Bolivia denied climate aid ahead of summit


The US state department has suspended its climate change aid to Bolivia and Ecuador because both countries have refused to endorse the accord drawn up by rich nations at the United Nations Copenhagen climate summit in December.

The decision will cost Bolivia US$3 million and Ecuador $2.5 million, said the April 9 Washington Post..

Bolivia is one of the strongest critics of the Copenhagen accord. The accord is not legally binding, sets no emissions cut targets and was drafted behind closed doors by only five countries — the US, China, South Africa, India and Brazil.

It was not adopted by the Copenhagen climate summit.

In the March 18 British Guardian, Bolivia's UN ambassador Pablo Solon said: "Copenhagen marked a backwards step, undoing the work built on since the climate talks in Kyoto."

He said "once you take into account what are called 'banking of surplus emission budgets' and 'accounting rules for land use, land use change and forestry' [then] the Copenhagen accord would actually allow for an increase in developed country emissions of 2.6% above 1990 levels."

Solon told reporters on April 10 the US' aid suspension was "a very bad practice". He said Bolivia's climate policy would remain unchanged.

European countries threatened other poor nations with similar aid cuts during international climate talks in Bonn over April 9-11.

Saleemul Huq, of the International Institute for Environment and Development, told the April 11 Guardian: "There was definite strong-arming of countries. A lot were left in no doubt that there would be repercussions if they did not associate themselves with the accord."

At Bonn, Bolivia held a press conference to announce that more than 10,000 people had already registered to take part in its World Peoples' Summit on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth, which will take place in Cochabamba over April 19-22.

Fifty governments have also registered. Organisers expect more than 15,000 people to attend the event, billed as a "people's summit" to counter the domination of rich nations and corporate interests at Copenhagen.

Solon repeated Bolivia's rejection of the accord as "no kind of solution", said on April 11.

"Yet at these talks [in Bonn] we never hear developed nations admitting concern over this. Instead the US claims this is the best agreement we have had.

"The only way to get negotiations back on track not just for Bolivia or other countries, but for all of life, biodiversity, our Mother Earth is to put civil society back into the process."

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