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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        8  April 2011

African NGOs criticize developed countries

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Leaders from African civil society are critical of the role of developed countries, particularly the European Union (EU) in the UN climate negotiations currently being held in Bangkok.

At a press conference hosted by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), a network of more than 300 organisations from more than 45 countries, civil society leaders united behind African negotiators. The negotiators were continuing to fight against the EU's refusal to sign a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and against the United State's blocking tactics over the adoption of a comprehensive work plan for the negotiations for 2011.

"Developed countries, with the greatest responsibility, can't keep walking both sides of the street in these negotiations. This is time to build on - and not undermine - ambition. Parties need to find solutions in line with the global challenge. Now is the moment of truth, we need an outcome that can secure the lives and livelihoods of the world's most vulnerable people who are already suffering the consequences of climate change." Mohamed Adow, Senior Advisor for Global Climate Advocacy, Christian Aid said.

"The US is blocking these negotiations by trying to force the entire negotiations to only discuss the Cancun agreements. At the most, Cancun dealt with the soft issues so as to re-establish the trust that was so badly shattered in Copenhagen. What is needed now is to use that trust to tackle the hard issues that we omitted in Cancun, but which are necessary for science-and equity based action to address climate change and save Africa from catastrophe - that is significant emission reductions in developed countries," Tetteh Hormeku, of the Africa Trade Network said.

"Curiously, while the US and EU negotiators play political games, vulnerable women and children in Kenya continue to be devastated by the growing impacts of climate change. The Red Cross reported, before I arrived in Bangkok, that around 5 million people face starvation due to climate-inspired drought in North Eastern and other drier regions in Kenya. It seems like we are on the Titanic: we in Africa are at the bottom and sinking first, but those at the top - the US and the EU - should not feel so safe for they will also sink soon." Mithika Mwenda, coordinator of PACJA, said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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