Friday, December 23, 2011

We are against one real cruel enemy - that is climate change

Joint Informal Stocktaking Plenary

Delivered by Commissioner Yeb Sano
2:00 a.m., 11 December 2011
Durban, South Africa

Thank you Madam President.

I have here in my hand hard copies of the Convention and the KP as printed in 1998. I have used them for 13 years and I hold them dearly. I am afraid these booklets are in danger of being relegated as relics of a lost era.

In the past week, we were also witnesses to the thousands of people who wore “I love KP shirts.” I’m afraid these I love KP shirts are in danger of becoming mere souvenirs of a lost era – an era that is at risk of losing our existing legally-binding rules-based regime that aims to avert the most serious threat to humanity.

I wish to express my deep concern to know that after over 5 years of negotiations on the Further Commitments, and I emphasize Further Commitments, for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol, we have again come short of arriving at a ratifiable amendment to KP’s Annex B that would have ultimately gotten the Kyoto Protocol out of intensive care and back into life. I am deeply concerned that we have come short of this and have once again procrastinated.

We were expected to send a strong political signal to the world in the form of adopting fully ratifiable amendments for the establishment of the 2nd Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Madam President, we have endeavored to help Africa save the KP and achieve ultimate success here in Durban, not just to protect multilateralism, but to avert the climate crisis. We have made progress, but we need to continue our work. And I join others in thanking you and I congratulate you for your effective leadership and stewardship of the process in this session.

Madam President, it breaks my heart to see that this room is divided. I plead with everyone, let us not pit one against another. We are against one real cruel enemy – and that is climate change.

We are all for environmental integrity. We are all for sustainable and equitable growth. I must stress that equity is a fundamental concept whose reflection in our processes will ensure that we obtain a fair and just outcome that achieves the objective of the Convention.

It likewise breaks my heart to see that developing countries whose peoples struggle every single day have to bear the blame. Again I plead, let us not pit one against another. We all have one common future.

My delegation agrees that legally binding is important. We were open to a legally binding instrument, as we agree that a legal regime is important, but it should have been with the view to save the Kyoto Protocol. It seems to me that we have procrastinated once more. We have no gotten KP out of intensive care. MLK once said “How soon ‘not now’ becomes ‘never’”. And I’m afraid that as we have delayed the most ideal way to save KP, it is at great risk of dying and its fate remains uncertain. Perhaps Madam President, and I respectfully borrow the words of the great Mandela, “there is no easy walk to freedom.”

I want to end on a positive note. We are on the verge. We are one world. We are one global community. And we have no choice but to walk together on this journey.

We want to end any gathering with a triumphant note, and for us to triumph here, we need to heed the call for urgency.

Allow me as well to recognize the role that the youth delegates in this Conference in pushing us to do our work.

In closing I quote Archimedes, who said “If I have a lever long enough, I can move the world.” Madam President, our collective will in this very room is that lever, and if it is long enough, we can move the world.

Thank you Madam President.

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