Commentary

Malta’s sneak preview: climate resilient transformation

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The very weekend (Friday 27th – Sunday 29th) before the Paris COP begins the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will be taking place in sunny Malta. With Paris already front and centre of our to-do lists we’ll keep it simple, 3 things to watch out for from CHOGM:

The voice of the climate vulnerable.

Over half of the Commonwealth countries are Small Island Developing States (SIDs) or Least Developed Countries (LDCs). CHOGM provides a captive political and media audience for these parties to articulate their experiences as countries already living with significant climate impacts. Together these countries have a critical opportunity to make the case for a Paris outcome which includes adaptation, finance, capacity building and loss & damage to manage both current and future climate risks. In summary, CHOGM provides a collective platform to demonstrate what a fair agreement in Paris will mean to the most vulnerable countries.

Poverty eradication is only possible with climate stability

Climate is by no means the only hot topic on the CHOGM agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will also have their time in the spotlight. This is the first time since the SDG’s were adopted at the UNGA that Commonwealth heads of government will have come together to begin discussing their plans to collaborate and implement these goals. On the bridge between New York and Paris the meme will live on – you can’t eradicate poverty without climate stability.

A sneak preview of what Paris means to leaders

CHOGM gives leaders a bit of a pre-Paris warm-up. We’ve seen several leaders declarations crop up (the G7, US-China, Germany-Brazil to name a few) but none with quite such a diverse grouping as CHOGM. In addition to SIDs and LDCs the Commonwealth includes significant emitters like the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa as well as emerging economies such as Malaysia, Singapore and Nigeria. Given the huge momentum we’ve seen in the past weeks and months, we’ll be expecting leaders to articulate their commitment to:

Returning to the table every 5 years until decarbonisation is delivered in the second half of the century, hand-in-hand with building resilience to climate impacts.

See you in Paris!

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