Indonesia, Singapore urged to unite ASEAN for KP in Bonn climate talks

Press release - June 14, 2011
Manila -- As the Bonn climate negotiations near its end, with more set-backs than progress, Indonesia is pressed to convince the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) towards a bloc support for the Kyoto Protocol. Early this week, ASEAN’s key dialogue partners Australia and Canada have become the latest Annex 1 countries to join Japan, Russia and the United States in shunning the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s only legally binding agreement. Australia and Japan are members of ASEAN +6 and +3 respectively.

Individually, the ten members of ASEAN are supportive of the extension of the Kyoto Protocol whose first commitment period is about to end in 2012. However, ASEAN has yet to make a united stand, despite the region being one of the most vulnerable to climate change, whose impact could in turn, further exacerbate the region’s political challenges, chronic poverty, tensions and conflicts and community displacement.

“Now is the time for ASEAN members to set aside their political differences and speak as one in calling on developed countries, especially its dialogue partners to sign to a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol” asserted Shalimar Vitan of Oxfam Internal. Oxfam International is part of the ASEAN for a Fair Ambitious, Binding and Global Climate Deal (A-FAB) coalition of green groups in Southeast Asia.

In the last intersessional meeting in Bangkok, Thailand more than two months ago, ASEAN missed the opportunity to have common positions on key areas of adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer and financing despite its members’ common concerns and the meeting being held in an ASEAN country.

The current impasse in the negotiations pits developing countries, on the one hand and Annex 1 countries, on the other hand over the Kyoto Protocol. According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the GHG emissions reduction targets could only lead us to 4 degrees Celsius global temperature increase, instead of limiting it to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as science requires.

“The more than 600 million in Southeast Asia, particularly its majority living below poverty clearance would have the worst impacts of climate change unless worst emitters stick to the Kyoto Protocol and developed countries target an earlier GHG emissions peaking period,” said Atty. Zelda DT Soriano, political advisor of Greenpeace.

Aside from Indonesia, who chairs ASEAN this year, Singapore is likewise urged to be more cooperative. “Singapore must stop discouraging fellow ASEAN member states from having a common position in the negotiations,” added Soriano. Since 2009, it has been observed that the Singapore has been critical of proposals for joint statements by Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

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For more information:

Zelda Soriano, Policy Advisor,  Greenpeace Southeast Asia, +63 917 594 9424

Shalimar Vitan, East Asia Regional Policy and Campaigns Coordinator, Oxfam, +63 917 862 6314

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