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Poor countries gather in Tanzania to prepare for climate conference
DAR ES SALAAM (AFP) Oct 26, 2004
Representatives from more than 20 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) were Tuesday in Tanzania to meeting to draw up a joint approach ahead of a world conference on climate change, an official said.

"The objective of the meeting is to give representatives of LDCs an opportunity to exchange views on environment" before a UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Argentina next December, the meeting's chairman Richard Muyungi told AFP on Tuesday.

Muyungi said that the four-day meeting in Dar es Salaam, which started late on Monday, would tackle several issues of common interest ahead of the Buenos Aires conference.

He added that delegates would deliberate and seek to agree on common positions on key issues of interest to the group that will be part of the agenda in the forthcoming conference.

It will also address other LDC-related issues, especially regarding National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) aimed at realising a concrete group position, Muyungi said.

The Tanzania talks were being attended by delegates from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean and officials of UN agencies.

Muyigi said conference delegates would also deliberate on the Kyoto Protocol and other relevant conventions on climate issues.

"We have to come up with a common position on issues like the Kyoto Protocol, a subject that is of late at the centre of international controversy," he said.

Some developed nations are seeking to meet pollution reduction targets under a quota system in which they would trade their excess points for products and waste that cause environmental and atmospheric damage in exchange for measures to help non-industrialised countries.

Poor nations, meanwhile, are under international pressure to accept terms by which they would carry part of the pollution burden of the industrialised world if they get technological help in bypassing the most damaging stages of development, such as harmful manufacturing processes.

In an opening address, Tanzanian Minister of State for environment Arcado Ntagazwa urged the LDCs to unite and speak with one voice against undertakings by developed countries that cause adverse climatic changes.

Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Klaus Toepfer also told the conference that global climatic change was "the most significant environmental problem, facing humankind now, and now is the time for action."

"All developed and LDCs have to tackle the problem before the situation gets out of hand," Toepfer added.

Countries attending are Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Haiti, Jamaica, Kiribati, Liberia, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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