Monday, 14 December 2009 00:00

President notes importance of fast-track action

Stories News 2009 12 14 1An international campaign to force the financial sector to pay for saving the planet from global warming was boosted on Wednesday last when France joined Britain in championing a new global regime of taxes on financial market transactions (so-called Tobin taxes).The billions in potential proceeds would be earmarked for long-term measures to tackle global warming.

Days before the Copenhagen climate change conference reaches its finale with the arrival of US President Barack Obama and more than 100 other world leaders, an EU summit in Brussels sought to boost the chances of a deal further by also pledging 2.4 billion Euro a year from January 2010 in "fast-track" funds to pay for forest and energy mitigation efforts as well as helping the world's poor countries adapt to rising seas, floods and famines as a result of climate change.

The figure agreed saw Prime Minister Gordon Brown almost double Britain's pledge from 800M sterling pounds to 1.5B sterling pounds, apparently making the UK Europe's single most generous donor.

The figure was higher than expected and part of a broader package from the industrialised countries around the world tipped to total seven billion Euros a year for the next three years.

Financial transfers from rich to poor are a make-or-break issue in Copenhagen and the EU move was described as "hugely encouraging” by the UN climate chief Yvo de Boer. "One of the things that has been holding this process back is lack of clarity on how short-term financial support is going to be provided to developing countries," he said.

Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo was among those who supported the initiative (spearheaded by Prime Minister Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy), noting the importance of fast-track action.

However, the President cautioned that this was only part of the need in the years ahead, and it was essential that the European Union and others committed to medium and long term funding as well. Speaking after a meeting with Britain’s Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Hilary Benn, President Jagdeo noted that Prime Minister Brown has been one of the most progressive leaders in recent months, and repeated comments that he made previously at the United Nations and the recently held Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting when he said that Brown's commitment to support funds of in excess of Euro 100 billion by 2020 were "finally reaching a scale that might start to match the problem."

President Jagdeo landed in Copenhagen yesterday morning, and commenced a series of meetings with world leaders and others. He met with UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Hillary Benn, on Sunday evening to discuss the upcoming negotiations, as well as with Nobel Peace Prize Winner Professor Wangari Maathai.

Earlier at Forest Day, the United Nation's Secretary-General Special Envoy on Climate Change, Gro Harlem Brundtland, called for the inclusion of REDD in a new climate change deal to be reached at Copenhagen, and singled out Guyana's Low Carbon Development Strategy as a model for the world.

President Jagdeo is heading Guyana’s delegation which includes representatives from the Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee of the LCDS, and senior personnel from the Office of Climate Change. (With excerpts from the UK Guardian)

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