Deputy P.M. rallies world leaders to address ‘crisis’

Samoa has one more year left to meet its self-imposed deadline to complete the Paris Agreement Work Programme. 

The assurance of continued work towards the goals set in the Paris Agreement by Samoa was given by Deputy Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mataafa at the High-Level Segment of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, C.O.P.23 in Bonn, Germany. 

“While the negotiations are very technical in nature, it is obvious that large political differences are making progress very difficult, particularly on how the differences of developing countries are accommodated,” she said. 

She noted the Paris Agreement entered into force in unparalleled fashion because it symbolized hope for the Samoan people and planet and the survival of sovereign nations some of which are low-lying islands. 

Fiame also congratulated Fiji’s presidency for infusing a Blue Pacific essence in our annual climate change discourse and elevating and capturing the unique challenges of Small Island Developing States in our global agenda. 

“Now is the time for focused discussions in our joint search for implementable and durable solutions, a process long overdue. High ambition was the defining trademark of our agreement. Yet we are not on track to achieve our Paris Agreement goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

Even the pre-2020 ambition, so critical to avoiding dangerous global warming, and important to the smooth transition to the Paris Agreement phase, is purposely being sidelined and for some non-constructive reasons, lost in the discussions.” 

According to Fiame, perhaps some of those in positions of world leadership are being selective and will conveniently assume such responsibilities when it suits their national and/or group agenda. 

“But a true world leader will always be one no matter the circumstances and the consequences. 

“We are heartened to once again hear that the beacon of hope burns on. As leaders therefore, we must treat climate change as the urgent inter-generational crisis it is.” 

Fiame also emphasized the need for Samoa to redouble its efforts to scale up climate solutions through the Marrakech Partnership and the technical examination because no country can continue to stay aloof and be unconcerned about the invasive reach and destructive impacts of climate change (Marrakech Partnership informs Parties about what has been achieved during the year).

“Nationally determined contributions (N.D.C.) are the core of the Paris Agreement. 

“Their very credibility rests on all countries achieving such commitments. 

“Developing countries will require adequate means of implementation. 

“The Green Climate Fund has made strides to fill the climate finance gap, but more can be done to scale up climate finance. 

“The launch of the G.C.F. simplified approval process during C.O.P. 23 is a welcome development to assist resource and capacity-constrained developing countries to expedite their access to much needed climate funding.” 

She highlighted the essential of talanoa facilitated dialogue because it sets the stage for N.D.Cs showing much higher ambition in 2020. 

“We look forward to a rigorous process that is informed by the latest science, including the results of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [I.P.C.C.C.] Special Report on 1.5 degrees Celsius due in October 2018. 

“It should highlight the needs of implementation required for developing countries to achieve their mitigation objectives. 

“The Blue Pacific narrative adopted by the Pacific Forum Leaders at its 48th meeting is fit for purpose and placed to deliver facilitated dialogue for the collective good.” 

Fiame also spoke about climate adaptation and mitigation. 

“Each deserves equal treatment and priority attention by all parties. We cannot allow adaptation to take a backseat to mitigation. 

“The adaptation fund has proven to be a very important and innovative source of finance for small island developing countries. 

“In order for S.I.D.S. to continue to usefully benefit from the fund, we must agree that the adaptation fund will serve the Paris Agreement, and that a 5 percent share of proceeds from market mechanisms go to the fund.

“The record breaking cyclones of this past year are further tragic evidence of the need for a strong loss and damage mechanism. 

“Rapid progress on the Warsaw International Mechanism (W.I.M.) on Loss and Damage is more important and urgent than ever. 

“We hope that the finely balanced decision to have Loss and damage addressed at each meeting of the subsidiary bodies until the review of the WIM in 2019 will enable the garnering and gathering of wider support for the W.I.M. to be operationalized ultimately as an integral part of the Paris Agreement Work Programme,” she said. 

“Time is a premium. We have one year left to meet our self-imposed deadline to complete the Paris Agreement Work Programme. 

“While the negotiations are very technical in nature, it is obvious that large political differences are making progress very difficult particularly on how the differences of developing countries are accommodated. 

“Early political engagement on this issue next year would be useful. 

“Much greater clarity on the provision of climate finance will also be critical to unlocking these difficult discussions.

“Let us focus on what unites and binds us. 

“Climate change is a global problem and only by working together in genuine partnerships where all N.D.C.s matter and every effort of support counts, can we realize the spirit of hope captured in the Paris Agreement.”

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