Announcement video CVF Virtual Summit

Virtual Leaders’ Summit to raise Climate Ambition and Accelerate Action


27 June 2018

World’s First Virtual Leaders’ Summit to raise Climate Ambition and Accelerate Action

Download the Press Release (English, pdf 0.1mb)

Watch the announcement video narrated by President Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands:

Full-length (3-minute) version & Short (2-minute) version

  • Government leaders of climate vulnerable nations to unite in “call to ambition” for survival
  • First-ever global political Summit to be held entirely online announced
  • Summit invitation extended to all leaders prepared to commit to greater climate action


DA NANG – 27 June 2018:  The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) is to convene a leaders’ summit to build increased support for the safeguard of those most vulnerable to growing climate change dangers. The announcement by H.E. Hilda Heine, President of the Marshall Islands, indicated the Heads of Government level conference would be held entirely online as a first Virtual Summit (#VirtualClimateSummit) of global political leaders, eliminating emissions and promoting inclusive dialogue.

President Heine of the Marshall Islands said: “What we face, the world will face,” while stressing that “all nations must urgently find ways to step up and do more to tackle climate change if we are to protect vulnerable nations and people everywhere from an escalation of life-and development- threatening danger, including existential threats to nations like my own.”

President Heine said holding the Summit entirely online aimed to inspire leaders and the world to reconsider what might be additionally accomplished through the creative use of resources at hand. “If we can act, so can any nation,” she added.

The announcement, made at the 6thGlobal Environment Facility Assembly in Da Nang, was accompanied by the release of a video featuring President Heine inviting to join the Summit world leaders prepared to do more in the immediate future to address climate threats on lives and livelihoods. The video also stressed opportunities to be gained from tackling climate change in terms of health, jobs and other benefits.

The Summit, it was indicated, would serve to highlight new national efforts; to share perspectives on climate risks and on opportunities of putting the world on a safer 1.5°C  pathway, building wider international support; and, to help ensure that the necessary resources and finance are delivered to make this possible.

The 2018 CVF Virtual Summit being held on 22 November will follow the expected release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on 1.5°C in October 2018. The 1.5°C Paris Agreement goal is widely understood to be the safest achievable temperature limit, the realization of which requires more rapid and far-reaching actions than the present commitments of governments.

The CVF Virtual Summit also convenes leaders ahead of this December’s United Nations Climate Change Conference at Katowice, Poland where, through the “Talanoa Dialogue”, all nations will confront global efforts to reduce emissions to fulfill the Paris Agreement including to limit warming to 1.5°C.


Gemedo Dalle, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Ethiopia):

“For too long, our people have suffered as the interests of others were put first. With the CVF Summit we plan to let the world know why the climate is worth fighting for. Since dangers now find their way to every doorstep, in doing so we are confident to inspire new efforts to tackle this global threat.”


David Paul, Minister-in-Assistance-to-the-President and Minister of Environment (Marshall Islands):

“We need every country to step up their climate targets by 2020 to help protect the survival of my country, as we were promised in the Paris Agreement. My island nation may be on the frontline, but no country will be immune. Last week more than twenty countries joined the Marshall Islands in launching a Declaration for Ambition, and in the lead-up to the Climate Vulnerable Forum Summit this November we now call on others to join us in signing that Declaration.”


Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Minister of Environment and Energy (Costa Rica):

“The current targets set by countries in 2015 lead to warming that can reach 3 or 4 degrees Celsius. These levels will certainly drown vulnerable nations. If no real and transformational changes are put forward, the ability to enjoy and advance human rights, peace and sustainable development will be permanently threatened. All governments need and must update their medium and long-term strategies in order to consistently increase ambition, achieve a de-carbonized economy and enjoy all the social, economic and political advantages coming out of that.”


Senator Loren Legarda (Philippines):

“Our nations are among the most vulnerable to climate change, yet our targets are among the most aggressive in the world. We invite the rest of the world to fulfill their pledges with a far greater sense of urgency. We know that pursuing the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold we fought for is the best way not only to protect our people and climate, but also to spur economic growth.“


Reaction Messages on the CVF Summit:


Emmanuel Macron – President of the Republic of France:

“I would like to thank the President of the Marshall Islands for her urgent call to all Heads of State. Together we need to tackle the challenges caused by climate change, which threatens all parts of the world, and preserve the future of humankind. Right from the start, France is responding to this call. We are ready to raise the level of climate ambition and action that is required by 2020 to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. There is no Planet B.”


Eric Wiebes – Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate, Kingdom of the Netherlands:

“The Netherlands strongly feels the necessity of more ambition to keep the goals of the Paris Agreement within reach. Therefore, the Dutch government is seeking close cooperation with other countries in order to raise the level of climate ambition within the European Union.”


Miguel Arias Cañete – EU Commissioner for Climate Action:

“I welcome this good news of the Climate Vulnerable Forum Summit later this year. Building on the momentum of last week’s ministerial on climate action MOCA in Brussels, this sends the right signal ahead of COP24 in Katowice. Together we will continue our efforts to step up our climate ambition to ensure that the spirit and letter of what was agreed in Paris will be followed.”


Edmund G. Brown Jr. – Governor of California:

“President Heine will help carry the torch of climate action from this year’s Global Climate Action Summit to the United Nations Conference of the Parties in Poland this December.”


Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility:

“It is the poorest and most vulnerable countries that are hit the hardest from climate change. At this critical time, we all need to raise our climate ambition and the GEF is committed to transformational change. We all share one planet in common, and in its new four-year investment strategy the GEF puts a strong emphasis on financing for Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. The CVF Leaders’ Summit is an important opportunity to accelerate action towards a low carbon future.”


Hoesung Lee – Chair of the IPCC:

“The IPCC is working hard to complete the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC, to be released in early October subject to approval. As IPCC Chair I am delighted to hear that the Climate Vulnerable Forum is organizing its first carbon-free summit in November. I hope that our report will provide a valuable scientific evidence base for your discussions, as well as informing the negotiations at COP24 a couple of weeks later.”


Patricia Espinosa, Co-Chair of the Global Climate Action Summit and Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change:

“The Forum is a clear demonstration of how and why the world needs to address the climate challenge. Not only have its member nations adopted some of the most ambitious climate targets to date, but their exposure to the realities of extreme weather events are a constant reminder of our shared responsibility to step-up the pace of action.”


Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC):

“The IFRC welcomes the announcement of the CVF Summit as an opportunity to bring greater attention to rising climate risks that are affecting the most vulnerable communities in the world. The impacts of climate change are here, now, and we will continue to see devastating humanitarian consequences unless urgent action is taken. For this reason we look forward to the Summit resulting in increased ambition, solidarity and urgency to build resilience and achieve all the goals of the Paris Agreement.”


Winnie Byanyima – Oxfam International Executive Director:

“The countries least responsible for causing climate change are taking matters into their own hands. They are showing the rest of the world the way to fight climate change. This is the true spirit of the Paris Agreement, and the kind of leadership that people on the front lines of extreme weather demand.”


Jennifer Morgan – Greenpeace International Executive Director:

“This Summit is a call to action for the world’s leaders to step up and prove that they’ve heard the voices of the world’s vulnerable and that they too will act with the responsibility and urgency demanded of them,”
“It puts the biggest polluters to shame that the countries who will be hit hardest by climate change are also the ones leading the fight against global warming. Other countries need to wake up and act because our collective fate will be sealed by the actions taken today.”


Ajay Mathur, Director General, TERI in India:

TERI welcomes the launch of the Climate Vulnerable Forum Summit, and salutes this first ever carbon-free online summit. India is very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, with over 7000 kilometres of coastline, and huge reliance on our Himalayan glaciers and monsoon rains for the livelihood and well-being of our people. We reiterate the need for comprehensive and urgent climate action to be taken by all stakeholders towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.


Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Institute:

“As the world faces growing impacts from climate change, we must listen to voices of the most vulnerable. The members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum have demonstrated their commitment to take action that will help spur the world to step up ambition by 2020. The summit in November should provide a much-needed jolt of momentum heading into the global climate talks in Poland. There’s no doubt that accelerating climate action is in all countries’ interests. We need more action by all to achieve the vision put forward by the Paris Agreement.”


May Boeve Executive Director

“This is a powerful call to action that must resonate around the world. With their commitment to reach 100% renewable energy, climate vulnerable countries are leading the way to a fossil free future. Their bold actions put to shame the delay and denial we see from so many rich countries like the United States. The message from the Climate Vulnerable Forum is clear: if you’re still building fossil fuel projects, you’re endangering the very survival of these nations. No matter where we live, the climate movement stands in solidarity with all vulnerable communities who are on the frontlines of this crisis. Together, we can end the age of fossil fuels and create a just and sustainable world for all.”


Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Leader of WWF’s global climate and energy programme:

“Climate change is the greatest challenge facing our world, threatening the delicate web of life that sustains ecosystems and the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. Our leaders have the power to change this, to be part of history as we shift to a low-carbon world. This starts with increasing climate action reflected in individual country climate plans (or Nationally Determined Contributions, NDCs). So the Climate Vulnerable Forum Summit is a welcome initiative, coming at just the right time. In this year of stepping up climate action, world leaders need to be bold, to act now and at scale, to help ensure that they keep the promise of a 1.5°C degree world alive.” 


Tomás Insua: Executive Director – Global Catholic Climate Movement:

“The poor and future generations most suffer the consequences of climate change, even though they least contribute to its causes. Plain and simple, this is an issue of justice. The nations that are most vulnerable to the climate crisis are calling for us to act, and our faith tells us that standing with them is a moral opportunity. Loving our neighbors is a courageous act. In response to Pope Francis’ call, we are committed to making the choices today that will step up our ambition and keep us below the 1.5 degree threshold.”


Emily Farnworth, Head of Climate Change Initiatives, World Economic Forum:

“The race is on for business, governments and all sectors of society to step up our ambitions by 2020 to protect the natural resources of our planet. If we put in place the right public-private partnerships and act together as a global community, we can we mitigate the worst effects of climate change and ensure peace, prosperity and economic opportunities for all,”


Esther Watts, Country Director of CARE International in Ethiopia:

“Climate change is a major development challenge in Ethiopia. How the country and, its diverse peoples, communities, and households respond to the multi-faceted impacts of climate change determine Ethiopia’s prospects for growth and transformation, gender equality, and livelihood resilience and sustainability. Recognizing this, the Government of Ethiopia, CARE and other development partners have been making considerable efforts to respond to climate change impacts. The CVF summit will be an important opportunity to raise awareness of climate actions taken, and to trigger further cooperation to scale them up.”


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