H.E Mr. Manuel Poulgar-Vidal, President of the Conference,
Excellencies ladies and gentlemen,
We warmly join those who have spoken before to thank the government and people of Peru for their welcome and their leadership on climate change as epitomised by the manner in which Mr. President, you are leading our proceedings.
Climate change is currently the most obvious indicator that the world faces a crisis of sustainability.
In Lima and Paris- we are also therefore asking the question- Is sustainable development really possible?
To bring us to the path of sustainability we must be unrelenting in our pursuit of solutions to address climate change.
At the last meeting of ministers of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) in Seychelles last month, SIDS ministers underlined some of the priorities to be addressed that I would like to summarise here.
We emphasised that mitigation and adaptation are equally as important.
We must accelerate near term mitigation action based on scientific assessments of the projected impact of emissions. We are all deeply concerned by the IPCC’s conclusions in the fifth synthesis report that emissions have reached the highest level in history and the report of the WMO that constant temperature rises have become the norm of this young 21st century. This is why we continue to call for temperature rises to be limited to 1.5 degrees and suggest that the 2013-2015 review as prescribed in Copenhagen is undertaken to re-assess the adequacy of targets being used.
Workstream 2 must be prioritised to accelerate the positive impact of national actions being taken to address climate change and to also provide a useful mechanism for exchange of best practices.
In relation to adaptation, developing nations, and SIDS in particular need capacity development, technical support and funding urgently. Seychelles has been pleased to pioneer an innovative debt for climate adaptation swap with support of organisations such as the Nature Conservancy whereby debt relief will be used to finance the establishment of climate resilient marine protected areas.
Discussions last week between Seychelles President James Michel and French President Francois Hollande underlined the opportunities of such initiatives within the development of the blue economy, whereby nations can build climate resilience while also open new frontiers for economic growth.
A key theme of our discussions in Lima has obviously also been around the question of financing.
As we are encouraged by the positive announcements relating to the capitalisation of the Green Climate Fund, we note however that the first UNEP adaptation report has underlined that there is still a significant funding gap after 2020.
We must also ensure that funding is prioritised for the most vulnerable. The adoption of a vulnerability index as recommended in Samoa will improve transparency and also help to better prioritise and target assistance to countries based on real needs. We thank partners such as the Commonwealth, the EU and UNDP that have taken steps towards developing vulnerability resilience profiles and urge that these be mainstreamed into climate funding.
AOSIS countries have also consistently underlined the importance of our 2015 agreement adopting a mechanism on loss and damage which should have technical and financial functions to support vulnerable SIDS and LDCs in addressing the direct impacts of climate change. The governance structure of this mechanism should also ensure representation by SIDS and LDCs.
In conclusion, Seychelles would like to reiterate its belief that a legally binding agreement is something which is possible- and which is essential.
We understand the challenges that so many countries have to address to make sure that they can rise to the occasion.
But we also understand the challenges that our planet faces.
Ultimately we hope that we all understand that it is all part of the same challenge- that of sustainable development.
I thank you for your attention.