Thursday, 21 June 2018

Ambassador Gonsalves Criticises "Copenhagen Accord" on Climate Change

Ambassador Camillo M. Gonsalves (File Photo)

NEW YORK, NY, December 21, 2009: Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves, Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations, has called the Copenhagen Accord on climate change a "profoundly disappointing" outcome to the recently concluded United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference, which was held in Denmark.

In unscripted remarks made in response to a briefing by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN President Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treki, Ambassador Gonsalves listed a number of shortcomings of the brief, two-page "Copenhagen Accord," which has been criticised by a number of developed and developing countries around the world.

"The Accord is not legally binding, which, I assume, was an aim of most countries heading into Copenhagen," said Ambassador Gonsalves. "And there is no deadline in the Accord for the adoption of any such legally biding document."

"The Accord refers to a limit of 2? [temperature rise above preindustrial levels], and there are a significant number of countries whose very existence is threatened by any rise above 1.5?," he said.

Ambassador Gonsalves expressed skepticism regarding the pledge by developed countries to provide $100 billion in assistance to countries affected by climate change.

"These sums were proposed with regard to the comfort of developed countries' economies, not to the actual needs of those most affected," said Ambassador Gonsalves. "We, the most affected, are very much accustomed to grand announcements and pronouncements of aid and assistance, which ultimately fail to materialise. We heard them in Monterrey, in Gleneagles, and most recently in London and Pittsburgh. But pledges such as these, which seem to come from everywhere and nowhere at the same time, are of very little comfort to countries that are being significantly affected by climate change as we speak," he said.

Further, the Ambassador noted that the Copenhagen Accord, which was prepared by a small group of countries in an 11th hour attempt to push through a global agreement, was not endorsed or adopted by the UN membership. "This process, Mr. Secretary General, has placed you in the unenviable position of now trumpeting an accord to which all States have not agreed," said Ambassador Gonsalves.

Ambassador Gonsalves went on to criticise negotiating processes that marginalise the majority of the members of the United Nations. "This approach . . . belies the fundamental concepts of sovereign equality and democracy that animate this body," he said.

Indicating that Saint Vincent and the Grenadines "feel[s] no less threatened today than we did when Copenhagen began," Ambassador Gonsalves expressed hope that the next climate change conference, scheduled to be held in Mexico later this year, "will be marked by openness, inclusivity, transparency and legitimacy."

"We think that the credibility of the United Nations itself is going to be tested between now and the conclusion of the conference in Mexico . . . We must work hard, together, to determine whether or not this body truly is credible and relevant in modern times and to confront modern problems," said the Ambassador.

To view the text of Ambassador Gonsalves' remarks on the Copenhagen Accord, click HERE