UNFCCC COP24, Katowice Poland
13 December 2018
It is a moment of great pride for Fiji that the Talanoa methodology we introduced at COP23 reached another level yesterday here at COP24 – as ministers from around the world joined leading non-party stakeholders in dialogue about how we can raise ambition in the climate action struggle.
I want to thank you all for embracing the Talanoa spirit – to move our collective agenda forward not in an atmosphere of 2 blame or finger-pointing but with respect, empathy and understanding. To realise that we all have legitimate points of view but that we are all essentially in the same canoe. And to realise that the scale of the climate threat requires us all to do more – much more – if we are to preserve life as we know it on our planet and the health and well-being of our people, our economies and our legacy for future generations.
The exchange of ideas and best practices that has taken place must now be translated into concrete action as you review your nationally determined contributions. And I appeal to you all to return to your capitals with this Talanoa Call for Action and demonstrate the political will that is necessary to move this process resolutely forward by 2020.
Of all the hundreds of talanoa sessions held throughout the world since we launched the concept in Bonn in May, this is easily the most important. Because as ministers in the sovereign governments that 3 make up the Conference of the Parties, you hold in your hands the power to transform our collective approach to the climate threat.
The time for talking and listening – as important as that has been and will continue to be in the Talanoa process – must now also give way to action. The Talanoa Dialogue now must give way to the Talanoa Call for Action.
As I have said repeatedly as COP23 President, we face the starkest of choices. Act decisively now to cap the global temperature at no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above that of the pre-industrial age. Act decisively to embrace the new technologies that will pave the way to a clean energy future and ensure our future prosperity. Or enter history as the generation that blew it – that sacrificed the health of our world and ultimately betrayed humanity because we didn’t have the courage and foresight to go beyond our short-term individual concerns. Craven, irresponsible and selfish.
So Friends, as outgoing COP23 President, I again call on all the nations of the world to demonstrate the political will needed to overcome the immensity of the challenge we face. And to embrace the wonderful opportunities for growth and prosperity that will flow if we work together to make the switch from dirty energy to clean energy.
As the scientists have just told us, time is fast running out. But there is still time for those nations who have yet to make the necessary commitment to board our canoe on our voyage to a zero carbon, clean energy future.
Let me make this perfectly clear. Fiji welcomes the IPCC Special Report on 1.5 degrees. And we thank the thousands of scientists who contributed to it.
We must all accept the science, which is irrefutable. We accept science in virtually every single other form of human endeavour. So simple logic dictates that we must do it 5 when the evidence of human-induced warming is so conclusive.
I appeal to you all to join Fiji and the Marshall Islands as the first two nations to commit to raising our NDCs by 2020 and achieve net zero emissions by the middle of the century. If we can do it, so can you. So I ask you all to heed the appeal of the UN Secretary General to come to his summit in New York next September with concrete plans – informed by yesterday’s talanoas and the hundreds before them – to raise your own NDCs.
I also thank the Secretary General for his strong endorsement of the Talanoa Dialogue as a critical vehicle to raise ambition and his call for the Talanoa process to continue all the way to New York and beyond. Fiji commits itself here in Katowice to continue to lead the Talanoa Call for Action. We are proud and very gratified that this Pacific concept of inclusive decision- making has captured the imagination of the world. We are proud and very gratified that it has the support of not only a great number of national governments that make up the Conference of the Parties but the members of the Grand Coalition that have been at the core of Fiji’s COP23 Presidency – states, cities and regions, the private sector, civil society and faith-based organisations and billions of people around the world.
Together, we must recognise the gravity of the challenge we face – the need to increase our collective NDC’s fivefold – five times more ambition, five times more action – if we are to achieve the 1.5 degree target. Together, we must unreservedly accept the science and the advice that our present NDCs have us on target for warming of at least 3 degrees by century’s end. Together, we must commit to continue exchanging ideas and best practices to raise our NDCs and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Together, we can overcome the greatest threat humanity has ever faced – with the entire global community eventually emerging more prosperous and more resilient.
As we wrap up our Ministerial Talanoa at COP24, I warmly thank our Polish co-chair and all of you who have committed yourself to the process.
So let’s continue to talanoa as one world for more ambition and, most importantly, more action. Vinaka vakalevu.