The Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology Hon Samuel Manetoali has called on all Solomon Islanders and government stakeholders to join forces with the government to combat one of the greatest threats to sustainable development and humanity-climate change.
The Minister who headed the Solomon Islands delegation to the 21st session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in the French capital, Paris, made the call in a Press Conference in Honiara this morning.
“I urge all Solomon Islanders and partners to join the Government to combat climate change because it is one of the greatest threats to sustainable development and humanity.”
He said as the head of the Solomon Islands delegation to the UN climate talks in Paris, he welcomed the outcome agreement and moreover will seek ways and means to ensure this Paris Agreement does assist Solomon Islands cope with the impacts of climate change and contribute to its sustainable development efforts.
Minister Manetoali said the key asks of Solomon Islands that are captured in the Paris Agreement are:
• Keeping global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels;
• Loss and Damage (L&D)- This refers to repairable damage and permanent loss due to the impacts of climate change);
• REDD+ -This refers to the reduction of emission from deforestation, forest degradation and the role of conservation and sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries) ; and
• Finance to support climate change response in vulnerable countries such as Solomon Islands.
“We have pressed for a stronger and clearer long term temperature target of below 1.5 degrees Celsius, nevertheless, the reference to well below 2 degrees Celsius, the aspirational call to parties to pursue efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the provision of 5-year reviews to ratchet Greenhouse Gases emission reduction targets, the obligation placed on developed countries to ramp up financial resources, technology transfer and capacity building flows to address the need of the most vulnerable parties such as Solomon Islands, supports a pathway towards the 1.5 degree Celsius target.
“In addition, the separation of L&D from Adaptation is a significant achievement noting the stiff resistance from developed country parties from the outset; therefore, the Paris Agreement does meet to a large extent our key asks,” he said.
The Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology said the Paris Agreement shall be taken through the appropriate national vetting and approval processes before the Solomon Islands ‘signs and ratifies it.’
He said Solomon Islands must strengthen its institutional systems and processes to address climate change and take action to assist its most vulnerable communities and these must be done strategically and in the most inclusive manner because the government alone cannot accomplish these mammoth undertakings.
Furthermore, Minister Manetoali said Solomon Islands must implement its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) which was endorsed by the Cabinet last month.
Solomon Islands INDC is focused on the strengthening and expansion of renewable energy systems such as hydropower and large solar farms, improving the forestry sector including investment in REDD+ and the development and strengthening of its carbon sinks, in line with the overall goal of transitioning to a low carbon economy and risk resilient society.
The Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology also took the opportunity to thank Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare for ‘his astute leadership in recognizing that climate change poses a serious threat to our sustainable development endeavors, and for his steadfast commitment to our participation in COP21 in spite of the security threats following the terrorist attacks in Paris.’
He also thanked the members of his delegation to the climate summit for their commitment during negotiations on the outcome agreement as well as the United Nations Development Programme and the Republic of China for their support towards Solomon Islands participation.