ASEAN not serious enough about Climate Change: Greenpeace

Press release - April 9, 2010
Greenpeace today dismissed the draft of the 'ASEAN Joint Response to Climate Change' as weak and compromising with its inclusion of clause referring to the so-called Copenhagen Accord --- the undesired outcome of December's United Nations climate summit.

Greenpeace activists put the climate change onus on the ASEAN Summit today by unfurling a banner that says “Ten Nations, One Vision -- Climate Action Now” at a large billboard opposite the summit venue. Heads of ASEAN member states arrive in Thailand for the annual talkfest that sadly lacks climate change in its agenda in spite of worsening climate-related disasters in the region.

"The language of the ASEAN Joint Response suggests a compromise to integrate the non-binding Copenhagen Accord into the UNFCCC process.  For the purpose of international political relations, this compromise can be considered acceptable.  However, the people of Southeast Asia -- now living on a borrowed time due to severe climate change impacts -- clearly deserve more than a diplomatic compromise especially after the great failure in Copenhagen" said Zelda Soriano, political advisor of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

"Greenpeace maintains its position that the Copenhagen Accord is no substitute for the fair, ambitious and legally binding treaty demanded by millions of people who are concerned about climate change or are being affected by its impacts.  The Accord is a weak political treaty that only undermines the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) process toward a legally-binding climate treaty," she added

Today the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will issue its Joint Response to Climate Change during the 16th Leaders' Summit in Hanoi, Vietnam with the following clause:

"Understanding that the non-binding Copenhagen Accord provides elements that could be considered as inputs to the two-track process of the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term operative Actions (AWGLCA) and the Ad-hoc Working Group on Further Emissions Reductions Commitments for Annex 1 Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWGKP), which remains the main and legitimate path to arriving to a fair, equitable and legally binding agreement that ensures a successful COP-16/CMP-6 in Mexico."

Greenpeace believes that the severe drought, which has been affecting the entire region and tens of millions of people for the past six months and which is predicted to last for several more, should have moved ASEAN leaders to make a bolder, stronger statement that places the interests and welfare of their citizens before everything else.

"The ASEAN's established 'musyawarah' practice of open consensus should not justify lack of immediate action.  The ASEAN Charter of 2007 provides for enhanced consultation and domestic translation of regional agreements especially on matters that seriously affect the entire region.  The current drought is this kind of issue -- and it is an issue that can only be effectively addressed by a regional action and by ASEAN pushing for a global response," concluded Soriano.

Other contacts: Atty. Zelda Soriano, ASEAN Political Advisor, +63 917 594 9424 Lea Guerrero, Regional Communications Manager, +66 8 5070 5552

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