Friday, May 15, 2009

Action declared at World Ocean Conference

Updated Fri May 15, 2009 3:48pm AEST

Seventy-five of the world's nations have adopted the so-called Manado Declaration on the final day of the World Ocean Conference talks in Indonesia. But the document was watered down after differences over the sharing of technology between developed and developing countries.

Presenter: Gavin Fang
Speaker: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesian President; Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State; Peter Garrett, Australia's Environment Minister

GAVIN FANG: A song composed by Indonesia's President opened the final day of the World Ocean Conference. The Indonesian leader then urged conference delegates to create their own harmony on tackling climate change.

SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: We therefore have to ensure that ocean sensitive policies be incorporated into technology so that humankind's approach to the challenge of climate change may be comprehensive and wholistic.

GAVIN FANG: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn't attend these talks but she sent a message by video.

HILLARY CLINTON: As we continue our efforts to address climate change we must remember that its effects can be seen not only in melting glaciers and dying coral reefs but also in damaged homes, falling wages, rising poverty, diminished opportunities.

GAVIN FANG: Indonesian officials say they're satisfied with the Manado Declaration which was adopted by 75 countries. There's no specific commitments in the declaration but countries have promised to do more to protect the world's oceans and work together to press for future climate change talks to give more consideration to marine ecosystems. Even getting that agreement required some negotiations, although Australia's Environment Minister played down talks of a split between developed and developing nations.

PETER GARRETT: We will be on the same page on what we agree are the critical and key issues to address. It's not just about writing things down and having a declaration, even though this will be a very important declaration, it's about making sure that we actually do the work together.

GAVIN FANG: What these talks have demonstrated is how difficult it is to get any kind of agreement on climate change and that should serve as a warning ahead of the critical talks in Copenhagen later this year.