Opening Statement at the "Island Resilience Forum: SC1.5NCEnotSILENCE”

Opening Statement by Ms. Fekitamoeloa Katoa‘Utoikamanu, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States

29 September 2020 
New York, USA

Ladies and gentlemen,

Resilience may well be a key theme for all of us this year where individual, community, national, regional and global resilience is put to severe tests.

We are in the midst still of a health pandemic where there is no denying that inequalities and climate change play major roles.

Global warming has already severely risked biodiversity, fisheries, air quality and the list is long. Yet, nature is the host for our being and unchecked and ever accelerating global warming threaten human existence.

We long have been given a clear warning: we must limit global warming at its minimum to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Yet, even at  1.5 degrees  of warming we still run major risks.

There is no room left for complacency, inaction or worse silence. Facts cannot just be wished away.

Too many continue to drag their feet while the deadline for staying below this critical threshold is here.

The human and financial costs of inaction are already visible and are especially heavy for the Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Developing Countries.

Historically speaking, these countries have made the smallest contribution to global warming. Yet,  they are the most exposed to and affected by climate change.

So, it is even more remarkable how the LDCs and SIDS for decades now have been at the forefront of climate action.

They deserve  our collective support and also our gratitude for relentlessly pushing for a science-based approach to one of the greatest human challenges of our times.

I thank all who have recently submitted their updated and ambitious NDCs in line with the 1.5 degree target.

This includes several SIDS, LDCs and LLDCs.

I encourage all to explicitly recognize the IPCC Special Report on 1.5 degrees in NDCs and to continuously remind ourselves and others of the costs of ignoring its findings.

Of course, the key challenge is the implementation of the NDCs.

Definitely, time has run out for words, action counts. Implementation means we must join forces.

Joining forces , in turn, means creating and working in genuine partnerships.

Partnerships  ranging from South-South, to North-South, public and private, across generations, across sectors, across communities are key.

For urgent and effective climate action, the global community must undertake rapid and far-reaching action.

Support must accelerate in all areas and including in areas such as finance, technology, technical assistance, capacity building and knowledge sharing.

We continue to be in the midst of deep changes.

The climate change induced hazards, natural disasters, the COVID pandemic , the unsustainable debt levels leave many vulnerable countries unable to now also effectively invest in climate action.

Today, I wish to echo the call by AOSIS and others for a green and inclusive recovery.

The time is now to leave no one behind in a sustainable and inclusive recovery.

This is the time to invest in  renewable energy transitions and end investments in carbon-based growth. 

The time for mitigation and adaptation is not tomorrow, it is NOW. The more climate hazards are mitigated or adapted now, the more we can reduce the ultimate cost of loss and damage, including irreversible loss of biodiversity and the social upheavals of forced migration and economic hardships.

I applaud March For Science, the Island Resilience Partnership, YOUNGO, and AOSIS for organizing this critical meeting and for your tireless efforts.

Thank you.