Asia Pacific Greens push for effective climate policy
Green ecological and political movements in the Asia/Pacific face a big challenge in trying to effect green-thinking, carbon-smart and climate resilient action at the policy level.
Governments in the Asia/Pacific have been sluggish or in denial about climate change impacts.
That was a common theme at the 3rd Congress of the Asia Pacific Greens Federation at the weekend in Wellington.
Climate change was top of the agenda at the congress which drew delegates from as far away as Iraq and Mongolia.
Johnny Blades went along.
The Green movements of Asia Pacific came together in a family atmosphere. Delegates keenly greeted each other, shared vegetarian food and the co-leader of the New Zealand Greens, Metiria Turei knitted a woollen scarf in the front row while the panel discussion was underway. But beneath the warmth was a serious tone - the threats that climate change is presenting almost every country in the region. And a common challenge: how to effect green-thinking, carbon-smart and climate resilient action at the policy level. Diana Ross Gultom of the Green Union of Indonesia says there are few specific policies on climate change in her country.
DIANA ROSS GULTOM: What came up through the policy level is more on how to compensate, like the loss of... if you fail to harvest or the loss if you cannot go to fishing spots like they used to, like looking at the stars, looking at the moon. So it failed.
Delegates from Japan and Korea lamented how their governments take a business-as-usual approach where climate concerns exist, always deferring to the needs of commercial interests and sectors like nuclear energy. The chairperson of the Philippines Green Party, Elias Labros, says that following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in late 2013, there's even more need for the government to develop policies on climate change.
ELIAS LABROS: There's so much programmes are being foreign related. Information with the foreign investment coming from the outside which was not basically in the need of the community. Dams have been built. Destruction of the mountains which are being mined by the international community. So much disastrous economic packages are being brought out coming from so much agreement from the International Monetary Fund. The first thing that the government must to is review its economic policies towards resilience and economic pattern, not relying on the outside world and the western countries.
Andrew Kutapae of the Papua New Guinea Greens says his organisation is a lone voice in the political landscape.
ANDREW KUTAPAE: PNG Greens party is probably the only party that is concerned about climate change issues, destruction of the forests, destructive logging, destructive mining, destructive fishing and all this. We are at the front and we need support from international organisations for us to do our job effectively. But there is no support so we are unable to do our job as well as we want to.
But some smaller countries are picking up the pace, such as Solomon Islands, whose Green movement was represented by its president Ernest Kolly.
ERNEST KOLLY: A lot of talks, a lot of discussion is done at the moment to try and look at renewable energy developments. A lot of emphasis has been done. I think the government is also emphasising a lot on issues of climate change and I think it is a move in the right direction.
Green members from the Asia Pacific have resolved to work together more to promote climate change-smart policy.
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