Climate Vulnerable Forum
||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (November 2013)|
Climate Vulnerable Forum
|-||Chair||Costa Rica (2013–)|
|-||Previous Chairs||Bangladesh (2011–2013) Kiribati (2010–2011)|
|-||Founding Chair||Maldives (2009–2010)|
|-||Malé Declaration||10 November 2009|
The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) is a global partnership of countries that are disproportionately affected by the consequences of global warming as a result of heightened socio-economic and environmental vulnerabilities that actively seek a firm and urgent resolution to a current intensification of climate change, both domestically and internationally.
The CVF was formed as a means of increasing the accountability of industrialized nations for the harmful consequences of global climate change and to exert additional pressure for ambitious action to tackle the challenge, including through local actions by vulnerable countries. Political leaders involved in the CVF have been described as “using their status as those most vulnerable to climate change to punch far above their weight at the negotiating table”. The CVF founding governments agreed to national commitments for pursuing low-carbon development or carbon neutrality.
The CVF was founded at the initiative of the Maldives government just prior to the major United Nations Copenhagen Summit in late 2009, where it sought a heightened awareness and presence of the vulnerable. Eleven governments from Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Pacific representing some of the countries most vulnerable to climate change met near the Maldives capital of Malé in November 2009 and signed the CVF into force with a declaration that expressed alarm at the pace of change and damages taking hold as a result of global warming. The declaration referred to “an existential threat to our nations, our cultures and to our way of life”, that also “undermines the internationally-protected human rights of our people”.
The initiative was enacted by a group of countries that emit very small amounts of warming greenhouse gases, but pledged a commitment to lead the world into a low-carbon and ultimately carbon-neutral economy. The CVF nevertheless recognized the need for international support to achieve these objectives within vulnerable countries. A number of vulnerable countries, among them key figures in the CVF, especially Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, subsequently captured significant media attention at the Copenhagen Summit and were involved in closed negotiations there with leaders of global powers, such as the US and China. The CVF Declaration committed to achieve a concentration of no more than 350 parts-per-million of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere, and to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or below above pre-industrial levels, later adopted as a position also by the Alliance of Small Island States. Antigua and Barbuda, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Marshall Islands and Samoa also subsequently followed the Maldives as developing countries committed to aggressive national low-carbon development if not carbon neutrality.
The founding countries pledged to show moral leadership and commence greening their economies by voluntarily committing to achieving carbon neutrality. They called upon all countries to follow the moral leadership shown by the Maldives, the first country to pledge to achieve carbon neutrality. Maldives also made a mark in the public sphere by holding an Underwater Cabinet Meeting on the dangers of sea level rise caused by global warming.
The Maldives was the first Chair of the CVF from 2009 to 2010.
Kiribati is the previous chair of the CVF from 2010 to 2011.
During its leadership, Kiribati hosted the Tarawa Climate Change Conference, from November 9 to 11, 2010, where the Ambo Declaration was signed by 12 countries: Kiribati, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, the Republic of the Maldives, Cuba, Brazil, Fiji, Japan, China, the Marshall Islands, New Zealand and Australia.
The Dhaka Declaration was adopted on 14 November 2011 by 19 climate-vulnerable countries.
Twenty governments have participated in the CVF from a variety of key developing regions of the world.
Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Ghana, Kenya, Kiribati, Maldives, Nepal, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Vietnam adopted the First Declaration in 2009.
The Second Declaration (2011) was adopted by Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Kiribati, Madagascar, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Vietnam.
Australia, China, Denmark, Democratic Republic of the Congo, European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, United Kingdom and United States.
The CVF established a Trust Fund in September 2012 that is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). United Nations agencies collaborate in implementing activities linked to the CVF with the UNDP also a lead agency supporting the Forum's work. DARA, based in Madrid, has also previously provided institutional support to the CVF.
Climate Vulnerability Monitor
The Climate Vulnerable Forum, along with DARA, published the Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2010: The State of the Climate Crisis in December 2010, a global study covering 184 countries of the short-term impacts of climate change in four key areas: health, weather disasters, habitat loss and economic stress.
A second edition of the Climate Vulnerability Monitor was published in September 2012 and entitled "A Guide to the Cold Calculus of a Hot Planet". It expanded the analysis of the first report to 34 different indicators of positive and negative effects estimated to result as consequences of climate change and additionally from pollution linked to the causes of climate change.
The Climate Vulnerable Forum constitutes a scholarly conversation within itself—the purpose of the Forum, as a partnership of governments of developing countries self-identified as particularly affected by climate change, is to channel inputs from the perspective of most vulnerable groups into policy-making and to promote effective action on climate change as its effects evolve. The Forum has been recognized as a striking voice on international climate change issues. One critic though, Tim Worstall, an economic blogger, criticized the Forum's work for failing to consider all sides by only focusing on the costs of climate change and the detrimental effects of various economic and technological activities and suggested that a more unbiased approach should involve considering both the costs and benefits, asking the question “Are we going to be better off without climate change or without fossil fuels?"  The Forum's latest Climate Vulnerability Monitor does however specifically address the costs and benefits of action to address climate change versus a continuation of current trends in the global, fossil fuel intensive, economic pathway - the analysis relies on IPCC greenhouse gas emission projections and studies showing that carbon-intensive energy means imply 10-100 times the level of negative externalities as for climate safe alternatives.
Scholarly conversation around the topic of “climate vulnerability” is another discussion; the meaning of "vulnerability" itself is more subjective, leading to a separate, though closely linked debate. There are clear discrepancies between how different countries deal with climate change, leading to dissent about how the issue should be handled on an international level: Are countries with better economic standing responsible for helping less privileged countries deal with climate change? According to a spokesperson from the Climate and Development Knowledge Network, climate vulnerability is an issue of “equity and human rights”, determined by the combination of climate change’s effect on the environment of a given nation and the level of that nation’s preparedness and available resources to deal with those challenges and changes.
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