Climate Vulnerable Forum
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 which are disproportionately affected by the consequences of global warming. The forum addresses the negative effects of global warming as a result of heightened socioeconomic and environmental vulnerabilities. These countries actively seek a firm and urgent resolution to the current intensification of climate change, domestically and internationally.
The CVF was formed to increase the accountability of industrialized nations for the consequences of global climate change. It also aims to exert additional pressure for action to tackle the challenge, which includes local action by countries considered susceptible. Political leaders involved in this partnership are "using their status as those most vulnerable to climate change to punch far above their weight at the negotiating table". The governments which founded the CVF agree to national commitments to pursue low-carbon development and carbon neutrality.
The CVF was founded by the Maldives government before the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, which sought to increase awareness of countries considered vulnerable. Eleven governments from Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Pacific, representing the countries most vulnerable to climate change, met near the Maldives capital of Malé in November 2009. The governments issued a declaration expressing alarm at the pace of change and damage as a result of global warming, stating that these conditions are "an existential threat to our nations, our cultures and to our way of life" and "undermine the internationally-protected human rights of our people".
A group of countries which emit small amounts of greenhouse gases enacted the CVF declaration, pledging to lead the world to a low-carbon (and, ultimately, carbon-neutral) economy. The CVF recognized the need for international support to achieve these objectives in vulnerable countries. A number of these countries’ leaders, including Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, are key figures in the CVF. The vulnerable countries received significant media attention at the Copenhagen summit, where they were involved in closed-door negotiations with leaders of the United States and China. The CVF Declaration committed to achieve a concentration of no more than 350 ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere and limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (or less) above preindustrial levels. This position was later adopted by the Alliance of Small Island States. Antigua, Barbuda, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, the Marshall Islands and Samoa also followed Maldives as developing countries committed to low-carbon development or carbon neutrality.
The founding countries pledged to demonstrate moral leadership and work towards a green economy by committing to carbon neutrality. They called upon all countries to follow the moral leadership of Maldives, the first country to pledge to achieve carbon neutrality. Maldives held an underwater cabinet meetingon the dangers of the current sea level rise, and was the CVF's first chair from 2009 to 2010.
Kiribati was the second chair of the CVF, from 2010 to 2011. It hosted the Tarawa Climate Change Conference on November 9–11, 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. In May 2013 a follow-up statement about the 2010 conference and the agreements reached there was made, indicating disappointment and asking if focusing on two new provisions (greenhouse gas emissions and climate change) would better serve their goals.
Bangladesh was the third chair of the CVF, from 2011 to 2013. Its government hosted a ministerial meeting of the forum on November 13–14, 2011 in Dhaka, where Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon were keynote speakers at its inauguration ceremony. Nineteen climate-vulnerable countries supported the Declaration, and it was adopted in Dhaka on November 14, 2011.
Twenty governments have participated in the CVF from key developing regions around the world. In 2009, the following countries adopted its first declaration: Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Ghana, Kenya, Kiribati, Maldives, Nepal, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Vietnam Two years later, the following countries adopted its second declaration: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Kiribati, Madagascar, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Vietnam. Observer states are Australia, China, Denmark, Democratic Republic of the Congo, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
In September 2012, the CVF established a trust fund administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). United Nations agencies collaborate in implementing activities linked to the CVF with the UNDP, the lead organization supporting the forum's work. DARA, an independent, nonprofit organization based in Madrid, had previously provided institutional support to the CVF.
Climate Vulnerability Monitor
The CVF and DARA published the Climate Vulnerability Monitor, "The State of the Climate Crisis," in December 2010. The global study covered 184 countries affected by 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, "A Guide to the Cold Calculus of a Hot Planet", was published in September 2012. It expanded on the first report’s analysis, describing 34 indicators of positive and negative effects predicted to result from climate change.
The purpose of the CVF is to channel input from the most vulnerable groups, creating new policies and promoting effective action on climate change as it evolves. The forum is recognized as a voice on international climate-change issues.
Economics blogger Tim Worstall criticizes the CVF for failing to consider all sides of the issue, focusing solely on the cost of climate change and the detrimental effects of economic and technological activities. Worstall suggests an unbiased approach considering costs and benefits, asking: "Are we going to be better off without climate change, or without fossil fuels?" However, the forum's latest Climate Vulnerability Monitor specifies the costs and benefits of addressing climate change instead of continuing current trends in the globally fossil fuel-intensive economic pathway. Its analysis relies on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) greenhouse gas emission projections and studies showing carbon-intensive energy means indicating 10-100 times the level of negative externalities when compared to climate-safe alternatives.
Scholarly discussion of climate vulnerability and the meaning of vulnerability itself is more subjective, leading to a separate (but closely linked) debate. There are clear discrepancies in how different countries deal with climate change, leading to dissent about how the issue should be handled at the international level. A question is, "Are countries with better economic standing responsible for helping less privileged countries deal with climate change?" According to a spokesperson for the Climate and Development Knowledge Network, climate vulnerability is an issue of "equity and human rights" determined by climate change’s effect on a given nation's environment and the level of that nation’s preparedness and available resources to deal with its challenges.
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Our experience has not been entirely optimistic. After the Copenhagen meeting, there was a lot of disappointment. Much of our disappointment was based on our high expectations of what the outcomes might be. Like any major international treaty, it doesn’t happen overnight, or even after a couple of years or even ten years. I think we have major treaties in place which took decades to conclude. With the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, I don’t think we’ll conclude until we change our approach. It’s always been my contention that we’re dealing with too much detail in a document that’s highly controversial because the issues are very critical to different countries at different levels of development. My view has been to agree on a broad document and then deal with issues on a piecemeal basis. Unless we do that, our hopes for success are very dim.
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