Vulnerable States call for zero emissions

President Benigno Aquino of the Philippines and Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCC at the Climate Vulnerability Forum held in Paris as part of COP21. (Photo: UNISDR)
 
By Brigitte Leoni

PARIS, 01 December 2015 – Leaders of the world’s most climate fragile states have issued a call for full decarbonisation of the world economy, 100% renewable energy by 2050, and zero emissions by 2050 to keep the world on track for below 1.5°C warming and to reduce disaster risk.

"Individually, we are already survivors; collectively, we are a force towards a fairer, more climate-proactive world," said Philippine President, Benigno S. Aquino III, who presided yesterday over the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), at the UN Paris Climate Conference, COP21.

The CVF which expanded its membership to 43 countries yesterday, adopted the Manila-Paris Declaration and a three-year Road Map of Activities aimed at enhancing cooperation among the world's most exposed countries to climate-related disasters.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), congratulated the work done by the Forum which “ turned their common vulnerability into strength. Countries around this table are the ones that will make the difference between reaching an agreement and reaching a successful agreement.”

President Aquino said: “In the Philippines, we are getting better at adaptation but we are still very affected when typhoons and storms strike. Economic losses due to disasters amount on average to 2.5 per cent of our GDP but we contribute to less than two per cent of global warming. We are calling for climate justice and more solidarity between countries but we are ready to do our part.”

Reducing economic losses from disasters is a key target of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, a global blueprint for reducing disaster risk and disaster losses, adopted earlier this year.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa, Rica Manuel Gonzalez, said: "Emission cuts harming economic growth is a myth. A commitment to reduce emissions is most likely a commitment to strengthen economic growth. This has been Costa Rica's experience. Keeping warming to a minimum to below 1.5 degrees won't simply deliver safety and prosperity, it will also deliver justice."

Minister of Environment of Bangladesh, Anwar Hossain Manju, said: “We refuse to be the sacrifice of the international community in Paris. Anything that takes our survival off the table here is a red line. All parties have an obligation to act. Not doing so is a crime. This Declaration is just the beginning of our efforts to step up our voice and collaboration.”

Ethiopia State Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Kare Chawicha, said: “Climate change does not affect us equally. Those countries which have contributed least to the problem are often affected the most. We are here to cooperate. We are here to share experiences. Even if we contribute the least and suffer the most, we do not sit idle. Ethiopia, for example, communicated in its INDC that it will reduce emissions by 64 percent by 2030.”

Ethiopia was confirmed as the incoming chair of the CVF for the period 2016-2017. The Forum’s dedicated track of Ministers of Finance, the Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group, also reported on updates from the efforts of its Working Group since foundation last month in Lima, Peru.

V20 Chair and Secretary of Finance, Cesar V. Purisima announced: “We are convinced that the V20 has its role to play in helping to unlock the full potential of climate finance as we look to a new international partnership for moving our effort forward. We will work in this context to take steps to enable our economies to benefit from $20 billion in new and additional finance by 2020, drawing from international, regional and domestic sources, and leveraging maximum degrees of private finance.”

The third ever High-Level meeting of the Climate Vulnerable Forum held yesterday in Paris was the culmination of nearly two years of expert, diplomatic and senior official consultations including five regional meetings that culminated on 9-11 November 2015 with a global preparatory meeting in Manila that issued The Manila Communique.

The platform included 20 countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Kiribati, Madagascar, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Vietnam.

The meeting reaffirmed the Manila Paris declaration adopted in November 2015, launched the CVF roadmap 2016-2018 and welcomed 23 new member countries namely: Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Comoros, Dominican Republic, DR Congo, Fiji, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Malawi, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Niger, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Senegal, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, Yemen.

The High level meeting was held in presence of Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines, Ana Helena Chacón Echeverría, Vice President of the Republic of Costa Rica, Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh , Annick Girardin, Minister of State for Development and Francophony, France, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Emmanuel M. de Guzman, Secretary of Climate Change and the Philippines Climate Change Commission and Mary Robinson, Special UN Envoy for Climate Change.
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