Distinghuished Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers, Heads of Delegations, Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all Suriname condemns the terrorist attack in Algiers on Tuesday. We offer our heartfelt and most sincere condolences to the Government and people of Algeria, the UN and ESPECIALLY to the families and friends of the victims.
President Witoelar, Suriname congratulates you with your election as President of COP13.
Allow me to convey to you, Mr. President, and to all distinguished delegates here present, the warm and friendly greetings of the People and Government of the Republic of Suriname. And we want to thank Indonesia and especially the government and people from Bali for their hearty welcome and wonderful hospitality.
Most if not all of us have come here with varying expectations, but my delegation is convinced that this Conference will help to find solutions to the problems, which are universally identified and recognized as being a threat to the very existence of our planet.
The Republic of Suriname also congratulates the IPCC and Mr. Al Gore with being awarded the Nobel Peace Price this year.
It is very much fitting that this important Conference is being held in Bali, as this beautiful island can be one of the first fatal victims of the rising sea levels. We are here to jointly work with all of you in preventing this to happen.
All of us gathered here are very much aware of the fact that the phenomenon of climate change is much more than ecological, more than scientific, more than economic, more than financial and more than political.
Suriname is attending the Bali Conference on Climate Change with the ultimate goal to find consensus on a comprehensive agreement under the UNFCCC process. An agreement that should address climate change on all fronts, including adaptation, mitigation, clean technologies, deforestation, human rights and resource mobilization.
Suriname is a country with vast natural resources. We are among the top six countries in the world as far as freshwater resources are concerned.
Being part of the Guyana Shield, north of the Amazon, due to the size of our population and our land surface there is little population pressure. We are one of the High Forest Low Deforestation countries.
Eighty percent of the country is still covered by dense, pristine tropical rainforest with much biodiversity.
In fact, not too long ago, 24 new species were discovered, leaving to our imagination how much more unrevealed treasures of nature might be hidden in the unexplored areas.
Suriname’s vast and intact Amazon rainforest resources represent a critical asset base for global climate change mitigation. Although increased pressures for commercial timber exploitation, Suriname has deliberately decided to maintain extensive portions of its rainforest. Presently, almost 80 percent of Suriname’s rainforest is still in its pristine state of which approximately one million hectares, about 13%, is under direct conservation. Suriname has long ago taken up her responsibility in the fight against further climate change.
We, therefore, support the idea of “preventive credits”, as suggested by some institutions. We believe that carbon capture and storage techniques that are environmentally sound must be promoted.
While recognizing that a global response is required to address climate change, we also face the need as a developing country to keep our economy growing. In order for Suriname to continue to take action for climate change mitigation and adaptation, we should be aware that these unilateral efforts on deforestation will only be successful if economically viable alternatives are being offered for countries as my own.
It is therefore critical that countries are not only rewarded for the re-planting of forest trees but also the preservation of pristine forests.
Suriname is a proponent of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), but would like to ensure that biodiversity conservation is included in this mechanism. Biodiversity is more than flora and fauna, that is why we strongly support the adoption of the “payment for ecological credits”.
Suriname is committed to living up to its responsibilities in this world. However, as a country with standing rainforest, we can not just carry the burden of the emitting world while our economies suffer. We need actions to be launched and incentives must be provided to developing countries like Suriname so that we can conserve the forest and at the same time live up to our obligations under the Millenium Development Goals.
We need transfer of Technology across all sectors, where our indigenous and maroon communities would benefit most from technologies on sustainable forestry methods .
The Clean Development Mechanisms are of importance to Suriname, however we would like to see that the procedures become much less complicated. Also we want it to be recognized that their should be adequate and sufficient capacity building to allow for a proper implementation of the CDM projects.
Suriname looks forward to the establishment of a simple and transparent procedure for applying and approving projects.
International studies and reports have ranked Suriname as one of those extremely vulnerable to climate change because of the impact on human beings and economic activities. Both adaptation and mitigation measures will be required to stave off the effects of climate change.
In this regard again, the transfer of technology and the availability of financial resources are of extreme importance. We call on the international community to provide us with these resources across all sectors.
Simultaneously with the transfer of Technology and the providing of financial resources , it is per today required of the world to make agressive global commitments and take immediate actions to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses to ensure that the rise of temperature is held well below 2 degrees Celsius
We are glad that the Adaptation Fund is a fact. We express the hope that it will turn out to be a transparent, easily accessible and results-oriented Adaptation Fund under UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol. This is of extreme importance for Suriname and countries like ours. We need all funding resources to be accessible, allowing us in turn to create an enabling environment for our economic activities, including adaptation to the effects of climate change in vulnerable areas like our coastal zone and hinterlands.
As many have said before me, it is the duty of us human beings to protect the most vulnerable. The consequences of Climate Change already strongly effect some of the most vulnerable groups in our world. Women form a big part of this group. Women who carry households on their own in many of our countries. Scarcity of food and degenerating health due to the effects of climate change will be part of daily life for them, therefore we would like to emphasize the need for effective gender mainstreaming throughout all programs and projects as a result of this convention, and the development of adequate monitoring mechanisms to ensure that gender is truly cross-cutting
In concluding, I will say again the phenomenon of climate change is much more than ecological, more than scientific, more than economic, more than financial and more than political. Therefore it requires much more from us than talk, it requires action, it requires the courage to commit to change today, it requires all of us taking responsibility for our world today and for conserving it for our future generations.
I call upon you to have the courage to commit to change, it is the first of human qualities, because it is the quality which will save this world!
Thank you Mr. President