Solomon Islands negotiator encouraged by draft Paris Outcome

Half-way through the negotiations here in Paris, Solomon Islands climate negotiator, Ambassador Colin Beck is encouraged by the draft Paris Agreement now before ministers this week to craft a new global climate treaty.

“The most important thing for the Pacific is that most of our key positions - below 1.5 degrees limit in global temperature rises, loss and damage, five year commitment, adaptation and financing are cemented in the proposed agreement, said Ambassador Beck.

Going forward, the challenge on our ministers is to ‘manage and defend these key asks to ensure that whenever these issues come up in the negotiations, they are not diluted but strengthened.’

The New York based diplomat, who has been leading Solomon Islands negotiations for many years is confident the current work-plan established by the French Presidency will help refine these positions in the coming days.

He said Article 5 which features two options for Loss & Damage, is now bracketed – and will be one of the important issues on the table for Pacific ministers at the negotiation.

“I think we need to look at this positively. It means that the Parties opposed to our position are at least engaging with us. If you have been following the negotiations, the original proposal was no text on Loss & Damage. If they are bracketing the current text, that means they are engaging.

“There are countries that have difficulties with our position but they recognise that it’s something they cannot ignore and that they have to engage. This is in part to the big push from Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States who have this as a key ask.

Ambassador Beck said a lot has been said here about ‘not leaving anyone behind’.

“If we are to leave no one behind, then the issue will have to be addressed in in terms of substance.”

“Even in the language the United States and other richer nations are beginning to use language that shows sympathy to the small and vulnerable nations – recognising Loss & Damage and 1.5 degrees as a thresh-hold for the limit to global temperatures.

On the question of regional solidarity at the Paris talks, Ambassador Beck brushed aside any division amongst Pacific Island Developing States.

“There is no division or second thoughts on all our key asks. Everyone is together. Our key positions are cemented in all our national positions. The only worry is we have too much to lose. No matter how much money thrown at us, it is still not enough to address the impacts of climate change, said Ambassador Beck.

He also refuted claims that 1.5 degrees is not possible.

“Let me just clarify that this is possible. The amount of technology and finance needed for below 2 degrees is the same as 1.5 degrees. The only difference is that technologies needed to bring down global temperature to 1.5 degrees is needed now rather than later. Those that are holding to below 2 degrees are basically asking for delayed action. What we are saying is this is happening now and the more we delay, the more expensive it will be.

Solomon Islands Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Samuel Manetoali is representing his island nation in the ministerial negotiation.