The Commonwealth has long championed global advocacy around climate change and ocean action. This year was no exception as the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, led a delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt.
Throughout the summit, Scotland has led discussions to urge countries to progress towards a meaningful outcome – advocating for small and other vulnerable states and raising awareness about the various Commonwealth programmes offered to support members.
In particular, Scotland called for actions to close gaps on emissions, finance, and justice, while taking into account the needs of vulnerable countries.
With the growing climate uncertainties and mounting financial needs for climate adaptation and mitigation, member countries across the Commonwealth are keen to see businesses take up a greater role in the fight against climate change.
Panel discussions underscored the role of multinational companies in raising climate finance, opportunities and challenges for green investments in developing countries, as well as innovative financing solutions.
“Vulnerable states face being consumed by the waves or drowned by debt,” said Secretary-General Scotland advocating for small developing states across the bloc.
“The unthinkable has become typical. […] We must reject the violence of inaction against those who need us to succeed, now and for generations to come, and commit ourselves to action on land, ocean, energy, finance and resilience.”
Scotland also highlighted the series of climate disasters that have affected millions of people across the Commonwealth in recent months.
In Pakistan, devastating floods have claimed more than 1,700 lives and affected 33 million people since June. Similarly in Nigeria, more than 600 people have died and 1.3 million displaced, due to the worst floods seen in the country in more than a decade.
Following two weeks of extensive negotiations at the COP27, nearly 200 countries have agreed on a set of key outcomes – including the establishment of a fund to address loss and damage due to climate change.
“I welcome this historic outcome from the COP27 summit and applaud the tireless negotiators who have helped bring about this significant step forward,” commented Secretary-General Scotland welcoming the developments.
“This is an encouraging day for all Commonwealth member countries – including climate-vulnerable small states, least developed countries, developing countries, and indeed for all the world.
“The Commonwealth stance on loss and damage has been unequivocal. When Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting met in Kigali, Rwanda earlier this year in June, they were united in their call for scaled up action and financing to address loss and damage resulting from climate change.
“However, while I welcome today’s developments, the threats around us continue to intensify. We must work together to ramp up climate action and ambition, recognising that we are all in the same storm, and the only way for us to survive is by steering in a common direction and taking bold, courageous actions, together.”
During COP27, the Commonwealth Secretariat also announced the first call for proposals under the newly established Commonwealth Blue Charter Project Incubator.
The project supports the development of governments’ projects under the Commonwealth Blue Charter to accelerate their transition to fair, sustainable, and inclusive marine conservation and maritime development.