President raises climate change issues with EU Commissioner, Columbia President
PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo has raised the issue of undisbursed climate change funds with Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos and Andris Piebalgs, the European Commissioner from Latvia, both of whom attended the 32nd CARICOM Heads of Government Conference in Basseterre, St. Kitts.
President Jagdeo said he raised the issue from the perspective of the undistributed funds pledged as part of the Copenhagen Accord (Fast Start Finance), under which new and additional, predictable and adequate funding, as well as improved access shall be provided to developing countries to enable and support enhanced action.
The accord also allows for developed countries to raise funds of US$30 billion from 2010-2012 of new and additional resources, and sets a "goal" for the world to raise US$100 billion per year by 2020, from "a wide variety of sources", to help developing countries cut carbon emissions.
New multilateral funding for adaptation is also to be delivered, with a governance structure. President Jagdeo said despite this, “The World Bank’s index shows that 10 of the 15 most vulnerable countries to climate change in the world can be found in the Caribbean, yet we have seen very little funds pledged in Copenhagen, and this runs into billions of dollars, flowing to the Caribbean. So there is this deficit between pledges and money disbursed, and it leads to a lack of trust on the part of the developing world in climate financing, because people now say here we go again. Another aid development story,” he added.
He said it is in this context that the world, particularly the EU, states how well they are doing in terms of assisting developing countries to tackle climate change. However, on the ground, it is a totally different picture.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the 32nd Conference, Heads noted preparations for the upcoming United Nations 17th Climate Change Conference (COP 17) – from November 28 to December 9, in Durban, South Africa. They expressed the hope that at this session, negotiations would result in a balanced outcome that would adequately address the issues that are central to the Caribbean Community’s interests.
They agreed to the setting up of a team of experts to formulate a regional plan of action to guide regional negotiators within the fora of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Meanwhile, on the issue of the Economic Partnership agreement (EPA), President Jagdeo said the region has signed on so it ought to make the best of it. Guyana has put in place the legal requirements to implement the EPA, making it the first CARICOM member state to do so. On February 3, 2011, the National Assembly passed the Customs Duty (Amendment) Order 2011, which paved the way for Guyana’s entry into the EPA.
President Jagdeo told the regional media that this was achieved despite Guyana being the last country to sign on to the agreement which was only done once the EU changed what they negotiated to and what regional negotiators said they could not achieve. Guyana insisted that the clause of the agreement which said should the EPA conflict with the Revised Treaty of Chaguramas, it should be re-examined.
The Region also benefited from Guyana’s insistence that there be a mandatory five-year review of the impact of the agreement, and should it be adverse, the EU would re-examine its position.
President Jagdeo said the regional negotiators indicated they could not accomplish that, but, “we held out, got it into the agreement, and then signed on to it.”
“As I said before, Guyana could have implemented it earlier because we have a very liberalized trade regime… almost 50% of our trade has a tariff range between 0 and 5%”, the President added.