|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fourth General Assembly
84th Meeting (AM)
World Witnessing ‘Trade of Degrees for Dollars’, Where Rich Emitters Pledge Money
Instead of Change, General Assembly Hears at Close of Mother Earth Day Observance
Concluding its special meeting on International Mother Earth Day this morning, the General Assembly heard appeals from developing States for concerted action to tackle environmental problems “consistent with moral and ethical values” at a time of great strain to the Earth.
Recalling the events at Copenhagen, the representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines said that last-ditch efforts, though well intentioned, had produced a document that was “procedurally and substantively flawed”. The world was falling into the “unseemly trade of degrees for dollars”, where rich emitters pledged money instead of change, and where cash-strapped developing countries were being forced to “weigh the short-term benefits of a suicide pact”.
Saying his country was at the frontlines of the climate change crisis, he explained that many small island nations had had to divert scarce resources for mitigation and adaptation purposes. Meanwhile, the Copenhagen Accord called for voluntary mitigation commitments that would exceed the estimated, acceptable temperature rise.
He warned the international community against becoming so enamoured with the process that it lost sight of substance.
Echoing those words of caution, the representative of the Maldives stressed the right of all human beings to food, water and shelter, and to live with dignity in their own nations. He called on all countries to take action consistent with moral and ethical values, saying that “a global effort can lead to a green revolution, which will reshape geopolitics”.
He told the Assembly that President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives had received the prestigious “Champions of the Earth Award” from the United Nations in Seoul, Republic of Korea, yesterday, in the policy and leadership category.
Speaking in Seoul, President Nasheed, he noted, had pointed out the real cost of climate change: oil companies earning millions of dollars each minute producing products that destroyed the planet, paid for by those living in the most vulnerable parts of the world who were struggling for survival.
“We don’t believe that the island nations, like Maldives, are out of hope yet,” continued the representative. “But we also believe, for us to survive, we must fix the social, economic and political system that created this chaos.”
Going by moral and ethical principles, those who harmed the Earth the most should be the first to respond to its calls of agony, added Guatemala’s representative, drawing on ancient Mayan philosophy.
According to the Mayan vision of the cosmos, the life of a human being was part of a greater whole, he said. The Mayans understood that every culture must respect and preserve a balanced relationship with nature, since nature’s elements complemented each other.
The representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina remarked, as well, that environmental sustainability was one of the eight Millennium Development Goals. “We simply cannot afford to take from nature’s resources and never give back anything in return.”
The representative of Chile said that the human race should regulate its growth. His country eagerly awaited the outcome of negotiations under way within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, where “we hope to achieve ambitious goals and the necessary commitment of developed countries” to move forward after 2012.
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