‘No more delays’
COMMONWEALTH Secretary General Patricia Scotland is headed to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai with a simple message, “No more delays”.
Scotland, who will lead the Commonwealth delegation, is to call for accelerated action on the climate crisis in light of intensifying threats to small and vulnerable member countries.
“The worst predictions of climate change have become a daily reality. In the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable countries fertile lands are turning to dust, wells are running dry, storms and floods are overwhelming communities, and the ocean is rising.
“This represents not only a threat to the health, welfare and survival of millions of people, but to our collective stability and economic prospects, yet as climate change advances, the gap on emissions, finance and justice has widened, while the window for action continues to narrow. COP28 must close that gap,” Scotland said in a release on Tuesday.
“Every day of delay makes life more dangerous, and makes climate action more complex, challenging and expensive. There can be no more delays, and no more excuses — this is the time for implementation.
“The health of us all and of our planet rests on a 1.5°C degree cap on global warming. We cannot lose sight of that objective, and I implore leaders at COP28 to renew their determination to deliver a bright, resilient, sustainable common world now and for generations to come,” added Scotland.
Scheduled from November 30 to December 12, the annual summit comes just months after Commonwealth environment ministers committed to accelerating climate action at their inaugural meeting, held alongside the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.
The secretary general, who will deliver at least 20 speeches across the summit, will urge negotiators to deliver a transformative outcome at the summit.
This includes accelerating efforts to implement national climate plans mandated under the Paris Agreement, using the findings of the ‘global stocktake’ report to increase ambition and action, and delivering an inclusive, operational Loss and Damage Fund.
Scotland will officially open the Commonwealth Pavilion COP28, which will host about 40 events across the two weeks, demonstrating the Commonwealth’s ability to convene vital dialogues between governments, experts, businesses, youth leaders and civil society.
She will also meet with leaders and ministers from Commonwealth member countries and across the international community, to advance progress on emissions, finance, adaptation, biodiversity, oceans, health, innovation and the green economy.
During the summit, the secretary general will call for increased support for small and vulnerable states, highlighting that despite ambitious pledges, these countries are receiving limited funds to mitigate, adapt to and build resilience against the impacts of climate breakdown.
She will also draw attention to the broader consequences of the climate crisis on economic growth, leading to high debt burdens, food insecurity, stressed resources, and impaired livelihoods for many of the 2.5 billion people living across the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth is home to one-third of the world’s population and includes both advanced economies and developing countries such as Jamaica.