Globally, the number of climate disasters has tripled since 1980, while, hot weather in 2016 broke the historic record set in 2015. Climate change threatens all nations and peoples regardless of their location or economy. The Commonwealth represents 54 countries many of these are least developed; small or most vulnerable to climate change.
The Commonwealth has long been on the frontline in supporting its small member states through global advocacy on policy level. From the Commonwealth Langkawi Declaration on the Environment in 1989 to the 2015 climate commitment by leaders in Malta, it has intervened to strengthen the voice of small states and unite its members to address this existential threat.
Climate change will be high on the agenda when Commonwealth Heads of Government meet in Rwanda this year - more than three decades after their predecessors recognised the threat and drew up a visionary action plan to avert the crisis.
The Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub has successfully helped Tonga to secure a grant from the Green Climate Fund to reform the country’s solar electricity body.
Cyclones in the Caribbean and Pacific, devastating bushfires in Australia, recurrent floods and droughts in Asia and Africa, increasingly bring tragic loss of life to our nations and communities, causing irreparable damage to centuries old ways of life.
One of Sri Lanka’s most widely-acclaimed artists has a message for young people in the Commonwealth: “move together” in the fight against climate change.
In an increasingly changing environment and warming climate which threatens the very existence of mankind, good data and information on exactly what is happening has never been more important.
The Secretary-General has expressed solidarity with the people of The Bahamas in a visit to the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama which were hit by Hurricane Dorian last month.