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  • Published: Nov 13th, 2009
  • Category: Global
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Taiwan’s environmental chief in Europe for talks on UNFCCC bid

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Taipei, Nov. 11 (CNA) Taiwan’s environmental chief is currently lobbying support in Europe for the country’s bid to attend an upcoming United Nations climate conference in a meaningful and dignified manner, an official said Wednesday.

“Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Stephen Shu-hung Shen is attending an international conference in Europe and he will not miss any opportunity to lobby support for our country’s bid for a high-profile role at the U.N. climate conference, ” said an EPA official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

She was referring to a meeting under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) set to open in Copenhagen, Denmark Dec. 7.

The Copenhagen meeting will decide on the future extent of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by working out a new international climate change agreement before the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

Premier Wu Den-yih said in an interview with the Central News Agency Tuesday that Taiwan will not be absent from the meeting, and its goal is to have a ministerial-level official attend.

Echoing Wu’s remarks, the EPA official said it would mark yet another breakthrough in the country’s bid for active participation in world affairs if Minister Shen is invited to the upcoming U.N. climate change meeting.

Shen left Taiwan last weekend to attend an international meeting on carbon trade issues and he will also visit several European Union member states to learn from their experience in formulating cap-and-trade systems and other environmental protection measures, the EPA official said. Shen is scheduled to return next week.

Sixteen of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies have already sent a letter to the UNFCCC urging all signatories to support Taiwan’s meaningful participation in its activities, including the upcoming Copenhagen meeting.

In recent years, Taiwan was represented by the government-funded Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) at the UNFCCC meeting. The ITRI has attended the meeting as a non-government organization (NGO). This year, three other Taiwan-based civic organizations – the Environmental Quality Protection Foundation, the Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy and Supreme Master Television – will also attend the UNFCCC meeting as NGOs.

Nevertheless, Taiwan’s government hopes its environmental minister can be invited to the Copenhagen meeting by following a model used in the World Health Assembly (WHA) held in Geneva in May, in which Yeh Chin-chuan attended in his capacity as Taiwan’s health minister at the time.

It marked the first time that Taiwan was invited to the annual global health meeting organized by the World Helath Organization as an observer under the designation “Chinese Taipei, “after 12 failed attempts.

The WHA invitation was widely seen as the result of improving relations across the Taiwan Strait over the past year under President Ma Ying-jeou’s conciliatory and pragmatic approach toward China.

(By Liu Kuang-ying and Sofia Wu)

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