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Copenhagen conference

De Boer says Kyoto Protocol must survive

Article published on the 2009-12-10 Latest update 2009-12-10 18:13 TU

Activists dressed as aliens in Copenhagen(Photo: Reuters)

Activists dressed as aliens in Copenhagen
(Photo: Reuters)

Yvo de Boer, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, has stressed the importance of the Kyoto Protocol, saying it must survive the climate conference in Copenhagen.

Speaking on Thursday, the fourth day of the conference, De Boer said the protocol, which was drawn up in 1997, is the only legally binding instrument concerning climate change, and there is no good reason to abandon it.

He said it should survive because a new agreement would take time to implement, pointing out that Kyoto took eight years until 2005 to ratify.

De Boer said that good progress has been made in the conference.

"There is real seriousness now to negotiate, good progress is being made in a number of areas, especially in the area of technology," he said.

"It's a lot like moving into a new need some time to get comfortable. Then after a day or two people settle down...and are ready to get down to work, and that's where we are."

The delegates have also been giving some positive feedback. Constance Okollet, who is a 45-year-old mother of seven from the east of Uganda, tells RFI that “people are now getting it”.

Okollet is in Copenhagen with Oxfam International who, among other things, are trying to highlight the impact of climate change on women.

A peasant farmer from Tororo district and chairperson of the Osukura United women network, she explains how a combination of flood and drought destroyed her village.

“In 2007, there were floods that came early in the morning covering the whole village. We only rescued the lives of our children and ourselves. When I came back as a refugee, there was nothing.

Interview: Constance Okollet, Osukura United organisation

10/12/2009 by Mark Rodden

“All the houses were washed away, the goats had gone, small properties inside the house were rotting or washed away.

“Luckily my house was the only one left so two of my neighbours came to stay with me while we re-made their house.

“There was no school, there was sickness and death. And then came the drought. It was four or five months of sunshine and very hot and all the crops that we had dried up.

“We pray very much for a good outcome of our being here to yield better fruit.”