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Dhaka Declaration

The Dhaka Ministerial Declaration of the Climate Vulnerable Forum

14 November 2011

We, Ministers and representatives of Governments from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific, members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, representing a significant number of countries most vulnerable to climate change and meeting in Dhaka on 14 November 2011,

Recalling the 2009 Male’ declaration as the founding document of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, created at the initiative of the Republic of Maldives, and the 2010 Ambo Declaration, agreed under the leadership of the second Forum chair, the Republic of Kiribati,

Mindful of the firmly robust and unequivocal scientific basis of accelerating global climate change, wherein human activities are indisputably the principal and growing cause as well as of the imperative to act with urgency,

Standing indivisible as we are in our determination to act to bring about a resolution to the global menace of climate change which ultimately entails ever greater human suffering, inequity and irreversible damage to the Earth,

Resolute thereby in our commitment to pursuing, autonomously as an independent strategic choice and to the extent possible, national green development pathways, in spite of our limited capacities and negligible present and historical contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are the principal cause of climate change,

Reaffirming herein the objectives and principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, as well as the commitments of its parties, to enable its full, effective and sustained implementation through immediate and long-term cooperative action,

Acknowledging that the challenges of climate change are global in nature and call for the most extensive and inclusive cooperation by all countries, on the basis of equity and in accordance with common but differentiated responsibilities, historical responsibility, and respective capabilities and socio-economic conditions as laid down in the UNFCCC,

Concerned at the findings of the Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2010, an independent study examining the current and near-term socio-economic impacts of climate change that point to a large-scale and growing worldwide crisis,

Noting that many heavily affected developing countries are low-lying, small-islands, isthmus, land-locked, remotely located, arid and semi-arid and least developed; and are faced with rapid on-set and/or slow on-set climate phenomena affecting productive capacities, and often reversing developmental gains,

Noting further that climate change is rendering development projects costlier and compelling diversion of already inadequate funds from development to costly adaptation programmes,

Mindful nonetheless of the possibility that highly effective adaptation responses to climate change could be capable of limiting, in a cost-effective manner, a significant range of adverse socio-economic and environmental consequences, particularly with respect to human health,

Aware that climate change induced displacement of people is a major concern and their relocation puts enormous pressure on infrastructures and service facilities; and furthermore, large-scale displacement has the potential to transform into security concerns,

Recognising that migration is a viable adaptation strategy to ensure that populations are not compelled to reside in high risk and affected areas, and to manage risks during displacement; and furthermore a planned strategy in the long-term to offer displaced populations with enhanced options for a dignified and diversified livelihood,

Emphasizing that climate change related impacts have a range of implications, both direct and indirect, undermining our government’s ability to ensure the full and effective enjoyment of human rights and that resultant humanitarian crises, if not adequately addressed, may create multifaceted security challenges,

Seized in this light of the window of opportunity for preventing irreversible changes nationally regionally, and globally as fast narrowing and that a failure to arrest further anthropogenic factors to climate change indeed implies existential threats for a significant number of the most vulnerable countries,

Reaffirming also the continued relevance of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development and the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development,

Recalling the Copenhagen Accord and the Cancun Agreements including commitments made by industrialized countries to take mitigation actions and developed countries to provide specified quantities of climate finance for the adaptation and mitigation actions of developing countries,

Recognizing the inadequacy of essential commitments, in particular of mitigation actions proposed by industrialized countries for containing global temperature rise within the current internationally agreed goal of less than 2 degrees Celsius,

Expressing deep concern at the very slow realization of essential commitments, as well as the real possibility of a vacuum in the international, legally-binding framework governing GHG emission reductions at the expiry of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC, which could seriously endanger political and economic momentum,

Determined to seize this challenge of climate change as an opportunity for the manifestation of our resolve to attain sustainable development to help lead the world into a new era of prosperity in fullest harmony with the Earth and in the interest of the younger and future generations,

Adopt the following Declaration:

1.         We underscore that it is incumbent upon the developed countries, given their historical responsibility to climate change and taking into account their commitments to reduce our vulnerability, to extend all necessary support to our vulnerable countries so as to be able to respond to the challenges posed by climate change.

2.         We renew calls for a comprehensive legally-binding global agreement capable of fully attaining the objective of the UNFCCC, in all urgency and into the long-term, and voice the imperative for a well-calibrated balance in the global focus on adaptation and mitigation with emphasis on development and easy transfer of environmentally sound technology in nationally determined priority areas;

3.         We, as vulnerable countries, resolve to demonstrate moral leadership by committing to a low-carbon development path on a voluntary basis within the limitations of our respective capabilities, which are to a large extent externally determined by the availability of appropriate financial and technological support, and call on all other nations to follow this moral leadership.

4.         Adaptation

- We underscore the need of focusing on adaptation in particular in the short term in order to minimize growing and widespread harm, and seek support for initiatives and projects on adaptation with a view to developing and realizing urgent country-driven adaptation activities;

-           We call upon developed countries to support implementation in the developing countries, particularly in the most vulnerable countries, of our national adaptation plans and climate resilient development strategies and low carbon development plans;

5.         Mitigation

-           We reiterate our firm resolve to work collectively with the other Parties to the UNFCCC towards limiting foreseeable global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, peaking global GHG emissions by 2015, and thereafter achieving progressively ambitious emission reduction targets every subsequent decade targeting a sharp decline to a global reduction of 85% by 2050 relative to 1990 levels, and long-term atmospheric GHG concentrations to 350 ppm;

-           We underline the imperative for securing a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol with no gap between first and second commitment periods and the immediate conclusion of a broad-based and inclusive legally binding agreement on GHG emission cuts, enacted by all Parties on the basis of equity, common but differentiated responsibilities, and respective capabilities;

-           We seek necessary and immediate support for undertaking programmes to uphold mitigation by creating carbon sinks, dissemination of environmentally sound technologies, and establishing a balance in the energy mix by focusing on renewable and/or alternative energy;

6.         Finance

-           We demand that climate finance under the authority of the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC must be truly new and additional to Official Development Assistance commitments, as well as adequate, predictable, transparent and with comparable reporting, easily and directly accessible, and that may be supplemented through innovative sources of financing;

-           We demand further that decisions taken at Cancun on finance are realized through immediate implementation by ensuring accelerated disbursement of commitments made, prioritization of the most vulnerable countries, easy and direct access for nationally determined priority projects, preferably through public channels. We also demand early establishment of the Green Climate Fund, which itself should achieve operational implementation by 2013 at the latest;

-           We call upon the developed countries to make firm commitments on a progressive increase of funds with a specific and reasonable annual enhancement in the period 2013-2020 leading to USD 100 billion per year (in 2009 dollars) under the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and to realize those commitments;

-           We underscore the need for establishing a balanced adaptation window of at least a 50 percent allocation on adaptation for all climate finance within the GCF to address requirements of the most vulnerable countries in relation to the number of people affected, and the extent of the challenge of reducing vulnerability and consequential adverse effects;

-           We request that adaptation funds also be made available on an ongoing and predictable basis for the anticipated emergency response to severe weather events, with particular priority for vulnerable countries;

7.               Transfer of technology and capacity building

-           We declare that the most vulnerable countries need critical support from the international community in the areas of transfer of technology for adaptation in particular, but also for mitigation actions, and for both public and private sector capacity building;

-           We call for ensuring fuller and more pragmatic technology development, including appropriate models for generating hydrological scenarios at different scales in the affected regions to enhance water security through the adoption of climate resilient techniques, transfer and research and development to support crucial adaptation and green growth in vulnerable countries;

-           We also call for an immediate agreement to begin the progressive release and transfer of all technologies of beneficial effect for the adaptation and green development actions of vulnerable countries commensurate to the challenge of tackling climate change as implied by science, and including patented knowledge where these have resulted from the investment of public monies;

- We request for enhanced international collaboration and greater support on capacity building in order to enable us to respond effectively and comprehensively to minimize our risks to and impact of climate change, including the early, adequate and appropriately prioritized resourcing of the Climate Technology Centre and Network included in the Cancun Agreements;

-           We further request for technical assistance for public and private sector capacity building in our countries targeted at the development, registration and scaling-up of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects with high payoffs for adaptation as well as wider socio-economic/environmental co-benefits;

8.         General points

-           We urge the UN System, International Financial Institutions and other global organizations and forums to focus on building greater convergence on recognizing the nexus among environment, climate change, migration and development, and to work towards an enhanced reflection of the vulnerability of affected countries in the prioritization of projects and programmes under their respective mandated responsibilities.

-           We acknowledge the expression of solidarity of the UN Secretary-General and request him to use all means available to his Office to promote our cause and remain engaged with the Climate Vulnerable Forum;

- We call for a common framework/criteria for assessing climate vulnerability with respect to the allocation of funds, (giving due consideration, inter alia, to the scale and extent of the present impacts of intensifying natural disasters, likely losses and risks in future, respective capabilities and socio-economic conditions, and people exposed to the impact of climate change country by country);

-           In particular, we call for the immediate implementation of paragraph 14 (f) of the Cancun Agreements, which recognizes that migration is a viable adaptation strategy to address human displacement induced by climate change, and includes undertaking measures to enhance understanding, coordination and cooperation with regard to climate-induced displacements, migration and planned relocation; and in this respect call for the commencement of an international dialogue for an appropriate framework;

9. We urge the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), 2012 to recognize the very limited progress in achieving the objective of the UNFCCC and endorse the fundamental need to redouble efforts to limit further harm due to climate change;

10. We agree to work together in order to ensure widest possible dissemination of this declaration among all relevant national and international actors;

11. We recognize the important requirement of having enhanced clarity on the operational modalities of the Climate Vulnerable Forum and take note of a non-paper on provisional operational modalities as circulated by the People’s Republic of Bangladesh as a reference document;

12. We agree to that Costa Rica would host the next Forum.

13. We also agree on the following as part of the agreed Forum activities for November 2011-June 2012:

a.         Durban UNFCCC COP-17, South Africa: Side Event and delegation briefings to disseminate and support awareness, dialogue and implementation of the Dhaka declaration (November/December 2011).

b.         Roll-out CVF web site development (from January 2012).

c.         Rio+20 Technical Meeting to fine-tune substantive CVF inputs (April 2012).

d.         UNFCCC First Sessional: Feed-in delegate briefing documents updated against outcomes at/since COP-17 and delegate feedback, plus CVF focal point action (May 2012).

e.         Launch of second Climate Vulnerability Monitor report (June 2012).

f.          Rio+20 Caucusing: High-level coordination and communication (June 2012).

g.         Commence work on a new Low-Carbon Development Monitor.

14. We express our deep appreciation to Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh for hosting the Climate Vulnerable Forum 2011 in Dhaka.

Adopted at Dhaka, Bangladesh on 14 November 2011

List of the participating countries:

1. Afghanistan

2. Bangladesh

3. Bhutan

4. Costa Rica

5. Ethiopia

6. Ghana

7. Kenya

8. Kiribati 

9. Madagascar

10. Maldives

11. Nepal

12. Philippines

13. St. Lucia

14. Tanzania

15. Timor-Leste

16. Tuvalu

17. Vanuatu

18. Vietnam