Statement of non-governmental organisations from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine for the upcoming UN climate conference in December 2009 in Copenhagen

Participants of the International Conference “Strengthening the role of NGOs in policy-making in the field of climate change and energy” held in St.Petersburg on 12-13 November 2009, representatives of public organisations from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, are concerned about the slowdown in the process of international negotiations on climate change. We see a great danger of substituting a legally binding international agreement by a non-binding political declaration.

Public organisations call on government delegations from Belarus, Ukraine and Russia to take the constructive position at negotiations in Copenhagen, and do everything in their power to reach a legally binding international agreement.

1) We are strongly against the result of the conference in Copenhagen in a form of only a political ministerial declaration or other statement of heads of states and governments.

We believe that the conference in Copenhagen should make a formal decision of the UNFCCC to continue work on an international agreement with a clear indication of the legal status of the negotiations and the completion date.

The final result of negotiations under the UNFCCC should be the adoption of a legally binding agreement, subject to ratification. No compromises here are possible.

2) Separate Decisions of UNFCCC shall be made in Copenhagen on issues best developed in the process of negotiations in 2008-2009, such as immediate help to least developed countries, adaptation, tropical deforestation, capacity building of countries, and practical actions on these issues shall be started immediately.

3) We believe that Belarus, Russia and Ukraine can and should fully implement the IPCC recommendations not to increase global emissions of greenhouse gases during the next 5-10 years.

Until 2020, our countries should at least keep emissions at the pre-crisis level of 2008 (for Belarus and Russia, this is equivalent to the reduction of 35%, and for Ukraine – of 50% from the 1990 baseline – without taking into account absorption by forests).

By 2050, all developed countries, including our countries, must reduce their emissions by at least 80% with respect to 1990 levels.

4) We believe that the transfer of unused emission permits (quotas) from the first period of the Kyoto Protocol is legally possible only if the Protocol is extended as an international legal instrument. In the context of developing a new international agreement, the issue of quotas transfer from 2008-2012 is irrelevant. From the standpoint of the integrity of the new agreement, such transfer of quotas should not be allowed.

5) We believe that inter-state trading of quotas in the new agreement must be absent, because it does not contribute to real emission reductions.

6) We support the version of the Financial Mechanism of the new agreement, in which an international fund or funds operate under the guidance of the UNFCCC, but outside its framework. In this case, the contributions is required from all countries, including Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, but excluding the least developed, in dependence of the level of their economic development (in particular, GDP per capita). These contributions of all countries should be the subject of international monitoring, reporting and verification procedures. As a result, the total help to developing countries for prevention of climate change, adaptation and capacity building by 2020 should reach 160 billion dollars per year.

7) We note that it is of particular importance for our countries to have a scientifically based, clear and transparent accounting of the absorption and emission of greenhouse gases by terrestrial ecosystems, including forests, soils, wetlands and peatlands. The new agreement should ensure the preservation of ecosystem functions both for tropical and boreal forests, temperate forests, wetland systems, and permafrost. We emphasize that the forests and swamps are not only regulators of processes associated with the greenhouse effect, but also support the regime of the natural river flow, in particular, in the Arctic Ocean basin, which plays a key role in shaping regional and global climate change. In addition, boreal forests are the ancestral habitat of indigenous peoples that live close to nature and are the most vulnerable to climate change.

8) We are unanimous in saying that nuclear energy is not a way to address climate change and should not be supported under the new agreement.

9) We believe that the procedure for reporting on greenhouse gas emissions (and their removals by sinks) should be uniform for all countries of the agreement.

10) We support the efforts of Belarus to participate in the Kyoto Protocol and urge countries to ratify the amendment adopted earlier by the UNFCCC on the inclusion of this country in Annex B of the Protocol.

The experience of two years of negotiations showed that self-interest of countries is stronger than the desire to solve the global problem of anthropogenic climate change. Situation can be reversed only by common efforts of all countries and all participants of the Copenhagen process – from officials to environmental organisations and citizens. We are ready to defend the right of present and future generations to live in that climate, which nature has given us!

Delegates, representatives of public organizations:

Association of Environmental Journalists in St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, Russia
Balakovo Branch of the Russian Society for Nature Protection, Saratov region, Russia
Bryansk regional NGO”Viola”, Bryansk, Russia
Buryat Regional Association on Baikal, Ulan-Ude, Vladivostok, Russia
World Wildlife Fund. Moscow, Russia
Greenpeace Russia, Moscow
Friends of the Baltic, St.Petersburg, Russia
Green Cross, Moscow, Russia
Green Svit, Kiev, Ukraine
Kazan Branch of Socio-Ecological Union, Russia
Kolsky Environmental Coordination Center “Gaia”, Apatity, Russia
Kostroma regional public ecological movement “For Life”, Russia
International Socio-Ecological Union
MROEO “Bellona-Murmansk, Russia
National Ecological Center of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine
Novgorod club “Ecology”, Veliky Novgorod, Russia
Nature and Youth, Murmansk, Russia
Russian Socio-Ecological Union (RSEU), Russia
Samara SEU, Samara, Russia
Siberian Ecological Agency, Tomsk, Green Cross, Russia
Socio-Ecological Union, Maikop, Russia
Center for Transboundary Cooperation, St. Petersburg, Russia
Center for Environmental Initiatives, St.Petersburg, Russia
Center for environmental solutions, Minsk, Belarus
Black Sea Women’s Club, Odessa, Ukraine
Ecodefense, Russia
Ecohouse, Brest, Belarus
Ecoclub, Rovno, Ukraine
Ecological Center “Dront”, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
Ecological Association “Green Network”, Minsk, Belarus
Ecoproject, Minsk, Belarus
Ecological and Human Rights Center “Bellona”, St. Petersburg, Russia
ECOperestroika, St. Petersburg, Russia
Yaroslavl Environmental NGO “Green Branch”, Russia