Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership signals Pacific discontent with negotiations

20/10/2013 12:16

By Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson

APIA: The discontent of Pacific leaders with the 'sluggish' progress made at international climate talks has lead to the endorsement of the Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership by all members of the Pacific Islands Forum last month.
The Declaration recognizes "the gross insufficiency of current efforts to tackle climate change, and the responsibility of all to act urgently to reduce and phase-down greenhouse gas pollution."
An initiative of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) the Declaration is a new approach for a region whose presence as Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at climate talks tend to be overshadowed by fellow Carribbean and Indian Ocean SIDS.
Bruce Kijiner, Director of the Office of Environmental Planning and Policy Coordination told SciDev that the Declaration signals not jus the discontent of the region with international negotations, but also a proactive step towards climate solutions.
"The Leaders were clearly frustrated over the delay, over simple matters such as logistics, they wanted something to move the discussions forward, that's not going to stall at the negotiators table."
According to Kijiner, the Declaration exceeded expectations by gaining support from developed countries which include the United States, New Zealand and Australia.
Some Pacific delegates say they will use the Declaration as a platform during interventions in Warsaw this month.
Director of Climate Change at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme Ms. Netatua Pelesikoti says the Declaration is a good platform for the Pacific at negotiations, and a fresh approach for the region.
"I think it is very positive and it's a reconfirmation of Pacific island countries commitment and dedication to adapt to climate change. Th is is a new spin to it, the Leaders have come out with their commitments, they are calling for equal commitments from other Leaders of developed countries."
Commitments noted in the Declaration include, ambitious renewable energy targets by Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau and others.
Pelesikoti says the inclusion of the targets indicate an allignment of national efforts with the Declaration.
According to her, the Declaration should not take away from the Pacifics support for a new commitment period in 2015.
"Pacific islands should focus on the new treaty to make sure that new treaty is worthwhile for maintaining global emissions at a level to ensure survivability of small islands."
The Declaration was originally signed by Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.