President Nasheed has said when addressing the issue of climate change, instead of focusing on what countries should not do, focusing on what countries should do, can be the answer to reaching an effective agreement at the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen.
He made this statement as the vice chairman at the High-Level Climate Summit of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). This is the first summit of the AOSIS coalition held at heads of state or government level.
The President said, changing the narrative by emphasizing countries to invest in green technologies, instead of cutting carbon emissions could help persuade them to come to an agreement.
Arguing the debate on climate change so far has revolved around what he called a ‘prohibition list’, the President said, a ‘positive list’ of actions would achieve the same results of keeping temperatures below the crucial 1.5 degree Celsius.
In reference to the ‘prohibition list’, the President said, “If we go to Copenhagen with this line of thinking, we can’t achieve an agreement.”
The President added that his proposal would be more attractive to developing countries such as China and India as well as to developed countries such as the United States and narrow down the differences between countries in reaching an agreement.
The President said the science of climate change was sorted and that it said if global temperatures were to rise above 1.5 degree Celsius that would result in the wiping out of small island states.
Saying that small island states did not do anything to create the situation they were in, while they were having to face the consequences, the President said AOSIS should speak in a ‘singular voice’ when the countries go to Copenhagen.
The President proposed calling for a special arrangement for small island states when the world leaders meet in Copenhagen.
Afterwards, in a closed roundtable meeting, the President pushed for amending the draft AOSIS declaration to reflect the thinking.
After certain reluctance to change the AOSIS thinking in the new language of calling for positive actions instead of negatives, the Maldives’ proposal was unanimously passed.
The members of the Maldivian delegation participating in the High-Level Summit believed the adoption of the AOSIS high-level declaration with the proposal was both a diplomatic victory as well as a way of changing the narrative underlining current climate negotiations.
The President along with the Chairman and Prime Minister of Grenada and President of Nauru later gave a press conference on the AOSIS declaration.
Secretary General of the United Nations Mr Ban Ki-moon also participated and spoke at the High-Level Climate Summit.
The Summit was held at the Rose Centre, American Museum of Natural History, New York.