July 27, 2009
Dhaka - Environmentalists and civil society activists from 21 Asia-Pacific and African countries vulnerable to global warming met Monday to devise a common strategy in the run-up to a United Nations climate change conference in December.
Delegates at the three-day meeting in Dhaka are to try to adopt a declaration containing non-negotiable demands from these nations aimed at a fair climate-change deal at the UN summit in Copenhagen, its organizers said.
World leaders have set a goal to reach an agreement in the Danish capital on curbing greenhouse-gas emissions that would replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.
Mostafizur Rahman, Bangladesh's state minister for environment and forests, emphasized how important the issue is for the most vulnerable states.
'It is a matter of life and death for us,' the minister said at the Dhaka meeting, calling on rich nations to show sympathy for the poor. 'We want justice for our people. We urge all to assist our people and take immediate actions to save the planet Earth.'
He said that like Bangladesh, which is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, the other nations at the conference are facing similar problems and need a common strategy for fighting climate change at the global level.
The conference organized by Oxfam and the Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood was expected to discuss measures to help climate-vulnerable poor countries that produce low greenhouse-gas emissions but suffer disproportionately from global warming, including such problems as rising sea levels, more intense storms and desertification.
Heather Blackwell, Oxfam's country director for Bangladesh, called on developed nations to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020 and to accept their obligation to pay at least 50 billion US dollars per year to fund climate-change adaptation in the developing world.
Experts from countries including Bangladesh, the Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Uganda, Senegal, Swaziland, Zambia, Niger, Mali, Chad, Mozambique and Tanzania are attending the sessions.