UNISDR-PAM parliamentarians meeting ends with “Malta Declaration” to COP15

Parliamentarians from across the world have agreed upon a common position to be presented at the forthcoming UN Climate Conference, COP15, in Copenhagen next month. At the end of the International Roundtable of Parliamentarians on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation on 24 November 2009, the participating MPs unanimously adopted “The Malta Declaration of the Commitment by Parliamentarians to COP 15 and Beyond.”
The meeting was organized by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), as well as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) and the Government of Malta. Participants included members of parliaments from as far as Algeria, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Malta, Namibia, Senegal, Uganda and Turkey, in representation of regional parliamentary assemblies from Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Mediterranean.
The gathering represented a critical step in a process started by the UN in every region in the adoption of this common position and to relay a strong message to the Parties to the COP15.
The UN will circulate “The Malta Declaration” to all Heads of States and Governments ahead of the Copenhagen meeting, and the message will be also conveyed to the COP15 participants by the UN Secretary General. Additionally, the participants requested the personal support in Copenhagen of the Prime Minister of Malta, H.E. Lawrence Gonzi.
Furthermore, and also at the request of the participants, the PAM delegation to COP15 has been asked to highlight the concerns and hopes of the parliamentarians who drafted and adopted the document.
The declaration reflects how parliamentarians can unite across borders and cultures. The most important result is that in Copenhagen, parliamentarians are going with one voice, which is the
“voice of the peoples they represent, their aspirations, their views and their knowledge,” as Hon. Suleiman Ghneimat of Jordan, Vice President of PAM, said at the conclusion of the conference.
Both UNISDR and PAM sincerely believe that parliamentarians must continue to be the driving force behind their governments, as well as, through their contacts with their constituencies, build awareness and ensure immediate action by all actors of society. “That is why this final declaration proactively invites governments to demonstrate the utmost political will to guarantee a positive outcome at the COP15,” stated PAM’s Secretary General, Dr. Sergio Piazzi.
As far as disaster-related issues and climate change adaptation were concerned, Ms. Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, said that, “parliamentarians should use all available instruments of their legislative bodies to ensure that measures are integrated in national planning and budget processing. Investment is crucial in these areas for better risk management and prevention as well as adaptation to climate change.”
The participants at the Malta conference of parliamentarians stressed that the private sector, civil society and other relevant stakeholders should use their influence to see that all COP 15 decisions are implemented. Over and above, a particular reference was made to the private sector, calling on it to play its part by setting aside no less than 10% of corporate social responsibility funding for the specific use for disaster risk management and climate change adaptation programmes and projects.
Finally, the participants resolved to meet in early 2010, with PAM’s help, to follow-up both on the results of COP15 as well as to coordinate action at the regional and national levels in the implementation of decisions and to discuss how their action can be most effective with their governments.
The closing session was addressed by Hon. Louis Galea, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Malta, and Minister for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Hon. George Pullicino.

ISSUED ON: 26.11.2009

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