World-renowned environmentalists, scientists, climate change experts and indigenous groups will meet on October 3 in London to create a roadmap for pioneering, country-led solutions to climate change.
The event, convened by the Commonwealth and its implementation partner on regenerative development, the Cloudburst Foundation, will officially launch Common Earth - an international consortium aimed at collectively creating and harnessing strategies to restore the damage caused by climate change and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has described the meeting as a critical collaboration at a critical time, giving experts from a range of disciplines and sectors the opportunity to bring their perspective to climate change solutions.
She said: “The global outcry for action on climate change has never been louder. In David Attenborough’s words, the ‘penny is starting to drop’ and millions are waking up to the reality that, without action, we are careering towards destruction.
“The sombre predictions of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report of drowned metropolises, melting mountain glaciers and super storms seem far too imminent, as hurricanes, cyclones, floods and drought continue to break records, both in terms of intensity and frequency.
“Yet, the report is also hopeful, providing ‘evidence of the benefits of combining scientific with local and indigenous knowledge to develop suitable options to manage climate change risks and enhance resilience’.”
The Secretary-General added that the Commonwealth has made climate action a priority and is looking at solutions from every possible angle.
She said: “Our Commonwealth Blue Charter programme is focused on empowering our countries to take action against the scourge of plastic pollution, to build resilience in their coastal ecosystems against the impacts of climate change and to ensure its marine resources are used in ways consistent with a sustainable future.
“We are also helping small and vulnerable countries access millions for climate action; and now we are looking at how we connect and scale-up existing innovations, many led by indigenous communities, that have already proven to be highly effective in restoring some of the damage caused by climate change.”
The two-day conference will launch the road-mapping process with projects in Auckland, New Zealand; the Kalinago in Dominica; the Kiribati's Bring PIPA Home initiative, as well as new initiatives in Belize, Costa Rica, and Zambia.
Participants will discuss the launch of Common Earth’s working groups to tackle cross-cutting issues. These include:
Building on the Commonwealth’s ongoing regenerative development initiative, the conference will look at why strategies which are based on preserving living systems and tailored to specific locations are most effective in addressing climate change; and how to create partnerships that can harness, accelerate and scale-up their impacts.
“Human genius has enabled us to travel to the moon, it has miniaturised vast libraries of information onto devices that fit into the palm of our hand, and brought medical advances that add years to our life expectancy,” Secretary-General Scotland said. “We need that same genius to find solutions to climate change. Science can build on the ancient wisdom of indigenous communities and diverse cultural inheritances towards sustainable ways of drawing on natural resources without destroying the harmony and balance of the ocean and our common earth.”