UN Climate Change News, 11 July 2018– Today, Asia Pacific Climate Week formally kicked-off with the High-Level Opening Ceremony, sounding a note of optimism in a region which contains seven of the top ten most vulnerable countries in the world, and with reminders that increased finance is essential to tackle climate change.
Hosted by the Government of Singapore on Sentosa Island, the event was introduced by Minister Masagos Zulkifli, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources. He was then joined on stage by UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa; Fiji’s Lead Negotiator, Ambassador Luke Daunivalu; the President of the UN Climate Change Conference COP24 in December, Michal Kurtyka; and Vice President, Knowledge Management Asian Development Bank, Bambang Susantono.
Minister Zulkifli first offered words of support to Japan – currently suffering from the worst floods in decades – and said, “We need to strengthen multilateral ties and keep the global system open and inclusive if we are to address the climate challenge. All actors are on the front-lines of climate change and must act now.”
This call for urgency comes in the wake of yesterday’s announcement by the Singapore Government of a Climate Action Package to Asean countries starting this year, which includes training programmes in climate change mitigation and adaptation, ranging from climate science to flood management and disaster risk reduction.
Patricia Espinosa then took the opportunity to underscore the urgent need to properly finance all work under the Paris Agreement: “At the very minimum we must reach the USD 100-billion-dollar annual target as quickly as possible and then work to increase that funding. I urge developed nations to publicly state their plans for mobilizing international funding. We simply cannot address climate change without it. Trying to address climate change at current financing levels is like walking into a Category 5 hurricane protected only by an umbrella.”
The Asia Pacific, which is home to more than 60% of the world’s population and 62% of the global economic output, also accounts for 40% of total global emissions – more than the European Union and the United States combined.
The region therefore has a central role to play in meeting the climate challenge, which is why Ambassador Daunivalu urged all actors to come together at this critical time in the context of the Talanoa: “The Talanoa Dialogue has represented some progress and it gives us some hope. Simply put, if we want everyone to embrace the outcomes, then everyone must participate in creating them,” he said.
The President Designate of COP24, Polish Minister Michał Kurtyka, highlighted the ambitious USD 10billion policy Poland is implementing to spur electromobility and also called upon governments to innovate in striving for compromises to finalize the Paris Agreement Work Programme at COP24 in Katowice. He said: “Poland wants to inspire the World with the spirit of Solidarność. Collaboration at national and international level is indispensable to face the challenges of climate change.”
At the end the High-Level Opening of Asia Pacific Climate Week, Bambang Susantono said, “This meeting is taking place at an opportune time especially in the context of the Paris Rule Book that is expected to be finalized in Katowice, Poland (COP24), in less than 6 months’ time. It is my sincere hope that the deliberations of this conference will provide the necessary signals and inputs to accelerate discussions at the inter-sessional meeting in Bangkok early September.”
Both events come shortly before the Global Climate Action Summit in California and New York Climate Week, which will be equally important in demonstrating that there is genuine international support for stepping-up local, national, regional and international climate action on the part of all stakeholders.