15-16 November 2010
FACING THE CONSEQUENCES OF CLIMATE CHANGE: THE URGENT NEED FOR A MEANINGFUL AGREEMENT AT COP16
The Council of the Socialist International, meeting in Paris on 15-16 November 2010, reiterates the social democratic commitment to fighting climate change and its determination to advance with the struggle against this global phenomenon with its serious effects on the environment and human life. Welcomes the fact that the international community, during the past few months, has placed once more at the centre of its concerns the issue of climate change, reflecting the magnitude of the problem and the enormous efforts that are required to face it. Global warming should occupy a permanent place of priority on the international agenda;
Acknowledges that every day and all over the planet, at the level of governments, international organisations, scientific and academic communities, civil society and the media, awareness of the gravity of the climate phenomenon becomes stronger and there is a consensus for considering it as a global challenge of first importance, with direct repercussions on the daily lives of hundreds of millions of human beings and with very negative perspectives for the planet if we do not act now. Reiterates that the climate challenge requires a common effort based on shared but differentiated responsibilities. A decided, timely, ambitious and realistic action by the different actors who must join forces in this common cause for our planet and life on it must mobilise, from the local to the global, from the individual to the collective, from the private to the public levels. Observes with concern the attempts to put into question the solid scientific evidence that backs up the existence, magnitude and seriousness of the problem;
For us social democrats, Green Development is the positive answer for building a better future and a sustainable world society. For us social democrats, the way to achieve a sustainable development implies the setting in motion of scientific progress aimed at the reduction of emissions, international cooperation and technology transfers, alternative sources of energy and the development of clean and renewable energy. In addition, for us social democrats, sustainable development is a concept that contains an unavoidable ethical dimension: awareness of the seriousness of the situation implies an urgent and generous action in solidarity with nature, with humanity and with the future. For social democrats a sustainable world society needs to develop a Green Economy at global level, viewing it as a system of production, distribution and consumption concerned with the long-lasting wellbeing of all. The growing investment in green technologies, especially in the energy sector, with political reforms aimed at their promotion; a greater green participation in the national and world production; the creation of more and better green employment; the decrease of waste originated by the processes of production, and also the reduction of energy consumption and gas emissions, are initiatives encouraged by the social democrats;
The Socialist International observes with optimism the fact that today millions of people are assuming their own tasks in the building of a sustainable development model, keeping themselves interested and informed, demonstrating in the streets or through information networks, creating their own forms of organisation, adopting changes in their life styles, habits and a more restrained consumer behaviour. The International is engaged in these efforts of men and women throughout the world and its member parties are also committed to give them a political expression. We social-democrats stand for greater global solidarity. Our programmes of government and the progressive public policies must respond to this collective task.
The Council of the Socialist International, in line with its longstanding concern over climate change, reiterates its appreciation for the work carried by the SI Commission for a Sustainable World Society. The Council encourages the Commission members to continue their work and hopes that their next meeting in Mexico City on 26-27 November on the eve of COP16, delivers a clear social-democratic message to be considered in the Cancun negotiations. The Council expresses its wish that COP16 may advance, in an ambitious and realistic way, on the following points:
1. To insist in the urgent need to advance towards the conclusion of an ambitious and realistic international agreement on climate change, with binding commitments, with objectives and deadlines to have a clear achievement;
2. To define an outline of an international financial architecture to combat climate change. The materialisation of the Green Fund agreed in Copenhagen, must be a priority in order to ensure that by 2020 the objective of 100 billion dollars per year is achieved, which will be transferred to the developing countries to fight climate change.
3. To support the proposals made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 5 November 2010, some of which form part also of the recommendations made by our Commission, including a tax on financial transactions and on air and sea transport and the redirection of fuel subsidies, among others;
4. To advance the schemes of compensation, technological cooperation, training and financing of measures for the adaptation and mitigation;
5. To encourage the actions for the reduction of emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD activities plus), as a concrete expression of the cooperation among developed and developing countries to confront climate change;
6. To establish systems for measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of the commitments taken and of the actions undertaken to reduce emissions, while contemplating mechanisms to make binding these obligations and to agree sanctions in the case of non compliance;
7. To deepen the scientific and technological cooperation between developed and developing countries on issues of climate change. This interchange in the scientific and technological field must work towards the promotion of research and the use of green and advanced technology in the developing countries for equity and greater justice in international relations;
8. To keep at the heart of the debate the agreements which are reached and the actions which are undertaken in relation to people, taking particular care of the most vulnerable people, the migrants and displaced people due to climate change, the human settlements under threat, the repercussions of climate change in the world of labour, on food production, on access to running water and the economies of the developing nations, and in relation to the world and cultural heritage under threat, as has been called for by the Socialist International Council in its recent resolutions adopted in Budva, Santo Domingo and New York;
9. The SI Council expresses its confidence that the year which has passed since COP15 has been a fruitful period, one in which it has been possible to advance with some of the issues which were not built on in Copenhagen. We approach Cancun with realism and with hope. The international community must live up to its responsibilities, it must provide the means to act now, and it must not continue to postpone crucial decisions while the environment and living conditions on the planet degrade.
10. The SI Council trusts that the international institutions, nations, peoples and political forces assume their responsibilities and that they don’t renege on their commitments to the planet, that their voices don’t lose force and that they don’t allow fatalism or conformism to dominate.
In 1972, almost forty years ago, the first great conference of the United Nations on climate change took place. Twenty years later, in Rio de Janeiro, the world confirmed its commitment to biodiversity and its respect for nature. Kyoto and Johannesburg resonate in our memories as other signposts on the road to the construction of a viable future. We are now steps away from 2012 and Rio+20. Today we have within our reach, the opportunity to show respect for our planet, our home and our common future, which implies at the same to be respectful with our equals, with ourselves, and with the future. From Paris, the Council of the Socialist International appeals to take the opportunity which Cancun presents and fulfil now this obligation with nature in order to make the difference and to continue changing the world.