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   Government of the Republic of Fiji

  Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service

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Media Release

Unity remains elusive at Bonn climate talks

Bonn, Germany 02-03 June, 2011: As the eyes of the world begins to focus with anticipation on the form of possible packages of Climate deals to be unravelled at COP17 in Durban, South Africa in December later this year, negotiations currently underway in Bonn, Germany this week paints a rather dull picture for Small Islands countries.

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) climate negotiators are concerned that with less than five months to go, convergence of views between differing factions in the Climate debate remains elusive.

Fiji is represented at the session by Mr. Sainivalati S. Navoti, Director Political &Treaties; and Mr. Jope Davetanivalu, Director of Environment.

“There is now a desperate need for major tectonic shifts in positions by all parties and interests if Durban is to succeed” said Mr. Sainivalati Navoti. “It now appears that even within the negotiation blocks, fractions and evidence of retractions are again surfacing and if left unresolved, any hope of a strong and credible Durban Outcome will simply evaporate.”   

AOSIS members who are meeting ahead of the formal Climate negotiations session to map out collective Group positions were informed that Major Economic Countries (MEC) and the BASIC Group now holds positions potentially detrimental to AOSIS aspirations. Small Island Countries have been consistent in their call for an overall reduction of greenhouse gas emission by 350 parts per million, or limit any temperature increase to 1.5 degree Celsius. Likewise, for credible implementation of reduction pledges, AOSIS has been strong on its call for a legally binding Instrument.

There are a host of unresolved issues that needs to be resolved before Durban. “AOSIS will need to urgently re-visit its negotiation strategies on issues such as the second commitment period of Kyoto, legal options, agriculture, bunkers, equity, the need for mitigation responsibilities to evolve, IPR and trade if it needs to remain at an upper hand,” Mr. Navoti adds.

AOSIS negotiators now agree that in order to advance the interest of vulnerable Small Island Countries, they need to build alliances with like-minded parties in the process on the overall approach to the negotiations and on specific issues, where necessary. They also need to identify and stand with the other countries that have committed to 1.5C to pursue action on this issue and with organizations within Annex I countries e.g. NGOs, who can mobilize to bring local pressure to bear on national governments.

Small Island negotiators also agreed to make specific proposals for addressing issues which are important to AOSIS, for example, in Financing – to propose series of activities/work programme to clarify long term sources. On Fast Start Funds – propose activities aimed at developing a better understanding of the reports that have been submitted by Annex I parties. On Mitigation – propose a work programme on ways to increase the level of ambition, including technical papers. 

AOSIS Negotiators also agreed with Fiji’s proposal to develop and execute in Bonn and beyond, a proactive media strategy, in multiple languages highlighting specific issues relevant to the interest of Small Island Developing States.

“It is the function of negotiators to build bridges, it is vital that these negotiations process is transparent and inclusive for it is the only way to guarantee that Durban takes a major step forward in working towards the perspective of a comprehensive, ambitious, fair and effective outcome,” Navoti said.

END

(Photo caption: Fiji Climate Negotiators: Mr. Jope Davetanivalu (Director Environment) & Mr. Sainivalati S. Navoti (Director Political & Treaties)