Photo: Vanuatu is one of the Least Developed Countries, and is increasingly affected by climate change. Here local people are constructing a river crossing using rocks and coral after flooding destroyed a bridge (Photo: - Photo: 2017

World’s Poorest Push for Action to Address Climate Change

By Jutta Wolf

BONN (IDN) – As representatives of countries from around the world were preparing to gather in Bonn from May 8-18 for a new session of United Nations climate change negotiations, Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group, Gebru Jember Endalew of Ethiopia stressed the need for “substantive progress” on the rules and processes that will fully operationalise the Paris Agreement.

The conference marks the half-way point to the finalisation of this process by 2018. It is also a staging-post for for COP23, the 23rd annual Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn in November 2017.

With 197 Parties, the UNFCCC has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep a global average temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The UNFCCC is also the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

The ultimate objective of all agreements under the UNFCCC is to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system, in a time frame, which allows ecosystems to adapt naturally and enables sustainable development.

The LDC Group Chair Endalew said: “Climate change is costing lives and livelihoods, particularly in poor and vulnerable countries so there is a need for urgent action by all countries. The LDC Group will continue to push for fair and ambitious action by all.”

The LDC Group comprises 48 nations that are especially vulnerable to climate change but have done the least to cause the problem. They work together at the intergovernmental negotiations under the UNFCCC to demand that wealthier nations act in accordance with their responsibility for creating the problem and their capability for addressing it. 

Explaining the situation, Endalew said: “For many of our countries, keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius is a matter of survival. Therefore, we all have to work towards a cleaner, greener, low-carbon global society as soon as possible.”

The statement circulated on May 6 said: “Protecting people, livelihoods and economies also requires adapting to the impacts of climate change that are already devastating communities, erasing hard-won development gains and forcing mass migration.

“In this regard, I am deeply concerned about the lack of available support for adaptation, leaving the poorest and most vulnerable in society to weather the worst impacts of climate change with the least means to cope. Meanwhile the Least Developed Countries Fund, a key source of support for adaptation planning and implementation, sits empty.”

Several LDCs have made ambitious commitments under the Paris Agreement. However, Endalew said, these commitments cannot be implemented without substantial support, including technological and financial support. Many estimates suggest that more than $100 trillion is needed to transition to a global low-carbon society.

But the financial support committed to date falls far short of this figure and is therefore “woefully inadequate,” the LDC Group Chair said. “The little that has nominally been made available through various funds and institutions continues to be inaccessible for our countries that the lack individual and institutional capacity to readily access those funds.”

Climate finance must begin to actually flow to the countries that need it and be scaled up drastically if global warming is to be limited to safe levels and the most catastrophic impacts of climate across the globe are to be avoided, Endalew stressed.

“Despite the challenges LDCs face, we are leading through action, for example by building on the successful launch of the LDC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative at COP22. Through this initiative, LDCs are taking charge of their energy future and security and empowering our poorest communities to pursue sustainable development through equitable access to clean, sustainable and low-carbon energy.”

The LDC Group has convened in Bonn on May 1-2 for preparatory meetings, to consolidate our positions and strategies ahead of the upcoming negotiations. [IDN-InDepthNews – 7 May 2017]

Photo: Vanuatu is one of the Least Developed Countries, and is increasingly affected by climate change. Here local people are constructing a river crossing using rocks and coral after flooding destroyed a bridge (Photo:

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate – 

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