“The critical role that cities and local governments must play to achieve Paris Agreement goals cannot be ignored” – High-Level Climate Champion’s Speech at CitiesIPCC Conference

COP23 High-Level Champion Inia Seruiratu’s video remarks at the closing session of the CitiesIPCC Conference in Edmonton, Canada on 7 March 2018.

Warm greetings from Suva, Fiji.

I am delighted to be addressing you this afternoon at the closing of this very important conference. Given the strong focus on partnerships and on science-informed climate actions, this conference resonates with me as the high-level champion for global climate action. My mandate as high-level champion is to engage with stakeholders and facilitate partnerships to promote the successful execution and scaling up of climate action efforts. The Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action provides a coherent framework for the engagement of like-minded stakeholders active in climate action and I would like to urge you to engage within this framework, if you haven’t yet.

I am informed that last 3 days were highly interactive with a rich exchange of information, experiences and solutions among academia, scientific and research organisations and agencies; government organisations; city and regional governments; urban and climate change practitioners and policy-makers. This is quite remarkable given that these stakeholders traditionally operated in silos and there exists the challenge of overcoming the technical language barrier between scientists and academics and policy makers and city planners.

So, I would like to commend the uniqueness of this effort where three community of practice – researchers, policy-makers and urban practitioners have gathered to collectively build the global research agenda on cities and climate change for the next ten years to come.

I wish you the very best in the implementation of this agenda both within and outside of the IPCC.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is critical that the wealth of information and insights resulting from this conference are shared as widely as possible, and, more importantly, are used to inform decision-making processes in the climate negotiations.

In this regard, I would like to remind you of the important stocktaking process currently underway – the Talanoa Dialogue. I encourage you to engage actively in the dialogue to share your stories; your science-based insights; your on the ground experiences and lessons learnt; and your perceptions on what needs to be done to achieve a net-zero carbon emission world before this mid-century and to ensure sustainable development.

Your science based contributions will not only provide context to some of the recommendations collected during the Talanoa Dialogue, but can also provide guidance and lessons on how scientific information and data can be appropriately accessed, translated and utilised to ensure the development and implementation of truly transformative and sustainable climate actions.

I understand that some organisations in the room have already embarked on organising their talanoa sessions. I would like to thank you for your early actions and request you share your discussions widely to prompt other stakeholders to join the dialogue.

During the UNFCCC sessional meeting in May this year, the COP23 and COP24 Presidencies will co-chair a Talanoa Dialogue that will bring together both Parties and non-Party stakeholder around the table to discuss the three questions – Where are we? Where do we want to go? And How do we get there?

More information on this will be posted on the Talanoa Dialogue Platform and I hope that the inspiring and significant stories coming out from this conference can be shared in this May gathering.

The important role that cities and local governments play in ensuring we achieve the goals in the Paris Agreement cannot be ignored. You will play an important role in supporting governments to commit to, and implement, more ambitious NDCs. I urge you to work closely with your governments in this regard and to together come up with maximum ambitions in the next round of NDCs in 2020.

In closing, I would like to thank the following co-organisers for successfully creating this platform for a unified approach to tackling climate change:

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • C40
  • Cities Alliance
  • Future Earth
  • Sustainable Solutions Development Network
  • United Cities and Local Governments
  • UN Environment
  • UN Habitat and
  • The World Climate Research Programme

A very special thank you to the City of Edmonton, Alberta, and the Federal Government of Canada for generously hosting this conference. And to Mayor Don Iveson, without whose leadership and commitment to undertake bold climate action, this would not be possible. Although this meeting has drawn to a close, you and I know that the journey to bold climate action has just begun. Let us forge ahead in uniting for climate action. Further, faster – together. Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.