14/03/18

“Let us remain resolute in our call to achieve the more ambitious target of limiting the rise in global temperature to within 1.5 degrees.” – High-Level Climate Champion’s Speech at the Climate Action Pacific Partnership Technical Expert Meeting

COP23 High-Level Champion Inia Seruiratu’s remarks at the Climate Action Pacific Partnership (CAPP) Technical Expert Meeting in Suva, Fiji on 15 March 2018.

Ni sa bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

It is my great pleasure to be with you at the opening of this very important gathering.

To our friends who have travelled from abroad, thank you for continuing your stay with us, especially after a hectic last 3 days of workshops.

I would like to recognise all our Pacific partners who have provided firm support and ongoing commitment since the establishment of the Climate Action Pacific Partnership in July last year. I was proud to see during COP23 a number of our CAPP members active in the climate action zone, impressing the world with their drive and determination and their visionary climate action initiatives.

These activities included the International Labour Organisation’s facilitated events on the importance of decent work and just transition. These events largely stemmed from activities of the CAPP working group last year. We will be hearing more from the group on how this important work has progressed internationally.

We also saw our Pacific NGOs and CSOs capably and expertly leading and facilitating sessions and discussions on issues of both Pacific and international concern. A high-level gender breakfast event, co-hosted by the Mary Robinson Foundation and the COP23 Presidency, saw a record number of Pacific participants, including Ministers, engaging with prominent women from around the world.

Our Pacific climate action partners also showcased their mitigation and adaptation initiatives in the Fiji Pavilion and while highlighting the vulnerability of our region, also proudly displayed our strength and tenacity to protect our homes, our resources, our livelihoods, and our way of life.

During COP23 our Presidency launched initiatives that were identified as priorities during the July CAPP conference and the Pacific SIDS Leader’s meeting that was held in conjunction to the conference. These initiatives included the establishment of the Regional Pacific NDC Hub, the launch of the Ocean Pathway Partnership, and the launch of the InsuResilience Global Partnership.

I would like to take this moment to thank the organisers of the Pacific Regional Hub workshop that just ended and the hard working participants who shared their knowledge and experience towards establishing the structure of the hub.

Colleagues

There are 3 key messages that I have been consistently emphasising as the COP23 high-level champion for global climate action.

Firstly, the need to transition to a net-zero emission world as soon as possible. This has been the strong call from the Fijian COP23 Presidency. There are two parts to this equation – the need to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions at source and the need to protect and increase carbon sinks including natural carbon sinks like oceans, forests, wetlands and soils.

Both are necessary for us to achieve net-zero emissions or climate neutrality and we should not detract the importance of one over the other. Increasing carbon sinks and sequestration efforts should not undercut the urgency to reduce emissions now and vice versa.

Secondly – the importance of achieving overall resilience and sustainable development in all our climate actions. Strengthening the resilience of our people, our environment, our infrastructure and our economies against the impacts of climate change is essential for our survival especially in small islands.

We need to plan and implement holistically to ensure that mitigation and adaptation impacts are not confined and limited to their specific sectoral issues alone but rather lead to an overall strengthening of the system against the increasing impacts of climate change and towards the path of sustainable development.

We also need to ensure that maximum synergies are created between mitigation and adaptation actions. Mitigation and adaptation initiatives should also have far-reaching impacts across our island landscape – benefiting our ecosystem, our people and our economies.

Thirdly – the importance of addressing crosscutting issues. Real and sustainable climate action can only be achieved when we consider the cross-cutting issues like gender, health, education, social well-being and sustainable financing.

And this brings me to the thematic groups of the CAPP. In July, you organised yourselves in a manner that was both strategically focussed and comprehensive. Groups that focussed on the pathway towards net-zero carbon emissions; on resilience and integration; on gender, climate justice, health, decent work and just transition; on the land use sectors; on ocean and on financing.

The array of experts in front of me, coming from these multitude of sectors and organisations are the strength of the CAPP. And we can only be stronger by working together, outside of our silos. So I urge you to work across your thematic areas, and reach out to your Pacific partners in the room to jointly come up with sustainable solutions for our Pacific Island communities.

I also urge you to contribute to the Talanoa Dialogue that is currently underway. I understand that there will be a session this morning to elaborate on how you can contribute to the Talanoa Dialogue.

Please share your inspiring stories, your on-the-ground experiences and your visions to achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement in the Talanoa Dialogue. This will be very important for bringing the perspective and priorities of Pacific small island developing states in the process.

During this process, let us remain resolute in our call to achieve the more ambitious target of limiting the rise in global temperature to within 1.5 degrees.

Colleagues, if you were with me in the Bonn Zone last year you would agree that the message coming out from strongly from the various events and sessions is the urgent need to accelerate climate action now.

You would have observed that stakeholders from various sectors, agencies and groups are already busy gathering and organising themselves to work together towards this. This spirit is captured in our COP23 slogan for global climate action – “Uniting for climate action – further, faster, together”

Here in the Pacific we have together initiated this spirit of unity and solidarity with the establishment of the Climate Action Pacific Partnership.

Let us keep this spirit alive by actively and constructively working together to create holistic, integrated and inclusive partnerships; to develop innovative solutions and technologies; and to implement climate actions that are truly transformative and sustainable.

I wish you enjoyable and successful deliberations over the next 2 days.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you