The EU, CELAC and SIDS – Last-Ditch Partners in the Multilateral Fight Against Climate Change

H. E. Camillo M. Gonsalves is the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, Commerce and Information Technology of St. Vicente & the Grenadines. This paper is a contribution to the EU-LAC Foundation’s Newsletter of December 2014 dedicated to the theme of Climate Change in the framework of the Lima COP 20.

It is difficult to imagine a global issue upon which more words have been expended, to produce comparatively few meaningful results, as Climate Change. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have talked ourselves hoarse over the years in various efforts to raise the alarm, put a human face on what was an esoteric scientific debate, and push multilateral negotiations towards a conclusion that would save lives and safeguard the very existence of nations. The initial optimism and faith that we invested in annual negotiating conferences to confront climate change was, at best, naïve and premature. 

An EU-CELAC partnership could play an indispensible, game-changing role in redefining this process. The EU has been almost alone among major industrialised nations in signalling a genuine willingness and flexibility to meet the challenges posed by climate change. As SIDS have been the conscience of the climate change negotiations, the EU has been a practical embodiment of action; charting a course for change that has confounded the predictions of those who defend the status quo. (read paper)