WASHINGTON, USA -- The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) of the hemispheric institution on Friday held a joint meeting on the "Development of the global regime to address climate change," which included the participation of representatives of the governments of Peru and France, which will organize the upcoming UN global conferences on the subject, which will continue the search for a global agreement.
The Chair of the Council and Permanent Representative of Peru, Walter Alban, said that in the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change there have already been "long and difficult negotiations to achieve a comprehensive agreement and binding approach to address the serious impact on the global atmosphere produced by human activity." The Peruvian diplomat stressed the importance of COP 20 meetings (Conference of the Parties) to be held in Lima, Peru, in December 2014; and COP 21, to be held in Paris, France, in 2015, to achieve a "universal agreement" on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, designated as responsible for climate change.
Alban also noted that in the Western Hemisphere there are "regions such as the Caribbean and Central America, which are among the most vulnerable to climatic phenomena.”
Pascal Canfin, Deputy Minister of Development in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France, said his country wants to work with Peru so that the 2014 and 2015 conferences share a "common vision.” He also said that several countries in the region like Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia and Costa Rica, have a major role to play in the climate change negotiations.
The representative of France said that the developed countries must take responsibility for the issue of greenhouse gases. In relation to the Americas, he said that "the emerging countries of the Americas have a fundamental and decisive role to be able to present topics for discussion." He added that "we are open to it, and we call for the creation of a strategic alliance that will help the development of a set of ideas and commitments so that we can succeed in the climate change negotiations."
Canfin was received by the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, and in the meeting he was accompanied by the Permanent Observer of France to the OAS, Jean-Claude Nolla.
For his part, the Special Adviser to the President of France to protect the planet, Nicolas Hulot, recalled that "20 years ago we realized there was a problem between man and nature." Since then, he continued, there have been numerous debates in the international community to reach a consensus on how to address it, but said an agreement has not yet been reached on how to stop the negative effects of climate change.
Hulot noted that "all ecological problems are directly related," and said that disagreements in the international community to address climate change represent "a deep political crisis that affects all the men and women of the world." The French official mentioned the natural disasters in the United States and the recent floods that took place in Mexico, as an example that "climate change is here and is especially affecting fishermen and farmers."
The adviser to the president of France noted that the OAS can play a substantial role in contributing to the success of the conferences in Lima and Paris, noting their willingness to hold meetings with all the representatives of the member countries of the hemispheric Organization who want to play an active role in both events.
The Deputy Minister for Strategic Development of Natural Resources of the Ministry of the Environment of Peru, Gabriel Quijandría, said global warming threatens to cause serious economic, social and environmental disturbances, and according to the scientific evidence, "if no concrete action is taken urgently, climate change may eventually change the geography of the coast, depriving us of fresh water and drastically reducing the production of food and energy."
Quijandría said that in his country, which is home to over half the world's tropical glaciers, " the progressive and increasingly rapid loss of the ice cap has been monitored for decades, which is the most important water reserve for cities like Lima, a metropolis of nine million inhabitants, that it is the second most populous city in the world located in a desert."
Meanwhile, the director of the Sustainable Development Department of the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI) of the OAS, Cletus Springer, explained the policies the hemispheric institution helps to develop to address climate change. Director Springer said climate change is a threat to the development of the Western Hemisphere, and that populations with fewer resources in the region are the most exposed to the elements.
The OAS official said the mission of SEDI is to promote and encourage the creation of public policies that help build inclusive sustainable development in the region. To do so, he said, it provides training to institutions and productive sectors, while promoting innovation through the Inter-American Competitiveness Network. He highlighted the policies defend the water resources of the Hemisphere, and as an example said the institution defends the water security, energy security and efficiency, sustainable communities, and environmental governance.
During the meeting the representatives of Guyana, Haiti, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, the United States, Brazil, Bolivia and Costa Rica took the floor.