Tuvalu cries foul at slow, delaying tactics at COP21

Signs that negotiations for a new climate change agreement are not going well have begun to emerge at day four of the United Nations'21st Conference of the Parties in Paris.

Prime Minister of Tuvalu Enele Sopoaga said the negotiations are painfully 'slow,' as he went onto accuse the bigger countries of employing delaying tactics.

"We just don't understand it," Prime Minister Sopoaga told journalists who attended a press conference he called at the COP21 venue this morning. "We've been discussing it in Durban, Doha, Warsaw, in Lima, in Paris now, yet we are still struggling with the wordings.

"And there is no transparency. There's a lot of twist and turns and the process is an injustice. These delaying tactics must stop.

"We don't want to be dumped with something to look at the last minute, like what happened in Copenhagen. We don't want that to happen."

PM Sopoaga said Tuvalu does not want a 'declaration of intent,' but a legally binding agreement out of COP21 in Paris. He also lashed out at the bureaucracy surrounding access to global climate change adaptation funding.

"Access to climate funding has now been taken over by bureaucrats. When we submit our applications, we are told to provide scientific proof that we are being impacted by the effects of climate change. How can a small country like Tuvalu that does not have a good scientific capacity meet that kind of demand?

"We believe access to funding should depend on the level of vulnerability to impacts of climate change and not in the quality of submissions.''

Bigger and wealthier nations should also "stop the injustice" of using overseas development aid money to fund climate change adaptation work in countries that are vulnerable to climate change impacts, said PM Sopoaga.

He said the principle of "polluters pay" should be anchored in the Paris Declaration, and that new and adequate finance should be made available. He described as "shameful" the current practice of getting vulnerable nations like Tuvalu pay for their own climate change adaptation projects.

On the release yesterday by a United Nations University and United Nations ESCAP report on migration and climate change study in Tuvalu, Kiribati and Nauru, Prime Minister Sopoaga said the report has given his government useful data and information.

"We need to build a lot more classrooms for the young people of Tuvalu and I thank the European Union for funding that study and we will need more money for the education of our people."

Education was identified in the study as a strategy that could release islanders from the trap of worsening environmental conditions and their inability to relocate or migrate. That study also shows that up to 70 per cent of households in Tuvalu and Kiribati and 35 per cent of families in Nauru would migrate if impacts of climate change worsen in their islands. - #4PacIslands


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