A-Musings: 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.

Taiwan –The Good Neighbour
I have 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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