no OIC countries which are rated as a “Full Democracy” under the Democracy Index guidelines, and only 3 of the 57 members are rated as high as a “Flawed Democracy.” The rest are rated either an “Authoritarian Regime” or a “Hybrid Regime.”

Only 3 OIC member states were rated as Free in the Freedom in the World report in 2010 based on Political Rights and Civil Liberties in the member countries.

Reporters Without Borders in its 2011 Press Freedom Index rated only Mali and Suriname among the OIC members as having a Satisfactory Situation. All other members had worse ratings ranging from Noticeable Problems to Very Serious Situation.

Freedom of religion is severely restricted in most OIC member states. In 2009, the US Department of State cited OIC members Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan as being Countries of Particular Concern, where religious freedom is severely violated.

On August 5, 1990, 45 foreign ministers of the OIC adopted the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam to serve as a guidance for the member states in the matters of human rights in as much as they are compatible with the Sharia, or Quranic Law  www1.umn.edu/humanrts/instree/cai… )

OIC created the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam. While proponents claim it is not an alternative to the UDHR, but rather complementary, Article 24 states, “All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Shari’ah.” and Article 25 follows that with “The Islamic Shari’ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration.” Attempts to have it adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council have met increasing criticism, because of its contradiction of the UDHR, including from liberal Muslim groups.  Critics of the CDHR state bluntly that it is “manipulation and hypocrisy,” “designed to dilute, if not altogether eliminate, civil and political rights protected by international law” and attempts to “circumvent these principles [of freedom and equality].”

Human Rights Watch says that OIC has “fought doggedly” and successfully within the United Nations Human Rights Council to shield states from criticism, except when it comes to criticism of Israel. For example, when independent experts reported violations of human rights in the 2006 Lebanon War, “state after state from the OIC took the floor to denounce the experts for daring to look beyond Israeli violations to discuss Hezbollah’s as well.” OIC demands that the council “should work cooperatively with abusive governments rather than condemn them.” HRW responds that this works only with those who are willing to cooperate; others exploit the passivity.

The OIC has been criticised for diverting its activities solely on Muslim minorities within majority non-Muslim countries but putting a taboo on the plight, the treatment of ethnic minorities within Muslim-majority countries, such as the oppression of the Kurds in Syria, the Ahwaz inIran, the Hazars in Afghanistan, the Baluchis in Pakistan, the ‘Al-Akhdam‘ in Yemen, or the Berbers in Algeria.

The formation of the OIC happened shortly after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Leaders of Muslim nations met in Rabat to establish the OIC on September 25, 1969.

OIC is run out of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, its first Secretary General was Tunku Abdul Ramman of Malaysia (1971-1973) and its current Secretary General, since 2005, is Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu of Turkey.

 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organisatio…

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Muslim_population

We found the following map of substantial interest for understanding if there is a realistic chance for change in the Arab world and in the Islamic world at large.

Much of the attention of observers of UN debates on terrorism was on how Contradictions between OIC’s and other U.N. member’s understanding of terrorism has stymied efforts at the U.N. to produce a comprehensive convention on international terrorism. The world must be reassured that new leaderships of Islamic States will not equivocate on terrorism – whatever true sentiments they may harbor – it is important to agree that terrorism is not an acceptable tool for attainment of political goals.

 upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/64/OIC_map.png

The list of OIC Member States: Afghanistan · Albania · Algeria · Azerbaijan · Bahrain · Bangladesh · Benin · Burkina Faso · Brunei ·

 Cameroon · Chad · Comoros · Côted’ Ivoire · Djibouti · Egypt · Gabon · Gambia · Guinea · 
Guinea Bissau · Guyana · Indonesia · Iran · Iraq ·
 Jordan · Kuwait ·Kazakhstan · Kyrgyzstan · Lebanon · Libya · 

Maldives · Malaysia · Mali · Mauritania · Morocco · Mozambique · Niger · Nigeria ·Oman · Pakistan · 

Palestine · Qatar · Saudi Arabia · Senegal · SierraLeone ·

 Somalia · Sudan · Suriname · Syria · Tajikistan ·Turkey · Tunisia · Togo · Turkmenistan · Uganda · 

Uzbekistan · United Arab Emirates · Yemen

The Observers are: Bosnia and Herzegovina · Central African Republic · Russia · Thailand · Northern Cyprus (asTurkish Cypriot State), Moro National Liberation Front, Russia.



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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 29th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Indigenous Wisdom Against Climate Change

By Stephen Leahy*
ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Apr 28 (Tierram̩rica) РWhile industrialised countries like Canada continue to emit ever-higher levels of greenhouse-effect gases, indigenous peoples around the world are working to survive and adapt to an increasingly dangerous climate.

Over millennia, indigenous peoples have developed a large arsenal of practices that are of potential benefit today for coping with climate change, including some holistic and refreshingly practical ideas.

“Why not give automobiles and planes a day of rest? And then later on, two days of rest. That would cut down on pollution,” suggested Carrie Dann, an elder from the Western Shoshone Nation, whose ancestral lands extend across the western United States.

Dann, winner of the 1993 Right Livelihood Award – known as the Alternative Nobel Prize – for her efforts to protect ancestral lands, made her proposal before the 400 delegates gathered in Anchorage, Alaska, Apr. 20-24 for the Indigenous Peoples’ Global Summit on Climate Change.

Dann warned that Mother Nature is getting warmer and the “fever” needed to be cured. “We see many range (grassland) fires in my territory, it is getting so hot,” she said.

To prevent similar uncontrolled wildfires that have burned up large portions of Australia and killed hundreds of people in recent years, the Aborigines of Western Arnhem Land, in the Northern Territory, are using traditional fire practices to reduce such wildfires.

Preventing these fires also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and, for the first time in the world, these Aborigines have sold 17 million dollars’ worth of carbon credits to industry, generating significant new income for the local community, according to a report presented in Anchorage.

Australia’s Aborigines have traditionally used controlled burning following the rainy season to create barriers to stop the intense wildfires later during the dry season.

Wildfires account for a substantial portion of Australia’s carbon emissions and have been very destructive. However, in recent years few Aborigines live on the land any more so there have been fewer controlled burns. But now there is a new role to play in the fight against global warming.

According to Sam Johnston, of the Tokyo-based United Nations University, a summit co-sponsor, it is in the world’s best interest to take into account indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge.

In Asia, indigenous people are developing diverse crop varieties and utilising different cropping patterns, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Filipina leader and chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, told the delegates.

They are also involved in sustainable agro-forestry and energy production based on small-scale biomass and micro-dam projects.

On the Indonesian island of Bali, indigenous peoples are doing reef rehabilitation work and protecting mangroves. In the Philippines, they are mapping ancestral waters and developing an integrated management plan.

“Many are doing these things on their own, with no support,” said Tauli-Corpuz.

In Honduras, faced with increasing hurricane strikes and drastic weather changes, the Quezungal people have developed a farming method that involves planting crops under trees so the roots anchor the soil and reduce the loss of harvests during natural disasters.

Indigenous peoples in Guyana have adopted a nomadic lifestyle, moving to more forested zones during the dry season, and are now planting manioc, their main staple, in alluvial plains where it was previously too moist to grow crops.

Farmers in Belize are returning to traditional agricultural practices and moving up to higher ground, other delegates reported.

In Africa, the Baka Pygmies of southeast Cameroon and the Bambendzele of Congo have developed new fishing and hunting methods to adapt to a decrease in precipitation and an increase in forest fires.

Although indigenous peoples have great capacity to adapt, many treaties and international laws guarantee their rights to food and traditional livelihoods, but climate change threatens all of this, according to Andrea Carmen, a member of the Yaqui Indian Nation, of the U.S. southwest.

When the chiefs of the tribes in the western Canadian province of Alberta declared that there should be no more oil production from tar sands, they were ignored, said Carmen who is also executive director of the International Indian Treaty Council.

Alberta’s tar sands oil projects are the major reason why Canada’s latest greenhouse gas inventory increased four percent from 2006 to 2007. That increase puts the country 33.8 percent over its commitments established in the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, in force since 2005.

But indigenous peoples are also wary of recent actions by governments and industries undertaken in response to climate change, such as building wind farms and biofuel plants, because these are often located on or directly affect their lands and livelihoods, says Gunn-Britt Retter, of Finland’s Saami Council.

“We have the knowledge of how to live through these climate changes. We need to use traditional knowledge to help all our cultures live through these changes,” Retter said.

“Our message to the world is that we need full and effective participation at the national and international levels in order for our cultures to survive these changes,” he added.

It has been 17 years since the first U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change meetings were held to solve the climate crisis, said Sheila Watt-Cloutier, the former head of the Inuit Circumpolar Council.

“We must act quickly… This is the last chance to take control,” she told the delegates by videoconference from her home in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. “The world needs the wisdom of our cultures.”

(*Correspondent Stephen Leahy’s travel to Alaska was financed by the United Nations University and Project Word, a U.S.-based non-governmental organisation for media diversity. This story was originally published by Latin American newspapers that are part of the Tierramérica network. Tierramérica is a specialised news service produced by IPS with the backing of the United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Environment Programme and the World Bank.)

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 29th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Eyes Wide Open.

By Mario Osava from Brazil, October 29, 2008.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 28 (IPS) – The reaction by South America’s Mercosur trade bloc to the current global financial crisis is limited for the time being to observing “possible impacts” on stock markets, production and unemployment, and “maintaining fluid and agile communications” regarding any measures taken by each member country. The bloc convened its Common Market Council — composed of the members’ ministers of economy and foreign affairs and their central bank presidents — Monday in the Brazilian capital, to discuss the crisis and how they could act to mitigate its effects. Mercosur (Common Southern Market), South America’s biggest trade bloc, is made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, with Venezuela in the process of becoming the fifth full member. The proposals presented at the Seventh Extraordinary Meeting of the Council will be considered, along with future recommendations, at a new meeting scheduled for Dec. 15, on the eve of the Latin American and Caribbean Summit organised by Brazil for Dec. 16-17 in Salvador, capital of the northeast state of Bahi a.

Brazil suggested calling a ministerial meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which this country’s diplomats are seeking to strengthen, while Venezuela, for its part, proposed a world summit of heads of state and government, according to the joint press release issued by the Common Market Council.

Chilean Foreign Minister Alejandro Foxley was in favour of the Group of Eight (G8) most powerful economies increasing the capital of multilateral development and financial institutions, in particular the Inter-American Development Bank, to provide assistance to Latin America.

With the presence of representatives from the bloc’s full and associate members, in addition to observers from Guyana and Suriname, the meeting included delegates from all of South America.

The consensus expressed in the final statement underlines “the need for an in-depth and comprehensive reform of international financial structures” and “establishing more prudent regulations for capital markets.” The Council also called for a “balanced” conclusion of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Doha Round of multilateral trade talks, which was suspended indefinitely in July after failing to reconcile differences between negotiators, in particular, India and the United States.

The Mercosur statement admits that today South America is “better prepared than in the past” to face a financial crisis, thanks to its “sound macroeconomic fundamentals.” Strengthening integration, expanding trade and enhancing financial cooperation in the region could prove “crucial” to “preserve and further the economic and social gains made in recent years,” it adds.

“Fortifying our integration will lessen the impact of the crisis” by maintaining trade and capital flows, Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said at a press conference after the meeting.

Foxley rejected “protectionist policies” as a way to respond to the crisis, arguing that they would only exacerbate social problems.

Brazilian Senator Aloísio Mercadante, an economist with the governing Workers’ Party (PT), warned against protectionist temptations, arguing that individual solutions are no solution at all.

The statements by the Brazilian and Chilean authorities were aimed at the Argentine government, which tends to respond with tariffs, as it has on several opportunities in the last few years, to defend its market from being flooded by imported goods. One of the proposals put forward by Buenos Aires was an increase in the Mercosur Common External Tariff.

The steep depreciation of the Brazilian real, which has fallen more than 30 percent against the dollar since August, heightened Argentina’s fear that the imbalance in bilateral trade will worsen.

From January to August, Brazil had a 3.6 billion dollar surplus in its trade with Argentina, a 40 percent increase as compared to the same period of 2007, despite the growing overvaluation of Brazil’s local currency, a trend that has been reversed since August.

Mercosur “should adopt common decisions,” but if is unable to, it should at least establish “guidelines” of some sort for the measures implemented by each country to counter the effects of the financial crisis that originated in the United States, Tullo Vigévani, director of the School of Philosophy and Sciences at the Sao Paulo State University, told IPS.

Recalling the “acute crisis” suffered by Mercosur back in 1999, when the Brazilian currency fell sharply and the integration process reached its weakest point, he pointed out that the “bloc did not lose its viability.”

Today the situation is more severe, with the Mercosur integration process largely stagnant, but the member countries now understand that integration is key to achieving individual development and “they must also realise that preventing the weakening of each and every member is in everyone’s interest,” said Vigévani.

The international affairs expert, who closely follows the Latin American integration process, noted that an agreement signed by Mercosur in 2005 stipulates the principle of balanced commercial relations between members of the bloc.

The present crisis and the depreciation of the real could turn out to be an opportunity to set limits for trade imbalances, such as a “band” of tolerance and countervailing measures in favour of the country suffering the deficit, he said.

The greatest obstacle to such a strategy is that an economic slowdown in Brazil, expected to set in next year as a result of the global financial turmoil, will have a brutal effect on neighbouring countries with much smaller economies, while the South American giant will barely feel any repercussions from their troubles, he observed.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 27th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Million acres of Guyanese rainforest to be saved in groundbreaking deal.

Daniel Howden

guyana_21382t.jpg
The Iwokrama reserve, part of one of the last four intact rainforests in the world

By Daniel Howden, Deputy Foreign Editor
Thursday, 27 March 2008

A deal has been agreed that will place a financial value on rainforests – paying, for the first time, for their upkeep as “utilities” that provide vital services such as rainfall generation, carbon storage and climate regulation.

The agreement, to be announced tomorrow in New York, will secure the future of one million acres of pristine rainforest in Guyana, the first move of its kind, and will open the way for financial markets to play a key role in safeguarding the fate of the world’s forests.

The initiative follows Guyana’s extraordinary offer, revealed in The Independent in November, to place its entire standing forest under the protection of a British-led international body in return for development aid.

Hylton Murray-Philipson, director of the London-based financiers Canopy Capital, who sealed the deal with the Iwokrama rainforest, said: “How can it be that Google’s services are worth billions but those from all the world’s rainforests amount to nothing?” The past year has been a pivotal one for the fast- disappearing tropical forests that form a cooling band around the equator because the world has recognised deforestation as the second leading cause of CO2 emissions. Leaders at the UN climate summit in Bali in December agreed to include efforts to halt the destruction of forests in a new global deal to save the world from runaway climate change.

“As atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide rise, emissions will carry an ever-mounting cost and conservation will acquire real value. The investment community is beginning to wake up to this,” Mr Murray-Philipson added.

Guyana, sandwiched between the Latin American giants Venezuela and Brazil, is home to fewer than amillion people but 80 per cent of its land is covered by an intact rainforest larger than England. The Guiana Shield is one of only four intact rainforests left on the planet and at its heart lies the Iwokrama reserve, gifted to the Commonwealth in 1989 as a laboratory for pioneering conservation projects.

Iwokrama, which means “place of refuge” in the Makushi language, is home to some of the world’s most endangered species including jaguar, giant river otter, anaconda and giant anteater.

Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo, a former economist, has appealed for state and private sector help for the country to avoid succumbing to the rampant deforestation currently blighting Brazil and Indonesia, in an effort to raise living standards in one of Latin America’s poorest countries.

“Forests do much more for us than just store carbon … This first significant step is in keeping with President Jagdeo’s visionary approach to safeguarding all the forests of Guyana,” said Iwokrama’s chairman, Edward Glover.

The deal, drawn up by the international firm Stephenson Harwood, is the first serious attempt to pay for the ecosystem services provided by rainforests.

“We should move beyond emissions-based trading to measure and place a value on all the services they provide,” said Mr Glover.

In addition to providing shelter to half the world’s terrestrial species and one billion of the earth’s poorest people, forests such as Iwokrama act as pumps, drawing water from the Atlantic Ocean inland to the Amazon and Guiana Shield where they help to seed clouds and deliver moisture over vast distances.

The Amazon generates the rain that falls on the vast soya estates of Sao Paulo, helping to make Brazil the second biggest agricultural exporter in the world.

Guyana’s attempt to secure its entire standing forest has received the backing of the British environment minister Phil Woolas and Downing Street has told The Independent that it is “considering the offer”. President Jagdeo met with Gordon Brown on the sidelines of a recent Commonwealth Summit in Uganda where they discussed the proposal. The UN road map to a deal to replace the Kyoto protocols foresees payments from wealthy climate-polluting nations to developing countries to compensate for potential income lost through avoiding deforestation. But there are fears that this formula may simply displace the demand for timber and cheap agricultural land.

Andrew Mitchell, head of the Global Canopy Programme, an alliance of rainforest scientists, said: “The decision on forests at December’s conference in Bali is a major step in tackling climate change but it fails to reward countries such as Guyana that aren’t cutting down their forests.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 6th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Kyodo News Reports, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2008

Japan selects 41 countries for priority climate aid: The government has selected 41 priority countries for assistance under its “financial mechanism” on climate change for developing countries in hopes of taking a lead in the battle against global warming, government sources said Saturday.

China and India, two of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, are included among the 41, which are mainly in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America, the sources said.

Eleven of the countries, including Kenya, have been designated as “early implementation” countries.

By demonstrating the effectiveness of the mechanism in helping developing nations, Japan hopes to gain international support for initiatives on dealing with global warming.

The government is planning to speed up consultations with each country to hammer out the details, such as how to provide assistance and how much, the sources said.

The financial mechanism on climate change for developing countries is aimed at supporting developing countries that have the “will and ambition” to combat global warming by implementing energy-saving projects and specific action plans, among other steps.



In selecting the 41 priority countries, the government took into account their funding needs, their own undertakings to combat global warming, their international influence, and the degree of their understanding of and cooperation with Japan’s initiatives. China and India are expected to be key to Japan’s plan.

“It is impossible to resolve the problem of global warming without the active participation of both countries,” a Foreign Ministry official said of the two rapidly developing powerhouses. “It is important to show a cooperative stance on the financial aspect.”

Divided by region, the 11 “early implementation” countries are:

Kenya, Ethiopia, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Madagascar;

Indonesia and Malaysia;

Guyana and Mexico;

and Micronesia.

Japan and Indonesia have already reached a basic agreement on the framework for financial assistance, the sources said.

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Six of the countries are in Africa, then there are Guyana and Micronesia, but what is most important is that Japan will cooperate with China, India, Mexico, Indonesia, and Malaysia – all upper tier countries that have high growth rates.

The key for doing anything on climate change revolves around these countries and starting with them cooperative programs before the July G8 meeting, will be very significant for the success of that meeting.

Also, interesting to see that Japan intends to cooperate with Mexico – a country member of NAFTA – thus in the backyard of the US.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 27th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Guyana’s President flies in as Britain considers rainforest offer.
By Daniel Howden and Colin Brown, 27 November 27,   2007. The Independent.
The Government says it is considering an offer from Guyana to secure the future of its entire standing forest in return for a package of green technology and development aid from Britain.

Guyana’s President, Bharrat Jagdeo, has proposed placing his country’s entire 50 million-acre tropical forest under a British-led international body in return for talks with London on securing aid for sustainable development and technical assistance in switching to green industries.

An official spokesman for the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, said last night: “We have received a letter from the President and we are considering it.”

The plan, revealed in The Independent on Saturday, has won strong backing from opposition parties. The shadow Environment Secretary, Peter Ainsworth, said tropical deforestation was not getting the attention it deserved and that the Government should take the proposal seriously.

“If we don’t sort out deforestation, we can forget changing the lightbulbs,” Mr Ainsworth said yesterday. “Deforestation is the neglected piece of the jigsaw. There must be a way into this and Guyana are offering what could be a model for how to do it.”

Guyana, a former British colony, set an important precedent in 1989 when it gifted one million acres of rainforest to the Commonwealth, setting up the Iwokrama international reserve which has become a successful model for managing tropical forests. Britain has already lent its backing to a similar venture in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a £50m grant was awarded for forest protection.

The Liberal Democrat environment spokesman, Chris Huhne, joined those backing the plan: “This is a very interesting development. We need to work on the proposals that Guyana have made at an international level and roll it out to cover not just Guyana but also Brazil, Venezuela and other rainforest nations.”

Mr Huhne, a challenger for the leadership of his party, added: “This is a major issue globally and we very much support individual or any bilateral international negotiations to protect the rainforests, which are the most important carbon sinks in the world.”

Mr Jagdeo, who will speak on climate change at the House of Commons today, said: “Our offer to partner with the UK to make this happen remains – we want to sit around a table and start to work out the precise details of how we can make progress.”

Guyana is home to one of only four remaining intact forests. The world’s tropical forests act as a thermostat, regulating rainfall and acting as a buffer for the climate, while sheltering 1.6 billion of the poorest people on earth. Guyana is among the poorest countries in South America and its forest, which acts as a “sink” for billions of tons of carbon, is under pressure from logging and mining.

With a high-profile UN climate change conference coming in Bali next month, it is understood that Downing Street is wary of appearing to question the sovereignty of any country over its rainforest. “There are very complex issues that are involved,” said Mr Brown’s spokesman.

But Mr Jagdeo said its sovereignty was not at issue and that he was looking for a partner to send a “bold signal” ahead of Bali. “Many problems in implementation will be identified,” he said. “However, future generations will not forgive us if we do nothing in the face of these problems and fail to provide leadership.”

The President said he does not expect long-term support from the British taxpayer and is open to private-sector initiatives. Payments from British firms for so-called voluntary carbon credits are one of the solutions being considered.

Mr Ainsworth said backing developing countries such as Guyana was also a moral issue: “I think it’s the right thing to do, and if Gordon Brown wants to take it on we would be very happy.”

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