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In Warsaw, Amid Dispute on Loss & Damage, Ban Says It's Up to (Some?) States

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 20 -- After the developing countries in the Group of 77 walked out of the climate change talks in Warsaw on the issue of "loss and damage," Inner City Press on Wednesday in New York asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Farhan Haq what Ban would like to see happen, since this along with Darfur now Syria are his main issues.

Haq replied that "the Secretary-General has made it clear that thatís an issue to be resolved by the States who are attending these talks. And we are leaving that decision there, in their hands."

  To some this approach seems strange. On Syria, when resolutions were vetoed Ban expressed disappointment. Before Ban even saw Ake Sellstrom's report on chemical weapons he called it overwhelming and said Assad had committed many crimes against humanity.

  After being nearly silent during the slaughter of 40,000 civilians in Sri Lanka in 2009, Ban has come out with, if not issued, a "Rights Up Front" plan which says his Secretariat will take leadership positions. But not on this?

  Some point at the smaller but more powerful -- read, richer -- roster of countries who don't want to deal with "loss and damage" before 2015, and wonder whether "the member states" means SOME member states.

  There was more to Haq's answer, and so in fairness we run this from the UN's transcript, cleaning up the choppiness the UN leaves or inserts we're told at direction to undermine the questions:

Inner City Press: From the climate talks in Warsaw it is reported that a block of developing nations are very angry and walking out due to the failure to address who should pay for damages like the typhoon in the Philippines under the loss and damage provision damage, and that Australia said it should only be discussed after 2015. Given the importance of this issue to so many countries and to the issue of climate change, does the Secretary-General have any view of whether this issue of compensation for damages caused by climate change should be dealt with now, or should be put back beyond 2015?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: Yes, while he has been speaking in Warsaw, the Secretary-General has made it clear that thatís an issue to be resolved by the States who are attending these talks. And we are leaving that decision there, in their hands.

But, he has been very clear about the need for nations to come together at these talks; he wants the Conference of Parties that is under way in Warsaw to be a useful stepping stone in this process.

And one of the things he said is I agree that we are all in this together. We need to work together. We need to be united and we need to have solidarity among all the people around the world.

No single country, no single organization, can address this problem on its own. Yet, every single country can benefit from climate action at the global level. So, he is urging a unified stance, and letís see how that develops.

Yeah, let's see. Watch this site.


 

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