“Big or small, you are all like Costa Rica, without an army to defend your borders against climate change. It means we are all at the mercy of the international system’s collective ability to keep peace vis-a-vis climate change. It’s time we do just that.”
Such was the mic-dropping closure of Costa Rica’s Foreign Ministry Manuel González during his intervention in the high-level meeting of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), a relatively young but strinkingly mature forum composed of developing countries from Africa, Asia and Latin America.
González is true. It doesn’t matter if we manage to exponentially multiply our economic output during the following decades: if the parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change fail to address the global warming during this year’s summit and our emissions are not properly reduced, little else matters. (He also made a reference to the country’s lack of an army, which forces it to rely on international law).
What’s this Forum? It defines itself as a “an international partnership of countries highly vulnerable to a warming planet” that serves “as a South-South cooperation platform for participating governments to act together to deal with global climate change”.
Long story short: it’s a very diverse group of countries from around the world, surely among the most vulnerable, but that’s not the crucial link. Rather, it’s their willigness to make their own effort to fight climate change.
The CVF’s signal is strong. These are relatively small and developing countries, definitely not rich nor responsible for the historical emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but neither willing to pasively wait until the world warms, sea rises and their people suffer even more. So they are standing up and doing their things on their own.
And stand up against whomever. For these nations, it doesn’t matter if emissions come from a world superpower or from an emerging economy: carbon dioxide will make them vulnerable, disregard on who freed it in the first place.
The group was initially composed of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Kiribati, Madagascar, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam. New members are being accepted during COP21.
The group, however, received a hard comment from UNFCCC Secretary General, who praised its ideal but urged to transform their collective efforts into something concrete within the negotiations.
“I don’t see the countries around this table working in a coordinated and articulate manner for the Paris Agreement”, said Figuere