Statement of H.E. Mattlan Zackhras, Marshall Islands, at 2016 Forum

The Sustainable Development Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement compliment and reinforce each other. Both aim at ensuring inclusive and sustainable development by promoting long-term and environmental-friendly policies to achieve prosperity for all. Both climate change and poverty are the greatest challenges of our time. And these universal challenges necessitate universal approach. Therefore, addressing them requires the widest possible international cooperation.

Mr. President,

Ethiopia is the current President of the Climate Vulnerable Forum and the Vulnerable 20. Let me share with you the views of our more than 40 members, representing one billion climate vulnerable people.

It is self-evident that for climate vulnerable countries, climate change is not a mere concern in relation to the impediment it presents to development. It is that. But it goes much further than that in the sense that it is an existential matter — it is a matter of the very survival of our nations. In Paris, we agreed to take “an effective and progressive response to the urgent threat of climate change on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge.” And, let me stress that science is clear; the vast majority of scientists around the world agree that climate change is happening; and it is changing at a faster rate than ever recorded in human history because of our activity. Therefore, we simply cannot afford to continue with business as usual. Taking an urgent and concerted action is not a matter of choice but a necessity.


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