Vulnerable small island states will have greater access to funds to tackle climate change through a new Commonwealth finance initiative.
Announced less than 48 hours ahead of the opening of the COP21 climate change summit in Paris, where world leaders will adopt a new climate accord, the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub will help countries successfully bid for climate action funding.
Launching the initiative, Prime Minister of Mauritius, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, told reporters that he is “confident that the climate finance access hub will be instrumental in our endeavour to address climate change issues”.
He said: “The flow of international climate funds for Small Island Developing States and Least Developed States, which are the most vulnerable to climate change, has remained problematic. The hub will assist in unlocking existing and new climate funds for urgent adaptation and mitigation.”
Mauritius has agreed to host the Hub which will be linked to technical advisers across the Commonwealth.
Leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) endorsed the project in a joint statement issued today. Heads from the 53 member states, which include countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean and Americas, called for an ambitious, equitable, inclusive climate change agreement in Paris that will limit the rise in global temperatures to below 2 or 1.5 degrees.
“We are deeply concerned about the threat posed by climate change, which continues to grow and to put at risk the economic, social, environmental, and cultural well-being of our member states and citizens. Many of our most vulnerable states and communities are already facing the adverse impacts of climate change, which can roll back decades of development gains,” their statement said.
Yesterday, developed Commonwealth countries reaffirmed their commitment to play their part in mobilising the US$100 billion every year by 2020 to address the adaptation and mitigation needs of developing countries.
During the special CHOGM session on climate change, Canada pledged $2.65 billion over five years to help developing countries cope with the issue. The UK pledged £21 million for disaster management and £5.5 million for the ocean-based economy and Australia pledged $1 million to the Climate Finance Access Hub.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said the statement shows a real commitment in the Commonwealth to address climate change challenges.
“Cyclone Pam and Storm Erika are recent and stark reminders that we need to act urgently to rescue our world, and particularly those who contribute the least to climate change but bear the brunt of its effects.
“Fifty of the 53 Commonwealth nations have already declared their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, in other words the concrete actions they will take to address climate change. We are very proud of this achievement and the fact that diverse nations with different perspectives were able to come together and speak with one voice on this issue which is so critical to our survival.”
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— The Commonwealth (@commonwealthsec) November 28, 2015