Maldives and Other Climate-Vulnerable Countries Call for Action Ahead of Copenhagen Summit
Nairobi, 13 November 2009 - Some of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world called for help this week at a meeting organized by the Maldives, a member of the Climate Neutral Network.
Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam, Kiribati, Barbados, Bhutan, Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania, popularly known as the V11, are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, but they are also among the lowest greenhouse gas emitters. Some of them, like the Maldives, could disappear with a century.
The two-day meeting, which ended on 11 November, highlighted their concerns and determination to "green" their economies. The outcome did not quite live up to the expectations the chief organizer President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, who had hoped that the countries attending the forum would commit to become carbon neutral within a decade.
In March, President Nasheed announced plans to make his own country the world's first carbon-neutral nation by 2019 and last month he announced the construction of a wind farm that can supply 40 per cent of the country's electricity.
The President has been an active spokesperson for the island states, many of which are now threatened by rising sea levels. Earlier this year, President Nasheed took part in a public service announcement (PSA) organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) which called for world leaders to seal the deal in the climate negotiations in Copenhagen next month.
Shot in six locations and across four continents, the videos launched this September feature President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives; Hollywood actor, Don Cheadle; Nobel Laureate, Professor Wangari Maathai; UN Messenger of Peace, Midori Goto; Animal Planet presenter and environmentalist, Phillipe Cousteau and wildlife film maker, Saba Douglas-Hamilton.
In May, the Maldives became the seventh country to join the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net), a UNEP initiative launched in February 2008 to promote global transition to low-carbon economies and societies. The Climate Neutral Network also includes cities, regions, companies and organizations. Last month President Nasheed staged the world's first underwater cabinet meeting to promote awareness about rising sea levels.
The V11 says that achieving carbon neutrality for developing countries will be very difficulty given their lack of resources. The group is calling upon developed countries to provide money "amounting to at least 1.5 percent of their gross domestic product to assist developing countries to make their transition to a climate resilient low-carbon economy".
The question will be on the table in just three weeks at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen.