Hon. Enele Sopoanga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu

TUVALU Statement
Presented by
Honourable Enele Sosene Sopoanga at High Level Meeting of the Conference of Party 22
16 November 2016

Your Majesty King Mohammed the VI of Morocco
Honorable President of the COP
Honourable Leaders and Ministers
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be here in this wonderful city of Marrakech. I wish to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Morocco and its people for their hospitality and warm welcome. The Government of Tuvalu has very close relations with the Moroccan government. We have a number of Tuvalu students studying here under Moroccon scholarships. This is true global partnerships in action.

This COP is very special for the whole world. It represents the first meeting of Parties to the Paris Agreement. Few would have imagined that the Paris Agreement would have entered into force so quickly. I want to congratulate all countries that have ratified the Agreement and encourage all those that have yet to do so, to take all necessary approval actions so that is truly a global agreement.

The Paris Agreement represents a collective action by the international community to take decisive action to address climate change. For a highly vulnerable country like Tuvalu, it is critically important that we accelerate our efforts to address climate change. We have no time to waste. If we continue to produce greenhouse gases at the current rate we are condemning millions of people around the world to an uncertain future. Recent studies suggest that on average 62,000 people per day are displaced by climate related events. This number will inevitably rise if we don’t take decisive action now.

This leads me to the issue of the work ahead at this COP and work under the Paris Agreement. We understand that the Paris Agreement came in to force much quicker than expected and that we still have work to do to write the rulebook for the Agreement. But I am extremely alarmed that some countries believe that we should suspend the work of the Paris Agreement for two years. We cannot afford this delay.

We strongly make an appeal to every leader here at this meeting to not allow officials to create artificial reasons for blocking progress. We leaders must step in and say, we want action now, not in two years time. Too much is at stake to play tactical negotiating games. Too many lives are at stake. Yes, let us suspend the Conference of Parties serving as the Meeting of Parties to the Paris Agreement for one year only. Let us come back in twelve months time and pass as many decisions as we can. Let us show the world that we are making progress.

If we have the will to do this we can do it. I urge all leaders here to tell their officials to stop playing around with words and excuses. Let us act now. We are not re-inventing the wheel. The Kyoto Protocol and existing reporting and measuring functions under the Convention provide us with all the necessary tools to implement the Paris Agreement. Much of this work was done here in Marrakech in 2001. This is not a new game. Lets build on what we have and act quickly.

I make a strong plea to the Moroccan Presidency to make this COP22 a call to action, not a call for delay.

In this context I note that some Parties are creating tactical hurdles to block the Adaptation Fund from operating under the Paris Agreement. Some of our most trusted negotiating partners from the developed world are playing this game. Please desist. Let us work together to make the simple decision to allow the Adaptation Fund serve the Paris Agreement. Let us not allow this simple decision be taken hostage to other issues. Let us reconvene the CMA in 2017 and take the decision to allow the Adaptation Fund to serve the Paris Agreement.

Mr President,

It is critically important that we remind ourselves that we still have the Kyoto Protocol. This agreement still plays an extremely important role in the global effort to address climate change. I am extremely disappointed that we still do not have enough ratifications to allow the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol to come in to force. We have seen how quickly countries have taken action to ratify the Paris Agreement. We must see that the same level of effort to ratify the Doha Amendment. I am particularly pleased to hear that one of our close neighbours, Australia, announced that it had ratified not only the Paris Agreement but also the Doha Amendment last week. I now call on our European colleagues to step up and ratify. It is now your turn.

Mr President,

On the issue of climate change funding, some may argue that we already have the Green Climate Fund. This is true, and Tuvalu is a grateful recipient of funds from the GCF. But this does not mean that the GCF and the Adaptation Fund cannot work together. The sources of funds for these two funds are quite different. It is beholden on us all to ensure that all possible options for funding adaptation efforts are ensured. We must all support the Adaptation Fund and make sure it serves the Paris Agreement.

In consideration of how we move forward with the Paris Agreement, we have heard many times about the principal of inclusiveness and how we must ensure all Parties contribute to the “rulebook” of the Paris Agreement. While all efforts have been made to include most countries in the development of the rulebook there is one country that remains out of the process. I refer specifically to the Republic of China, Taiwan. Despite Taiwan’s efforts to produce a national determined contribution that includes significant efforts to reduce its overall emissions, it cannot participate effectively in processes under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. If we are to have a truly global approach to climate change we must include all nations in this effort. We clearly need to rethink our approach to the concept of inclusiveness.

Mr President,

I wish to inform you of an exciting development that we are pursing in the Pacific region. Earlier this year I called for the development of a Pacific Island Climate Change Insurance Facility. I am pleased to say that we have had some very useful meetings during this COP to make this happen. With the help of the United Nations Development Programme and offers of help from the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat we are making arrangements in January next year to hold a Pacific expert meeting to explore feasible options to develop a Pacific Island Climate Change Insurance Facility. Recent cyclones in the Pacific have had a devastating effect on the economies of many Pacific Island Countries. Such an insurance facility will help us in our recovery efforts. I make a strong plea to all donors and experts to help us in this endeavour. Please help us make this happen.

Finally, Mr President, I wish to reiterate my call for urgency of action. If the Paris Agreement is lacking behind the Universal 2030 Agenda of our United Nations will also lack behind. We as leaders have a responsibility to work together and act urgently to address climate change.

Our children and our children’s children deserve a future free from the fear of sea level rise, increased droughts and more severe cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons. Let us act now and not delay. We are but in one “canoe” earth. Let us paddle together with urgency to tackle climate change, to save Tuvalu to save the world. There is no time to waste.

I thank you.



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