Vulnerable nations plead to raise ambition of climate targets by 2020

Marsjall Island president Hilda Heine. Picture: RNZ

MAJURO, 23 NOVEMBER 2018 (IANS) – Leaders at the Climate Vulnerable Forum on Thursday called on world’s governments to raise the ambition of their climate targets by 2020 in order to save vulnerable nations threatened by warming beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Chairing the first-of-its kind online Virtual Summit of more than 40 government leaders, President Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands said: “Today we make history together. We are showing that more can be done with tools and means on hand than we might think.

“We are demonstrating that we can succeed in breaking from the past to face a new future.”

Through the summit’s “Jumemmej Declaration”, the forum’s leaders committed to strengthening their national climate efforts by 2020 in order to pressure world governments to act.

“Jumemmej” is a Marshallese word of seafaring origin calling for vigilance to keep a watch against threats.

The carbon-free summit brought together leaders of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), which represents many of the countries most threatened by climate change.

During the 24-hour online event, which featured interactive debates and live statements from leaders around the world, the Marshall Islands also announced a new and enhanced climate target, or Paris Agreement NDC, highlighting the conviction of the most vulnerable “to move from words to action”.

President Emmanuel Macron of France responded to the plea of the vulnerable nations in his statement to the Virtual Summit.

“In 2020 our countries should present new, more ambitious national contributions and increase the pace of their implementation. France will stay on course,” adding “we must raise our ambitions.”

“Decisions that affect our survival are being taken now” said President Heine, while referring to findings of the October Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on 1.5 Degrees which indicated that surpassing this level of warming would create unmanageable and existential risks.

“We invite all nations, and all non-state actors, to rise with us and join our Jumemmej Declaration. We need the world to be on watch with us — we need to see each other through the storm together.”

Speaking at the summit, United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres said: “Climate Change is still moving faster than we are. As those witnessing its impacts cannot afford any more delays. The world counts on all nations to ensure that the next month’s climate conference in Poland is a success. We need ambitious climate action now.”

Speaking at the Virtual Summit, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet highlighted that “states must strengthen their mitigation commitments and nationally determined contributions, this is a human rights obligation.”

The more than 40 heads of state, government and delegation also constituted the first global gathering of leaders of nations most threatened by climate change.

More Stories