MARRAKECH: ‘We strive to lead,’ climate-vulnerable countries declare, pledging robust action on Paris accord

A new Africa-funded project will help small island developing states such as the Maldives mitigate and adapt production to changing climate conditions, and make farming practices overall more efficient. Photo: FAO/Prakash Singh

18 November 2016 – At the United Nations Climate Conference under way in Marrakech, Morocco, known as ‘COP 22,’ more than 45 of the world’s countries that are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change pledged today to pursue robust action towards implementation of the landmark Paris Agreement.

“We will survive and thrive,” the countries said through the Marrakech Communiqué, a joint declaration by the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), the international partnership of countries that are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change. It aims to exert additional pressure for action to tackle the challenge.

CVF members include countries from several regions of the world, from Maldives to Costa Rica, to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Tuvalu, Madagascar, and Nepal. They adopted their declaration as part of the work of the 22nd Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which has been meeting in Marrakech since Monday 7 November and wraps up today.

The country’s expressed solidarity with fellow member, Haiti, devastated by Hurricane Matthew, a humanitarian catastrophe amplified by capability constraints clearly overwhelming any capacity to adapt in a “now all-too familiar repetition of disaster.”

In the declaration, the CVF emphasized that any country with a nationally determined contribution (NDC) not yet compliant with its fair share consistent with the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal “must update these contributions by 2020 at the latest.”

They pledged to green their economies as their contribution “towards achieving net carbon neutrality and 100 per cent renewable energy.” They also expressed their commitment to develop and submit updated NDCs as early as possible before 2020, emphasizing that “additional enabling support on means of implementation from donors, especially capacity building, is indispensable to any upscaled mitigation and adaptation action by our countries.”

“We will plot a clear path to the future,” added members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, pledging to prepare long-term strategies before 2020 to attain maximal resilience.

“We have all gathered here today to fight the good fight,” said Dr. Gemedo Dale, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of Ethiopia, who chaired a CVF meeting at COP 22 today.

“Although our contribution [to climate change] is insignificant, the impact that [it] has brought on us is very high, and we are here together to make sure that we have a say in our future”, he added. “We invite all CVF members to pursue robust domestic climate action.”

Welcoming the Communiqué from the Climate Vulnerable Forum, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon applauded “the initiative by many of the world’s most vulnerable countries to lead by example and move towards a low-energy, clean-energy, climate-resilient future.”

“This is the type of bold leadership by example the world needs right now on climate change. If countries that have done the least to cause climate change can take such strong steps, so can others. We need action by all, on behalf of all,” he added.

The world's most climate-vulnerable countries outline joint actions on Paris Agreement. Credit: UN News Centre

The Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Patricia Espinosa, stressed that the level of ambition and the vision expressed by the most vulnerable countries “is needed now more than ever.”

“We welcome this document adopted by the members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum and we assure you of our support for the implementation of this vision,” she emphasized.


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