Honorable Christopher Loeak, Minister-in-Assitance to the President
H.E. Nicolas Galey, Ambassador of the French Embassy to the Philippines and to Micronesia
H.E. Anke Reiffenstuel, Ambassador of the German Embassy to the Philippines and to Micronesia
H.E. Sujiro Seam, European Union Ambassador for the Pacific in Suva
Ms. Kathy Kijiner, Climate Envoy
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are here to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the Paris Agreement, a breakthrough agreement within the UNFCCC that brought 189 Parties together for a common cause to combat climate change.
The global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, includes keeping the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
It is this cornerstone of the Paris Agreement that the Republic of the Marshall Islands in your lead role with the High Ambition Coalition fought so hard for and achieved! We commend you for your continued leadership.
While Small Island Developing States (SIDS), like the Marshall Islands, collectively contribute less than 1 per cent to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, SIDS are among the first to experience the worst and most devastating impacts of climate change with greater risks to health, education, infrastructure, economies, livelihoods and food security.
The Paris Agreement requires all Parties to put forward their best efforts through Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs and to strengthen, or ‘ratchet up’, these efforts in the years ahead. NDCs are at the heart of the Paris Agreement, including the achievement of its long-term goals.
We are all very pleased that Pacific Island Countries are in the process of enhancing their NDCs, with support from donors and development partners. Many of us we are working together supporting governments in doing so and happy to lt you know that UNDP is supporting eight countries in the Pacific in that regard (i.e. Cooks Island, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu) through our Climate Promise initiative, in close collaboration with the Pacific Regional NDC Hub. We are also working closely with the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands in implementing the NDC Support programme to deepen efforts in accelerating NDC implementation.
I am aware that PICs are incorporating climate change in each and every development sector in order to build a climate resilient society. On this note, I wish to acknowledge the work associated with the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP) along with the Pacific Resilience Partnership (PRP), which provide very good basis for climate resilient development.
While taking action on climate change, it is equally important to use a gender lens and zoom in on communities and grassroots who have very limited access to transport and essential services including access to electricity and water. These communities live in remote locations and it is important that they are consulted and become the focus, so they benefit the most from all this work.
A few weeks ago, UNDP organized a webinar on ‘gender and climate action’ for PICs, where we learned about how the NDC aspirations can be practically applied into concrete actions that make sense to and benefit the communities and grassroots.
Our efforts must also be inclusive of the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, as they are the frontline victims of the impact of climate change.
To add to this, COVID-19’s impact on PICs economies have been substantial, mostly in such sectors as tourism, aviation and transport. COVID-19 has also impacted climate financing in many ways where governments and development partners alike are forced to divert budget for COVID-19 response.
In this situation we need more effort to harness climate finance from different sectors including private sector, trust funds, and other bilateral and multilateral funds. Hence, re-shaping our development work towards green recovery is a key opportunity of the NDC enhancement process.
To conclude, I would like to highlight the remarks recently given by the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, in Climate Action to European Council on Foreign Relations: “By early 2021, countries representing more than 65 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions and more than 70 per cent of the world economy will have made ambitious commitments to carbon neutrality. But we are still running behind in the race against time. Every country, city, financial institution and company should adopt plans for transitioning to net zero emissions by 2050.”
UNDP is dedicated to supporting the Republic of the Marshall Islands with climate action and in the second half of this session you will hear from my team about some of the initiatives we are working on here in the Marshall Islands.