Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Climate Talks finally reached agreement

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service/SPREP): July 27, 2001 - Despite the United States absence and non-participation, the Climate Talks finally reached a consensus among the developed and developing countries on July 23, 2001.

The South Pacific Regional Environmental Program (SPREP) tributed the Climate talk success as a 'Multi-lateralism triumphed over Unilateralism:'

The World reinforced the importance of the multilateral negotiation process in Bonn when consensus was reached on decisions to kick start the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. Key to the success of the negotiations were Japan, Australia, Canada, Russia and Saudi Arabia who finally reached a compromise and reviving hope that, together, the world can find solutions to global problems.

The compromise allayed concerns that countries would not move without the US. The historic breakthrough also allayed fears that a collapse would severely impact on any meaningful outcomes at the next meeting of the Parties (COP 7) in Marrakesh, in November 2001; as well as calling into question the usefulness of the multilateral environmental negotiation process generally.

President Pronk met sustained cheers, applause and standing ovations as he announced the breakthrough, 11 hours after the scheduled end of the make or break Ministerial Segment. The moment was also a triumph for exhausted Pacific island negotiators who persisted for many years to voice their concerns and have them addressed in the decision text.

Among the results Pacific island countries can now look forward to include:

  1. More Funding to Least Developed Countries and Pacific Island Countries to address adaptation activities from the negative impacts of Climate Change, such as sea-level rise, that is already affecting a number of islands.

    Canada agreed to kick-start this fund with US$10m. Japan and the EU have also promised funding for adaptation generally.

  2. Assistance for Pacific Island Countries with technology transfer.

  3. The promise that nuclear energy will not be used for carbon crediting. There was a fear that developed countries might seek to promote nuclear energy projects in Pacific island countries to obtain credits which could then be offset against their assigned domestic emission amounts. Generally, the Pacific were not keen to see a proliferation of such projects in the Pacific because of issues related to sustainability of such projects.

  4. Representation on a number of bodies set-up under the Kyoto Protocol through the Alliance of Small Island Developing States. This is a crucial outcome as there were proposals to exclude the AOSIS grouping from important bodies such as those working on adaptation funding activities.

  5. A compliance system to take action against countries who could not meet the emission limits they had set for themselves. Some countries wanted no compliance system whereas Pacific Island countries wanted a legally binding system. This proved the most contentious final sticking point which kept delegates on the brink of success or failure for the final 20 Hours.

Although delegates can be pleased with the fact that a positive outcome was reached, the action taken in Bonn is only a small but significant step. Greenhouse Gas emissions must be reduced by 70% to stop global warming. In Bonn, nations agreed to a 5.2% reduction. While the Protocol can become operational, the ideal situation will be for the US to join the world community in addressing this very serious problem which affects all of us.


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