UN General Assembly President confident Climate Change Agreement will be honoured
UN General Assembly President, Peter Thomson of Fiji, with the Secretary General of the ACP Group, Dr. Patrick I. Gomes at the opening of the 105th Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels 3-5 May 2017.
BY Lance Polu
ACP, BRUSSELS: The Paris Agreement on climate change will be honoured and followed through despite the shifting rhetoric of the US President Donald Trump about climate change.
This is the assurance from the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Peter Thomson of Fiji. He was speaking at the opening of the 105th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels, 3 May 2017, where he said that multilateral agreements are essential to manage supply and demand in a global sense.
“Multilateralism is absolutely essential as basic fundamentals of supply and demands remain and the only way we can manage the supply and demand in a global sense is through these multilateral agreements and organisations like the UN, ACP and EU,” he told the media after addressing the 79 member ACP Council of ministers.
Asked about President Trumps shifting rhetoric about climate change and the Paris Agreement, Thompson advises to let the dust settle before reaching conclusions as it’s an administration in transition.
“What’s clear in Washington after first 100 days, a lot of expectations as what was in the campaign rhetoric are actually being delivered in a different way. A lot of work has gone into the agreement. My own Prime Minister has been very direct with Trump to honour the Agreement and met (Australia’s Prime Minister) Malcom Turnbull last week where he delivered a strong message of sticking to the course of the Paris climate change Agreement,” explained Thomson.
A diplomat who has the experience and institutional knowledge of the African, Caribbean, Pacific Group from establishment under Lome 1 to the current Cotonou Agreement that runs out in 2020, he has faith in the 79 member country organisation that is undergoing the reforms needed to transform the Group into an effective global player.
“The fact is, the great mass of global opinion, the critical mass of governments, everybody’s committed to realizing the Paris Agreement. Mind you, the United States is a very green country, and there are many green states on renewable energy,” he said.
“Rising populism, governments come and go. The inexorable human and economic history of 21st century is what the development agenda addresses of supply and demand – resources to supply a ballooning middle-class who wants more and there’s not enough.”
Thomson is also focused on achieving the sustainable development goals by 2030.
“Where I think we need to do a lot of work is to get humanity itself to understand the logic of SDGs and why it’s important. If we have to transform the world by 2030, then we need to.”
“I place my faith in the fact that we have very strong multilateral agreements such as the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the mosaic of agreements.
“I do believe people will see the logic and understand we have to do this for the sake of our children and grandchildren.”
Thomson also has a lot of faith in innovation and technology and the UN is convening the Innovation Technology conference in New York 17 May 2017 to work out how the exponential growth in technology can be harnessed and be more inclusive.
The world will be connected within ten years. “This must mean better education, better information and must have huge implications for mankind – both good and bad.”
“Once you become aware of things like gene editing, you realize how humanity can change over the 21st century. Are we on top of this? I don’t think so. I want to introduce that conversation on 17 May. I want people to understand it is there and approved by many governments. When you think about gene editing and what it means in exacerbating the difference between the rich and the poor and so on…..that it (has the potential to) will make the rich more beautiful and more powerful.”
There is also the issue of humans losing jobs to robots.
Other than Presidency of the UN General Assembly, Fiji, is playing a leading role both through its Presidency of COP23 in Bonn, Germany this year and Co-Presidency of The Ocean Conference in New York 5 to 9 June 2017.
“If the Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved in the next 14 years, the ongoing leadership of African, Caribbean and Pacific nations, and of the ACP Group itself, will be vital,” says Thomson.