Climate Finance for Sustaining International Peace & Security – Arria Formula Discussion2022-03-09 Honourable EP Chet Greene, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Immigration
Mr. President,Mr. Secretary-General, Distinguished Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I have the honor and challenge to deliver this statement on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (‘AOSIS’) at a time when we have been shaken to our core by the scientific findings of the Working Group II Report of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report. At just over a degree of warming, climate change is our current reality. The IPCC tells us that sea levels have already risen by 20 centimeters and will continue to do so for thousands of years to come. The report shows for the first time that irreversible loss and damage is already a grim reality for vulnerable countries. The Report’s findings are unambiguous: vulnerable countries will not be able to adapt to warming beyond the 1.5°C limit and hard limits to adaptation for ecosystems and people are already being reached. Transiently overshooting our targets will result in irreversible impacts, including total loss of coral reefs and coastal submersion. Adaptation is urgently needed, but it will not be enough without limiting warming to 1.5°C. Every extra tonne of Carbon Dioxide emitted will lead to more warming and more lost for vulnerable nations. Every additional increment of warming increases changes in extremes. The recent IPCC Report also outlines that climate hazards have contributed to the continuation of violent conflicts in regions already experiencing conflict. All SIDS have and continue to live through constant assaults from climate change that undermine our peace and security. These include: • energy, water, and food security; • territorial integrity; • our peoples’ right to self-determination; and • state sovereignty. The science is also clear that investing now to mitigate against and adapt to climate change is necessary and is already working. Excellencies, halving emissions by 2030 is essential to keep 1.5 within reach, and achieving global net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is a precondition to halt global warming. We don’t need rhetoric, we need action, and we are losing time. If we fail to act now, in this decade, with urgency, we will see a climate crisis on a scale that is unimaginable. Every delay in translating commitments into action on the ground, is a day you add another climate threat to the list. To keep pace with these impacts, more needs to be done, and so we attach great importance to discussions on the threat that climate change pose to the physical security of small island developing states and the urgent need to fulfill international commitments on climate finance. We want to note, however, that the UNFCCC should remain the primary forum for discussions on climate finance. Colleagues, the scale of funding for climate adaptation and mitigation has been sadly inadequate; it needs to be increased significantly, if justice is to be served. The promise made 12 years ago by developed countries, to provide $100 billion annually in climate finance, to help deal with the effects of climate change, has not been fulfilled. Finance is mentioned multiple times in the IPCC report, both a key barrier, and a necessity for successful adaptation measures – but we knew this. To date the vast majority of global climate finance flows, have targeted mitigation. COP26 took a stepin the right direction, committing to at least double their provision of adaption finance from 2019 levels by 2025 but this needs to be the floor and not the ceiling. Unfortunately, colleagues, many of our partners did not negotiate the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers in good faith, and tried to prevent quantitative analysis on finance from inclusion in the final summary. This is unacceptable for the most vulnerable, and it is critical to draw on the science from the full report to inform our policy decisions. To turn to your guiding questions. One of the ways in which we can systematically reach those on the frontlines of climate impacts and those furthest behind is comprehensively addressing the issue of access for SIDS. Improved and simplified access to finance and technology, and scaled up financial flows that are consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement are key. Addressing access issues for SIDS would be a small step for major economies, but have far- reaching impacts for us on the ground. SIDS contribute very little to global greenhouse gas emissions but are disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and this is clear in the science. Not just articulated in the Sixth Assessment Report, but all those that came before it. We aren’t just vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, the vulnerability of SIDS also lies with the interconnected nature of environment, social and economic aspects of our countries. The Glasgow Climate Pact called for multilateral institutions to consider how climate vulnerabilities should be reflected in the provision and mobilization of concessional financial resources and other forms of support, including special drawing rights. While we need to be clear that development finance is not climate finance, after almost 30 years of discussions, we are encouraged to see that we are nearing the end of a process that will finally take in account the vulnerability of our small states in accessing development aid, through a Multi-dimensional Vulnerability Index for SIDS. We ask our colleagues to support this process and adopt and implement the MVI to secure the sustainable future of SIDS. Finally, colleagues, it would be remiss of me not to speak to the issue of Loss and Damage. We take this opportunity to remind States that we all have common but differentiated responsibilities to address climate change, its adverse effects, and associated loss and damage. AOSIS calls for direct attention to loss and damage, as a distinct issue in its own right, not just on the margins of adaptation. Such loss and damage have persisted for decades, but compensation has been neglected by the governments of the worst polluting countries, for far too long. As an international community, we must simultaneously plan and operationalize a system within established multilateral frameworks to address inevitable loss and damage. Not only is this through addressing the issue of financing for Loss and Damage, but also to provide solutions that are in line with countries’ respective international obligations and rights to systematically address difficult issues such as: climate change displacement including the treatment of climate refugees, internally displaced persons and loss of territory. As part of this solution, we would like to see the development of an inclusive UN Member State driven climate physical security risk assessment tool, through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement which remain today the primary international forums for determining the global response to climate change. Climate change will continue to undermine and threaten our own survival and integrity. We encourage the Security Council to continue to host high-level open debates on these issues that are inclusive of UN Member States, scientists, academia, and civil society. AOSIS also urges all Member States, in particular developed partners, to continue engaging with the UNFCCC, in addressing the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and other relevant international development commitments. In closing colleagues, this is no small feat, but the decisions we take today, the actions we take in this decade, will have impacts for thousands of years to come. Small island and low-lying states have been sounding the alarm for decades. Let’s take the right steps, together. I thank you for convening this session.
Sub Topic: Finance