Friday, December 03, 2010

PRESS RELEASE ICAPP Proposes Global Debt Reduction to Finance Climate Change Programs

ICAPP Proposes Global Debt Reduction to Finance Climate Change Programs

The poorest countries are often the ones that suffer the most from natural calamities that may wipe out, in the twinkling of an eye, tens of years of material gains that people may have won from patient husbandry, hard work and thrift.

In saying this, Jose de Venecia Jr., Founding Chairman of ICAPP and Founding President of CAPDI, stressed the urgent need to reverse this downward spiral towards ecological collapse, by saying that humankind must learn to live in harmony with nature and the people could no longer exist as the arrogant and heedless “masters of the universe.”

Venecia also proposed a radical measure to aid the campaign and fight against climate change by calling for a global debt relief for environment.

“We propose a substantial ‘debt-for-environment’ formula to complement the debt-for-equity plan to fight poverty for the 100 highly indebted middle income countries under the United Nation’s millennium development goals (MDG).”

“Our proposal is voluntary and does not ask international creditors to forgive or suspend a single dollar of debt, nor will it require new money from the legislatures of any of the rich countries,” said Venecia, stressing that the proposal simply calls for creditor states and lending institutions the option of converting up to 50% or portions thereof of the debt  service payments they received into investor’s equity in environmental programs in their debtor countries which could include reforestation, water conservation, alternative energy, mass housing, health education, eco-tourism and other social infrastructures.

The Prime Minister of Nepal, Madhav Kumar Nepal, said “Nepal is host of seven of the world’s highest peaks and being a mountainous nation, we are faced with the dire consequences of climate change, which has direct negative impacts on our country.”
“We are faced with melting snow, global warming, environmental degradation and being a poor country, we are unable to cope with this, other than appealing to the international community to give more attention to the mountainous nations whose very existence depended on the environment in which they existed.”

A dramatic video presentation on the effects of climate change was also shown – uncontrollable floods, blinding pollution, sweeping mud slides, pounding waters and other calamities which were key points to shock the audience in realizing the perils of climate change and disregard for the environment.

Earlier, Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Sok An, who is also the Minister in Charge  of the Council of Ministers and chairman of the Organizing Committee of the 6th ICAPP General Assembly, said in  his opening remarks that today’s world faced real challenges and dangers from the effects of climate change and global warming.

“What we are facing today is not of our doing but we are nevertheless faced with its impact. The developing nations and the poor nations are bearing the brunt of the effects of climate change and global warming and we, as political party leaders and governments must take coherent, cohesive and consistent measures to tackle these perils, “Dr. Sok An said.

He said that Cambodia was equally vulnerable to the threats to its eco-system and that it was giving close attention to the twin concerns of the battle against climate change and the battle against poverty as they were closely linked and thrived on one another.

Meanwhile Nepalese Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal told reporters on the sideline of ICAPP’s conference that the 2 main priorities of Nepal at this moment are the development of the Agro Industry and Tourism Development. The Government of Nepal is looking to collaborate with Cambodian Government in these 2 areas as they hold the most promise. 

He said he had detailed and meaningful meetings with Cambodia’s Premier Hun Sen on bilateral issues and exchange of views on mutual interest. He said Nepal and Cambodia enjoyed closed mutual relations, understanding, goodwill and friendship and that he hoped the visit will deepen the relations between both the countries and open the doors for new opportunities, especially in Agriculture and Tourism Sector.

He said that Cambodia has pledged its support for Nepal’s bid to be the President of the 2011 United Nations General assembly while Nepal had in turn pledged to support Cambodia’s bid to have her candidate as a non permanent member of the United Nation’s Security Council in the 2012/2013 period.
ICAPP Press Secretariat
3rd December, 2010

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