We’re all in the same canoe – negotiating world climate directions at COP23

IMG-20171117-WA0010

Senior Campaigner Helen Heather writes from the close of the UN Climate Talks in Bonn.

As I entered the UN Climate Talks, I immediately noticed the vibrancy and welcome (‘Bula’) of the Fijians who have presided over the negotiations. Their presence during these negotiations has been hard to miss as they have elevated the voices of small islands, the Pacific nations and all vulnerable countries urgently needing climate action.

Indeed the symbol the Fiji delegation shared with everyone here is a Drua – a Fijian ocean-going canoe – with the message “we are all in the same canoe”.

Here’s our take on the outcomes:

Progress on Paris – what has been agreed at COP23?

Fiji has led the way with bold leadership across technical negotiations. Our hope was for developed countries – those most responsible for the steep rise in global greenhouse gas emissions – to follow this lead, step into Fiji’s canoe and paddle firmly towards the Paris commitments.

We have a lot further to go to keep the Paris Agreement promises,  particularly around the much needed climate finance to help the poorest countries adapt and develop sustainably, clean energy for developing countries, and reducing emissions faster.

There were some encouraging steps towards reducing emissions as a group of over 20 countries – including the UK – committed to phase out coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel. The Talanoa Dialogue – which is the way countries will make their promises to limit warming to 1.5 degrees – was also started. We will be following this in the coming year, and urging countries to commit to bold pledges as ambition and motivation from developed countries wasn’t as strong as it needed to be during COP23.

We need continued trust and high cooperation in order to meet each nation’s promises under the climate agreement. Changes to the climate are a matter of life and death for Fiji and many countries and cultures across the world.

Martin Kapenda of Micah Zambia, reflects on his time at COP23: “Our partners in Zambia are expecting to hear positive outcomes from this COP. There are no major new agreements, however we should be hopeful that most countries are committed to take adequate actions to address the effects of climate change. I would urge policy makers to translate their commitment to tackling climate change into tangible actions which will renew the world.”

image1
I’ll be leaving the negotiations inspired by the Fijian leadership and motivated to push and pray for more action. I’m encouraged that I won’t be doing it alone as millions of other Christians across the world are part of the Church’s response to the changing climate. Beyond COP23, Tearfund will continue, through the Renew Our World campaign, to act for climate action.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s