Cuban statement on Cancun deal

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“The Bolivian delegation is speaking here in the name of the peoples of Our America and deserves consideration and recognition in Cuba’s opinion.”

Speech by Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez, in the closing session of the 16th UN Environmental Summit.

Thank you very much, dear Patricia [Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa, chair of the Summit]

I should like to acknowledge Mexico and your effective presidency that has brought us to this point.

I understand the tiredness of all of us in this room and I also understand your enthusiasm.

I believe that this conference stands in sharp contrast with the failure of Copenhagen in terms of the universal participation in democratic and transparent procedures.

One year has passed since Copenhagen, a year of undue pressure, political imposition, financial pressure on the part of a group of countries to try to legitimate that non-agreement, that disagreement, which was translated into a sad document in that long night, longer than this one, in Copenhagen.

It has been made clear in secret documents recently disclosed, that there has been a degree of conspiracy among certain powers – in the words of the document itself – to marginalize, neutralize or co-opt some countries, among which Cuba is mentioned, as are Venezuela and Bolivia.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the Plurinational State of Bolivia exercises a fundamental leadership, and represents for us the vindication of the original peoples, of the original cultures of America.

President Evo Morales is an Aymara leader, a leader of the social movements.

A democratically elected president, who has been subjected to undemocratic attempts to expel him from government, who is at times attacked by the right with arrogance and racism.

We are learning from original cultures what I think is a universal value today, which is the need to attain a balance between humans and nature. I also understand that the peoples have to be heard in this hall and lament the fact that, in these summits, there if often little popular participation.

I consider that non-governmental organizations, the social movements must have a part in these processes.

And that in every major decision, such as the one which concerns us today, there should be consultation with the peoples, because we are talking about the survival of the human species, no more nor less, we are talking about the survival of human beings.

The Bolivian delegation is speaking here in the name of the peoples of Our America and deserves consideration and recognition in Cuba’s opinion.

We Cubans are dissatisfied with the documents presented, I am going to argue on the basis of three elements which I consider essential: first, because it does not include any clear or adequate greenhouse gas reduction targets, and we know from the course of the discussion that has taken place in this conference that they would lead by 2020, in the worst of cases, to a 6% increase in emissions by the developed countries based on 1990 levels, or in the best of cases to a reduction of only 16%, which would imply an increase in temperature superior to 2.5 degrees up to 5 degrees.

Speaking of average temperatures, there are today more than 20 million hungry people on this planet, island nations at risk.

What would happen on the planet if a temperature increase should be produced such as the one described and about which there is unquestionable scientific evidence? I consider that this is an issue of extreme urgency and of profound concern, which the documents do not fulfill and that we should try to compile adequate and emergent formulas in future sessions, before the next conference in Durban.

Secondly, it seems to me that key to this process is the agreement that there is going to be a second period of commitments to the Kyoto Protocol is key in this process, and it is my delegation’s interpretation that what is reflected in these documents is a clear commitment that we are going to go to that second period of the Kyoto Protocol.

I am a realist, I understand that tonight we are not going to be able to establish quantities or specific national commitments, but that we are confirming in this meeting the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, according to the capacities of states, and that here there have been agreements that we are going to a second period of Kyoto commitments.

And thirdly, I am concerned at the way in which contributions and finances are being approached; I recall the figures of that unprecedented night in Copenhagen, the language of the documents, I recall that ambiguity and note with concern that when $100 billion is mentioned, one is talking of mobilization efforts, that when $30 billion is mentioned, one is talking of an approximation to that figure, and I have not seen here any concrete commitment regarding the source of those funds.

I understand, I interpret that what the documents contributed by your presidency say, is that there is a commitment on the part of the governments of the developed countries to contribute these figures. On the basis of these considerations, Madam Chair, I would first like to make a request to respect the consensus, and to listen to the proposals of the Bolivian delegation, and I would also like to support the proposal of the Venezuelan delegation, likewise supported by Saudi Arabia, that the corresponding working groups make a decision on these documents, before doing so, that is to say, directly in this plenary.

Once again, Madam Chair, I reiterate my acknowledgement of the contribution of Mexico and your own, Patricia.

Thank you very much.

Translated by Granma International

1 Comment

  • Cuba chooses to interpret the Cancún Agreement as a “clear commitment” to a renewal (“second period”) of the Kyoto Protocol, despite the clearly expressed intentions of Canada, the USA and other developed nations to ditch Kyoto.

    The Transnational Institute, by contrast, says the Cancun agreement “effectively kills off the Kyoto Protocol and replaces it with a pledge system of voluntary commitments”. Friends of the Earth calls Cancún “a platform for abandoning the Kyoto Protocol, replacing it with a weak pledge and review system.”

    Cuba also chooses to believe that there is now a commitment on the part of the developed countries to contribute $30 billion for the period 2010–2012 to finance “adaptation” programs for the most vulnerable countries. In reality, this “commitment” originated with Copenhagen a year ago and has thus far proven to be illusory. The Cancún Agreement merely “takes note” of the commitment and “invites” the developed countries to submit future reports on the resources they have contributed to this fund.

    It further “recognizes” the commitment of developed countries to contribute at the rate of $100 billion per year by 2020 to the so-called Green Climate Fund. Again, this is recycling the phony commitments of Copenhagen, while introducing the World Bank into the picture as trustee of the fund. As the Transnational Institute notes, the World Bank “has been strongly opposed by many civil society groups due to the undemocratic makeup of the Bank and its poor environmental record.” Patrick Bond points out that the World Bank “promotes export-led growth, resource extraction, energy privatization and carbon markets with unshaken neoliberal dogma”.

    On the whole, Cuba’s statement is very disappointing, and stands in marked contrast to the principled position taken by Bolivia and by NGO’s like the Indigenous Environmental Network.