Nineteen of the most vulnerable countries to climate change agreed on 14 November 2011 to present a unified front filling the leadership gap ahead of COP17 in Durban as they signed the Dhaka Declaration of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, following a major ministerial meeting held in Bangladesh.
Inaugurated by the UN Secretary General, Ban-Ki moon, participating countries insisted on urgent adoption of a comprehensive and legally-binding global agreement capable of fully attaining the objectives of the UNFCCC.
The Forum’s Declaration called on Durban to ensure a second term of the Kyoto protocol without a gap between the first and the second, and a legally-binding agreement on greenhouse gas emissions cuts. It also included committing the group of vulnerable countries to low carbon development and called for a new global Climate Vulnerability Monitor on low-carbon development.
President Figueres stated that ”rich nations need to show empathy, they need to show they care, they need to show a sense of urgency with respect to addressing challenges that are not only of the developing world, they are their challenges as well. At the end of the day climate change affects us all.”
The Dhaka Declaration also reaffirms the commitment by climate vulnerable countries to focus on adaptation, particularly in the short term in order to minimize immediate danger, and calls on developed countries to support the implementation of schemes. Similarly, the declaration recognizes an urgent need for technology transfer from the international community as a means of ensuring fuller and more pragmatic technological developments.
Sheik Hasina, Honorable Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Bangladesh, addressed the delegates:
“Climate change caused over 300,000 additional deaths last year. We the vulnerable countries suffer the most for our limited coping capacities. Bangladesh and other vulnerable countries could not wait for international response to climate causes…we are implementing 134 climate change adaptation and mitigation action plans.”
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who inaugurated the conference said:
“Governments [of major emitters] must lead the way to catalyze the $100 billion dollars per annum from public and private sources that was pledged to 2020. Durban must complete what was agreed last year in Cancún.”
The 19 signatory countries who adopted the declaration were: Afghanistan, Bangladesh (chair), Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Kiribati, Madagascar, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam. The Forum was organized by Banglaseh and technically supported by DARA.