APEC leaders reaffirm commitment to UN framework on climate change
SYDNEY (8 September) -- Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum reaffirmed Saturday their commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) anchored on seven beliefs that "underpin an equitable and effective post-2012 international climate change arrangement."
In a Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development, leaders of the region's 21 economies agreed that economic growth, energy security and climate change are fundamental and inter-linked challenges for the APEC region.
"We are committed through wide-ranging and ambitious actions, to ensuring the needs of the economies of the region while addressing the issue of environmental quality and contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions," the declaration stated.
The declaration reflects a significant triumph for the Philippines and other nations which consider themselves, in the words of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo put it, more as victims of the major gas emitters.
"Countries like the Philippines contribute less than 1 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. We are not a villain as far as climate change is concerned. They call our kind of country a climate taker rather than a climate maker," the President said Friday in her address before the 5th Global Filipino Networking Convention in Sydney.
The President had earlier stated her government's strong stand that any changes in the Kyoto Protocol should fall within the UNFCCC since the issue of climate change involves all countries, and not confined to APEC members.
Future international action by the APEC, according to the Declaration, should be anchored on comprehensiveness, respect for different domestic circumstances and capacities, flexibility, the important role for low and zero emissions, energy sources and technologies, the importance of forests and land use, promoting open trade and investment and support for effective adaptation strategies.
The APEC leaders expressed their commitment to the global objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.
"We therefore call for a post-2012 international climate change arrangement … that strengthens, broadens and deepens the current arrangements and leads to reduced global emissions of greenhouse gases," they said.
APEC economies that are parties to the UNFCCC agree to work actively and constructively toward a comprehensive post-2012 arrangement at this year's UNFCCC Conference of the Parties which Indonesia is hosting in December this year.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who read the Declaration on live TV said the declaration " forges a new international consensus on the challenge of global warming."
The declaration said concerted international action is needed and the APEC members support flexible arrangements to ensure their energy needs while contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The Sydney Declaration does not set an overall target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, but it does commit APEC members to trying to improve energy efficiency by at least 25 percent by 2030.
It also aims to increase forest cover in APEC countries by at least 20 million hectares within 13 years.
PM Howard said the APEC Declaration will add to the momentum of future international meetings focused on climate change.
"Firstly, the need for a long-term aspirational global emissions reduction goal, and that is enshrined in the Sydney Declaration," he said.
"Secondly, the need for all nations, no matter what their stage of development, to contribute according to their own capacities and their own circumstances to reducing greenhouse gases," he added. (OPS/PIA) [top]