Stay the course to contain climate change – global parliamentarians declare / EALA Speaker address meeting close, pleads for ‘climate justice’

ARUSHA, Tanzania, March 16, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Parliamentarians from over 20 nations have agreed to consolidate efforts in global Climate Change mitigation by unequivocally supporting legislation and relevant policies enhancing disaster risk reduction and early warning systems.

Consequently, the legislators at the just ended ‘International Meeting of Parliamentarians on Climate Change: Durban and Beyond’ have announced the establishment of a global network of Parliamentarians in support of people most vulnerable to climate change. The grouping known as the Parliamentarians for Climate Justice Network shall focus its resources in communities deemed vulnerable in whichever corner of the world. The Network is to promote strategic alliances of like-minded Parliamentarians working through existing structures where possible – including cross-party groups and parliamentary networks. A Steering Committee immediately formed constituting of legislators from Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Canada, Scotland, Nepal, Philippines, South Africa and Senegal shall work on the nuts and bolts towards refining the Network’s role and objectives.

The participants further called on governments to develop national action plans on climate change adaptation and to allocate fixed proportion of national budgets to check on the effects of climate.

A fifteen point Dhaka Parliamentary Declaration released at the end of the meeting implores governments to honour commitments by providing new and additional finance for vulnerable countries. As an immediate measure, the Declaration tasks governments to put aside US 30 billion dollars for the startup of a Green Climate Fund with a view towards growing the fund by three over the next ten years. The fund, participants’ state, should likewise cater for the Least Development Countries.

In addition, engagement in constructive debate on the issues of technology transfer and production transfer were encouraged and deemed vital to enable the affordability of equipment needed for mitigation in the countries of the global south.

With regards to oversight, the Parliamentarians are to gauge and hold to account their governments on implementation of ratified international agreements. This aspect, Parliamentarians hope shall be accentuated by monitoring disbursal of international climate finance to ensure effective and transparent funding.

Climate change was termed the greatest threat to the lives, livelihoods and welfare of global constituents as well as to the ecosystem upon which humanity depends on. In this regard, a global solution is needed to resolve the global problem. Looking inwards for a start, the legislators have thus pledged to mainstream climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in their respective Parliaments by collaborating across party-political boundaries, formation of dedicated Parliamentary Committees dealing with climate change where they do not exist and creating awareness among Parliamentarians.

The meeting opened on March 14, 2012 by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Her Excellency, Sheikh Hasina was attended by Parliamentarians from Bangladesh, Canada, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Mali, Netherlands and Maldives. Legislators from Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Samoa, Scotland, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda were also in attendance. EALA was represented by the Speaker, Rt. Hon Abdirahin Abdi and the Senior Public Relations Officer, Bobi Odiko.

In his remarks on Day 1, the Speaker noted that the entire globe remained vulnerable to climate change. ‘ It is already evident and widely accepted that the world is warming and that all effort are necessary to stabilize global temperatures’, he remarked, adding that frequency and intensity of extreme events such as cyclones, floods, droughts and variable precipitation and sea level rise were increasingly been felt.

On the Hyogo Framework for Action, a 10-year plan to make the world safer from natural hazards that was adopted by 168 Member States of the United Nations in 2005, legislators underpinned the need for immediate actions to reduce risks associated with climate related hazards.

Hon Mel Sarmiento, MP from Philippines said his country had taken a proactive stand in containing climate change. He mentioned that Philippines had enacted the Solid Waste Act, Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act in response to the Kyoto Protocol (International Agreement linked to the United Nation’s Framework on Climate Change signed in December 11, 1997 with an aim to fight global warming). In addition, Parliament went further to enact the Climate Change Act 2009 and the Disaster Risk Management Act 2010 following the Hyogo Framework Action Plan.

Mr. Claudio Monge, MP, Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica and Chair of the Committee on Environment informed delegates that Costa Rica was yet to witness serious problems of Climate Change but that the Executive and Legislature were concerned by the global impact of Climate Change.

In the closing remarks at the end of the conference, EALA Speaker Abdirahin Abdi called for a push towards climate justice between and among the nations.

‘There is need to persuade bigger emitters to check the problem, push regional initiatives to stay the course and devote budgets to developing renewable energies if we are to reverse the trends’, Rt. Hon Abdi stated.

Speaker of the Bangladesh Parliament Hon Abdul Hamid underscored the need for a global platform that draws attention to the plight of countries suffering from the excesses of climate change.

Mr. Robert Jukham, Acting UNDP Regional Representative observed that Bangladesh had played a leadership role in tackling climate change. ” I encourage MPs to position themselves to better influence international agendas in climate change and disaster risk reduction. In this light, I hope the conference shall indeed serve as a platform for Rio+20 conference on sustainable growth to be held in Brazil in June this year’ Mr. Jukham noted.


East African Community (EAC)

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