Tai­wan – The Good Neigh­bour

Mus­ings are thoughts, the thought­ful kind. For the pur­pose of th­ese ar­ti­cles, a-mus­ings are thoughts that might amuse, en­ter­tain and even en­lighten.

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michael Walker

Ihave never made any se­cret of my ad­mi­ra­tion for Tai­wan or its stance against its over­bear­ing neigh­bour, but that is not the rea­son for this ar­ti­cle. Nei­ther is the abun­dance of gifts and as­sis­tance show­ered upon this is­land in the mere seven years since diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween Tai­wan and St Lu­cia were re­sumed in 2007 the stim­u­lus for writ­ing to­day. No, the rea­son is sim­ple: Sup­port­ing Tai­wan is the Right Thing To Do. But let me ex­plain:

In 2011, the In­ter­na­tional En­ergy Agency ranked tiny Tai­wan as the 23rd largest emit­ter of car­bon diox­ide in the world. The is­land ac­counted for 0.84% of global emis­sions even though, be­tween 2008 and 2011, un­like the rest of the world, Tai­wan was able to re­duce the an­nual amount of car­bon diox­ide emis­sions by 0.9%. The av­er­age an­nual emis­sions in the rest of the world ac­tu­ally rose by 1.7%. Tai­wan is truly a good neigh­bour.

Like any good neigh­bour, Tai­wan shares its knowl­edge. In its ef­forts to tackle cli­mate change, Tai­wan has set up its own Mea­sure­ment, Re­port­ing and Ver­i­fi­ca­tion Sys­tem to share in­for­ma­tion with the global eco­nomic com­mu­nity. Tai­wan re­al­izes that no coun­try can stand alone, iso­lated from the rest of the world whilst shar­ing the same en­vi­ron­ment.

Tai­wan con­tin­ues to share its ex­pe­ri­ences in re­gard to cli­mate change and man­age­ment meth­ods. In 2008, Tai­wan signed an MoU with the Euro­pean Union on a Pa­cific Green­house Gases Mea­sure­ment Project. A year later, Tai­wan's In­dus­trial Tech­nol­ogy Re­search In­sti­tute and the United King­dom Car­bon Trust signed an MoU for fur­ther co­op­er­a­tion on Car­bon Foot­print La­bels. In 2014, Tai­wan and the United States of Amer­ica launched a joint pro­gramme, The In­ter­na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Part­ner­ship, to work to­wards ever more re­duc­tions in Green­house Gas Emis­sions, the de­vel­op­ment of sus­tain­able low-car­bon com­mu­ni­ties, and the strength­en­ing of cli­mate change adap­ta­tions.

In Septem­ber 2014, Tai­wan hosted the first Pan Pa­cific In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Cli­mate Change Adap­ta­tion. In ad­di­tion, Tai­wan has pro­moted co­op­er­a­tive projects on Food Se­cu­rity, En­ergy Se­cu­rity, Green En­ergy, Bio­di­ver­sity Con­ser­va­tion, Nat­u­ral Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment, Post Dis­as­ter Re­con­struc­tion, Foresta­tion, En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion, Wa­ter Re­source Man­age­ment, Drought Re­lief and LED Street Light­ing in Cen­tral Asia, the Caribbean, Latin Amer­ica, Africa, Europe and the Pa­cific – in other words: the whole world. Tai­wan is truly a Global Part­ner.

Se­ri­ously Folks, Tai­wan has worked as­sid­u­ously, not only on its own be­half, but also on the be­half of the Global Com­mu­nity. Tai­wan is a true friend and good neigh­bour. Where would Saint Lu­cia be with­out the help of Tai­wan?

Tai­wan is no stranger to ad­ver­sity. In 2009, Ty­phoon Mo­rakot brought the heav­i­est rain­fall in Tai­wan's his­tory that caused the deaths of 700 of its peo­ple. To date, almost US 4 bil­lion dol­lars have been spent on re­con­struc­tion ef­forts. The Tai­wanese are a de­ter­mined, re­silient peo­ple, used to stand­ing alone, used to solv­ing prob­lems. Yet Tai­wan is al­ways ready to help its al­lies.

Since 2009, Tai­wan has en­joyed “ob­server sta­tus” un­der the des­ig­na­tion “Chi­nese Taipei” on var­i­ous oc­ca­sions: For ex­am­ple, the World Health Assem­bly since 2009 and the In­ter­na­tional Civil Avi­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion since 2013.

Presently, Tai­wan par­tic­i­pates at the United Na­tions Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change un­der the name of the In­dus­trial Tech­nol­ogy Re­search In­sti­tute, one of Tai­wan's NGOs, which is one of the flies in an oth­er­wise pleas­ant oint­ment; it is sim­ply not enough! But let me ex­plain:

First of all: I am angry, dis­ap­pointed and dis­il­lu­sioned at the hypocrisy and delu­sion that per­vades global po­lit­i­cal life. Yes, I un­der­stand that the fic­tion of One China helps solves many prob­lems: the Tai­wanese can visit Main­land China with­out visas, and vice versa, be­cause the con­ve­nience of ac­cept­ing the “One China Pol­icy” with­out mak­ing waves works for ev­ery­one. But Folks, Tai­wan has bent over back­wards to ac­com­mo­date its gi­gan­tic neigh­bour; it even goes so far as to call it­self “Chi­nese Taipei”, so let's cut this fab­u­lous lit­tle coun­try some slack and al­low it to fully par­tic­i­pate in the UNFCCC as an Ob­server, which will al­low the coun­try a well de­served role in the work­ings of the Con­ven­tion.

Tai­wan oc­cu­pies a cen­tral po­si­tion, ge­o­graph­i­cally, po­lit­i­cally and en­vi­ron­men­tally in Asia. Not al­low­ing Tai­wan to share its tech­ni­cal know-how and ex­pe­ri­ences to the full with the world com­mu­nity is noth­ing short of crim­i­nal.

I call upon the Gov­ern­ment of Saint Lu­cia to do “The Right Thing” by Tai­wan and support, no – more than that – pro­mote, the coun­try's de­sire to par­tic­i­pate in the UNFCCC un­der the name of “Tai­wan's En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion, or “EPA, Chi­nese Taipei”, which would al­low Tai­wan, as an Ob­server, to en­hance the global un­der­stand­ing of cli­mate change trends and is­sues. Come on, St Lu­cia, show your true colours!

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