Taiwan wants support to help climate change initiatives

Dr Wu-Lien Wei, Representative of Taiwan in Germany, proposing a toast at the Sunday cruise on the River Rhine. Photo: NUKU'ALOFA TIMES

By ILIESA TORA (With compliments of DW Academy/UNFCCC)

BONN, Germany – November 14: (Nuku’alofa Times): On Sunday the Taiwanese delegation here at the COP23 hosted friends on board a boat during a cruise of the River Rhine.

It was a reception planned by the Government of Taiwan (Republic of China) to seek support from the media, politicians and Non Government Organisations in helping push Taiwan’s call for membership of the United Nations as a separate state from the People’s Republic of China.

Minister Lee Ying-yuan of the Environmental Protection Administration  speaking on Sunday. Photo: NUKU'ALOFA TIMES

Minister Lee Ying-yuan of the Environmental Protection Administration speaking on Sunday. Photo: NUKU’ALOFA TIMES

Minister Lee Ying-yuan of the Environmental Protection Administration and Dr Wu-Lien Wei, Representative of Taiwan in Germany hosted around 100 people on the cruise.

They both called for support in getting Taiwan back into the UN and the Climate Change talks.

Minister Lee said he was hopeful that friends would support them.

“We need your support so that we can also be in there to help the world fight climate change,” Minister Lee said.

“Leaders around the world, including the Pope, are increasingly calling for more to be done to combat the threats brought by climate change,” he said in a statement sent to the Nuku’alofa Times.

“The leader of Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen, has pledged that this country will be an unrelentingly positive force in pursuing the solutions so desperately needed to preserve our planet for future generations.

“Through bilateral agreements and multilateral cooperation, Taiwan has for a long time now quietly gone about fulfilling its role as a responsible member of the international community.

“We want nothing more than to work with other countries, and do all that can be done to tackle climate change. We will happily share our experience and knowledge in environmental protection, particularly those countries that really need help. Taiwan wants to be a contributor to the green energy policies, green industries, and green employment we must create to protect our planet.”

 

Politics

Because of politics Taiwan to this day still remains categorized as a colony or part of mainland China.

That despite the fact that Taiwan has her own government, own leader, own system and its own culture and tradition.

Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga of Tuvalu toasting Taiwan's call on the cruise. Photo: NUKU'ALOFA TIMES

Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga of Tuvalu toasting Taiwan’s call on the cruise. Photo: NUKU’ALOFA TIMES

For 23 years now they have waited on the sideline to be included but politicians just do not have the balls to stand up and vote them in because of the fear that they will upset the communist China.

So in silence Taiwan has been working behind the scene, doing their own bit in contributing towards efforts to protect the environment and our planet from the effects of climate change.

What an irony it is when the country had been one of the founding members of the United Nations but lost their seat to China in 1971.

In the early 1960s, Taiwan entered a period of rapid economic growth and industrialization, creating a stable industrial economy. In the 1980s and early 1990s, it changed from a one-party military dictatorship dominated by the Kuomintang to a multi-party democracy with a semi-presidential system.

Taiwan is the 22nd-largest economy in the world, and its high-tech industry plays a key role in the global economy. It is ranked highly in terms of freedom of the press, healthcare, public education, economic freedom, and human development.

The country benefits from a highly skilled workforce and is among the most highly educated countries in the world with one of the highest percentages of its citizens holding a tertiary education degree.

The PRC has consistently claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and asserted the ROC is no longer in legitimate existence.

Under its One-China Policy the PRC refused diplomatic relations with any country that recognizes the ROC.

Today 20 countries maintain official ties with the ROC but many other states maintain unofficial ties through representative offices and institutions that function as de factoembassies and consulates.

Although Taiwan is fully self-governing, most international organizations in which the PRC participates either refuse to grant membership to Taiwan or allow it to participate only as a non-state actor.

Internally, the major division in politics is between the aspirations of eventual Chinese unification or Taiwanese independence, though both sides have moderated their positions to broaden their appeal.

The PRC has threatened the use of military force in response to any formal declaration of independence by Taiwan or if PRC leaders decide that peaceful unification is no longer possible.

 

Environment friendly

Taiwan is one of the environmental leaders in the Asia Pacific region, the Taiwanese government says.

Before this feat, Taiwan’s total commitment to economic growth produced one of Asia’s richest economies, but this achievement came at the price of significant environmental degradation.

Guests on the cruise. Photo: NUKU'ALOFA TIMES

Guests on the cruise. Photo: NUKU’ALOFA TIMES

The rapid industrialization and lack of government regulation led to a major decline in Taiwan’s air and water quality. Untreated industrial waste flowed directly into the rivers. Drinking water was contaminated with heavy metals and chemical runoff from farms. Factory emissions and increasingly heavy traffic caused severe air pollution.

Also, failure to develop an adequate sewage system brought continued deterioration of water quality. These and the building of nuclear power plants and the attendant nuclear waste they generate compelled the National Council for Sustainable Development to pass an environmental protection plan in 1998.

Objectives of the plan included reduction of pollution, protection of natural resources, pursuit of sustainable development, and support of international environmental protection policies.

Over the past years, Taiwan strived to build a systematic environmental protection framework that is both enlightened and comprehensive.

During this time, Taiwan enacted and implemented 417 environmental laws and regulations, including the Basic Law of the Environment, and has adopted the principles of all of UN’s environmental conventions and protocols for compliance. Plans are also now underway to elevate environmental conservation work to the Ministry level in our government with full integration of the environment, natural resources and global environment considerations.

Although Taiwan is not a Party to the Montreal Protocol, it has striven to control and phase out ODS proactively since the date the agreement ratified.

So far, its efforts in CFCs and Halons phase-out have all been quite successful. Taiwan has been steadfast in its duty to protect the global common, our only planet in the universe.

This duty should transcend any political interests or disputes.

Like many other island countries, Taiwan will be adversely affected by the results of climate change. Thus, Taiwan hopes to work with the international community to mitigate the effects of climate change.

As a non-Party, Taiwan wishes to gain recognition from other countries, including Nigeria, for voluntarily taking local action for the global benefit. By sharing our common responsibility, we can together protect the earth’s environment and achieve sustainable development for our future generations.

From the efforts of Taiwan, highlighted, one could appreciate the need for Taiwan’s official participation in UN Specialized Agencies especially the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” (UNFCCC).

The people of Taiwan firmly believe they deserve favorable considerations in the matter of protection from adverse climate.

 

Taiwan’s position

 

Leaving no one behind: Calling for Taiwan’s professional, pragmatic, and constructive participation in the UNFCCC

 

Global warming and climate change affect all of mankind and the sustainability of the world we inhabit.

For the past 23 years, the UNFCCC has called for the widest possible cooperation by all countries in the fight to avoid the devastating consequences.

Yet the government of the R.O.C. (Taiwan), and the 23 million people it represents, still does not have proper access to the meetings of the Conference of Parties.

Nonetheless, Taiwan has never used this as an excuse to shirk its responsibilities as a stakeholder in the international community.

 

Taiwan has set an ambitious GHG reduction target

In June 2015, Taiwan took the concrete step of passing the landmark Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act, officially enshrining into domestic law the goal of cutting carbon emissions to 50 percent of 2005 levels by 2050.

In response to the Lima Call for Climate Action, Taiwan also voluntarily announced its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution in September 2015, committing to reduce GHG emissions by 50 percent from the business-as-usual level by 2030.

Taiwan understands that the issues associated with climate change are inextricably linked to the world’s sustainable development, and has just released its first voluntary national review of progress in achieving the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Climate change knows no boundaries and requires across-the-board cooperation.

 

Taiwan has as much of a stake in combating climate change as any other country, and urgently calls on the international community to support its bid to participate in the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties, in Bonn, as a nonmember government observer under the name of its Environmental Protection Administration.

 

Taiwan is ready to contribute more to the UNFCCC

Taiwan is known for its expertise in developing green technology.

Over the decades, Taiwan has undertaken numerous cooperative projects with developing countries in a wide array of fields related to climate change.

Taiwan has also worked with the US to manage the environment and reduce pollution through projects, research, and knowledge exchange.

In 2014, Taiwan’s EPA officially launched the International Environmental Partnership, a network of experts from around the world working together to strengthen capacity to address environmental issues.

 

Taiwan’s participation is a matter of climate justice

The Paris Agreement highlights the important concept of climate justice, calling on all states to take action to address climate change.

It is unjust that Taiwan, a densely populated island exposed to extreme weather events, as well as the world’s 21st-largest carbon dioxide emitter, is excluded from the UNFCCC and left to deal with the impacts of climate change on its own.

The people of Taiwan are eager to participate in the global climate regime.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s inclusion in the UNFCCC process conforms to the purpose and spirit of the convention, which acknowledges that “the global nature of climate change calls for the widest possible cooperation,” as well as to the principles embodied in the UN Charter.

 

Conclusion

The 23 million people of Taiwan have the right, the ability, and the willingness to contribute to efforts to ensure our planet’s sustainable development.

We therefore call on all parties concerned to look beyond political considerations, and support Taiwan’s professional, pragmatic, and constructive participation in the UNFCCC.

 

 

 






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