The UN Climate Change Conference, COP23, (Nov. 6-17) is now underway in Bonn, Germany. The conference began with strong, unified calls to hold to the path of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
The conference takes place after a year of destructive hurricanes, fires, floods, droughts, melting ice and impacts on agriculture which threaten food security.
“All over the world, vast numbers of people are suffering – bewildered by the forces ranged against them. Our job as leaders is to respond to the suffering with all means available to us,” said newly elected COP23 President, Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama. “This means to meet our commitments in full, not back away from them.”
Bainimarama said that Fiji is working to build a “Grand Coalition” throughout the year among governments at every level, civil society, the private sector and faith-based organizations.
UN Climate Change Executive Secretary of Patricia Espinosa said: “Together with the Sustainable Development Agenda, we have a clear path forward to truly address climate change and sustainable development.”
Espinosa outlined the work governments will be looking to address in Bonn – above all to take the next steps to ensure that the Paris Agreement’s operating system is completed in time and ways and means to implement it are strengthened.
Espinosa stressed the importance of immediate progress, saying, “We need to move forward to fulfill the commitments that are due in 2020. In this regard, finance and pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions are key.”
German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks reiterated her countries support for the UN and pointed out that as the home of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, Bonn is evolving into a global center of climate action and an international hub for sustainable development.
The German Minister nnounced that Germany would support the UN’s Adaptation Fund with an additional €50 million in 2017.
Photo: The opening ceremony involved a traditional Fijian welcoming ceremony, involving Pacific warriors who served a Kava drink (UNFCCC)