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Monday, January 24, 2011

moving out of the ldc list doesn’t mean we do not need support

The head of Bhutan’s Environment Monitoring Division of the National environment Commission, Thinley Namgyel, one of the key climate change negotiators for Bhutan, talks to Business Bhutan reporter, Dawa T. Wangchuk, on the outcome of COP16

Q. Is Bhutan satisfied with the outcome at the sixteenth Conference of Parties (COP16)?
I think, compared to last year, we are satisfied with the outcome. In terms of adaptation we are quite pleased. The adaption frame work has been set up and it has given more prominence to what matters to us. However, on the mitigation front more needs to be done.
Q. Do you think there will ever be a proper outcome of the talks?
There should be eventually and we are all optimistic about it. However, we can’t hide the fact that it all depends on what happens with the major players. But there were concrete and positive steps at Cancun.

Q. Bhutan committed itself to remain carbon neutral for all times to come at COP15 last year, has Bhutan pledged anything at COP16?
This year we did not commit anything. Last year, we pledged to remain carbon neutral and we stick by it. We remind everyone in every forum on what we have done. While we highlight all these things we are still facing the impacts of climate change despite all our efforts.
Q. If ever Bhutan graduates out from the list of least developed countries (LDCs), what will happen regarding the financial assistance?
It’s going to be a challenge. If we come out of the list it’s good and it shows that we have progressed, but we will lose the preferential treatment. With this in mind, we go on with the negotiations. However, when you move out of the LDC list it doesn’t mean that we do not need the support, we do!
Q. In a recent media report, it was said that India changed its stand at the last moment at COP16, how will it affect Bhutan as well as the common SAARC stand?
Well, India actually played a constructive role. They have facilitated the deadlock that has been going on in the mitigation front. India found a solution for this. They were actually facilitative; this helps us because as a small country we want action. In terms of SAARC position we didn’t have a strong stand over it. We said we want concrete action that moves everything forward from Cancun.
Q. The money promised at COP15 last year by developed countries for developing nations came under the limelight after only half the amount was mobilized. Do you think the same will happen this year?
Well, this we have to see. Last year, they committed under the assumption that the Copenhagen Accord will be adopted but it wasn’t. So we can’t blame them also because the document was only taken note of and not adopted. However, this year it is formalized and everybody signed on it. The developed countries have also said that they will report each year to the UN secretary General on how much money has been mobilized each year.
Q. The Wikileaks issue was also deliberated at Cancun and it was revealed that developed countries like the US promised money to developing countries who in return support the US demands. Was Bhutan ever approached?
No! Bhutan was never approached. The list that Wikileaks revealed does not include Bhutan.

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