Saturday, December 5, 2009

Opening Remarks by H.E. former President Mr.Festus G.Mogae on ‘Climate Change and Climate Justice’ during a Governance Discussion Forum Dar-Es-Salaam

source: Republic of Botswana (2/12/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 28 of 2009
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
Democracy, Development, Dignity, Discipline and Delivery


1. I am thankful for this opportunity to chair this panel discussion on ‘climate change and climate justice’ both as former president of Botswana and United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change. To begin our discussion allow me to start by welcoming and introducing my fellow panellists – Dr Mary Robinson, who is founder and president of Realizing Rights; Ms Katherine Sierra, Vice President of Sustainable Development, World Bank; and Professor Pius Yanda, a research professor from the Institute of Resource Assessment of the University of Dar es Salaam. I welcome all of you and, of course, the audience.

2. On behalf of my fellow panellists, let me also thank the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and the organisers of this forum for bringing together such important stakeholders not only for this session but for the other two sessions on ‘regional economic integration’ and ‘agriculture and food security’. There is no doubt that the three sessions are very much relevant to Africa because climate change and the world economic crisis threaten to push back development gains that the continent has made in the past decades since independence. Although Africa and other developing regions have done the least to cause these problems unfortunately they bear the greatest consequences. These are, perhaps, the consequences of living in a global village. I think we all agree that our discussion today is timely as the date for the decisive United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen approaches. The worsening effects of climate change and the global economic downturn are, perhaps, the two most topical issues being discussed across the world. So, it is very thoughtful for the organisers to initiate yet another discussion on these issues.

3. To kick start our discussion, let me set the tone by highlighting some of the expectations of the Secretary-General as the negotiations for a better world for all continue. Next month or in three weeks time, as we are all aware, the world will gather in Copenhagen to forge a new climate agreement. Copenhagen will provide us with a historic opportunity to retool our economy to become less carbon-intensive, more sustainable and, indeed, more prosperous. On the 22nd of September this year, the Secretary-General organised a high-level summit on climate change for Heads of State and Government at the UN Headquarters in New York. I hope some of you had the opportunity to attend this Summit. It was history’s largest gathering of world leaders on climate change – attended by 101 Heads of State and Government and 163 countries. The Summit was another initiative to build consensus for success in Copenhagen.

4. The Secretary-General believes that through active involvement of leaders critical political impetus can be generated to help guide the final rounds of negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The agreement that must be reached in Copenhagen must be ambitious, fair and effective in reducing emissions while assisting countries as they adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change. The stakes could not be higher. Scientists say we have less than a decade for emissions to peak if we do not stabilize global average temperatures within 2.0 Degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. If we fail to curb the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, the consequences for humanity – and particularly for the world’s poorest, most vulnerable people – could be catastrophic. Count our continent, Africa and its people, amongst the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.

5. We are meeting here in Tanzania, the home of the magnificent Kilimanjaro Mountain, whose ice cap is predicted that it will disappear in 20 years due to climate change. Imagine Kilimanjaro without that spectacular white ice on top! I take it that you are all aware of the latest science, which shows that our climate is changing more rapidly than estimated even two years ago in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report. Already, nine out of the ten recorded disasters are now climate related. Hundreds of millions of people across the world could be affected if we do not act immediately. The ramifications of climate change affect nearly every sphere of human activity, and will dwarf the food, fuel and economic crises of the past twelve months. At a time when the global economy is stumbling along, we need an engine of growth. At a time when unemployment in many nations is rising, we need new jobs. And a time when poverty threatens to overtake hundreds of millions of people, especially in the least developed world, we need the promise of prosperity. Today, this possibility is at our finger-tips in the form of a new economy, based on innovative, renewable, low and zero-emission technologies.

6. At Copenhagen, we must seize this opportunity and turn the climate challenge into a catalyst for redirecting growth in a more sustainable, low-emissions direction. Given the pace of global warming, we may not get another chance. We know what is needed to seal a deal in Copenhagen. We need commitments on mid-term mitigation targets from governments and industrialised countries. These targets will help instil confidence that industrialised countries are willing to take the lead in solving a problem for which they bear greatest historical responsibility. We also need nationally appropriate mitigation efforts from developing countries, beyond business as usual. They need concrete support to achieve these efforts.

7. We need clarity on financing for both mitigation and adaptation. This is crucial. There also need to be an efficient institutional mechanism with an equitable, accountable governance structure that can deliver much-needed support to developing countries as they pursue mitigation efforts.

8. Finally, a framework for adaptation is also critical to help the majority of the world’s countries adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change. Similarly, there is a need for incentives for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

9. The September Summit, which I referred to earlier, mobilized political will and focused the attention of the world leaders on the urgent need for action. We helped to bridge differences between developed and developing countries. We built trust by bringing them together at the same table in a serious and sustained private dialogue, including on climate financing. Most importantly, we heard a very strong political message. All present recognized that a deal in Copenhagen was possible. Leaders showed a keen willingness to work hard to achieve this goal. A strong collective political vision emerged from the Summit. Leaders voiced broad support for setting a long-term goal to limit global temperature increase to a maximum of 2 Degrees Celsius. Some of the most vulnerable countries had argued for a maximum rise to 1.5 Degrees.

10. World leaders acknowledged the scientific imperative to cut global greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.Finally, the Summit shone a much-needed spotlight on financing. Financing for mitigation and adaptation is a key element in building trust, and is essential for sealing a deal. Many leaders rallied around a proposal for supporting US$100 billion per year over the next decade. Leaders agreed that, in principle, funding should derive from both public and private sources, and should be in addition to official development assistance.

11. Let me highlight four benchmarks which the Secretary-General has outlined for a successful climate deal at Copenhagen and beyond.

12. First, a successful deal must involve all countries working toward a common, long-term goal to limit global temperature rise to safe levels consistent with science. It will include ambitious emission reduction targets from industrialized countries by 2020. It will include actions by developing countries to limit the growth of their emissions while they pursue green growth. Substantial financial and technological support will be needed to achieve this. It will also address all major sources of greenhouse gases, including deforestation and emissions from shipping and aviation.

13. Second, a successful deal must strengthen the world’s ability to cope with inevitable changes. In particular, it must provide comprehensive support to the most vulnerable those who are on the frontlines of climate impacts.

14. Third, a deal needs to be backed by money and the means to deliver it. Without proper financing, and without unlocking private investment, including through carbon markets, the solutions we discuss are mere fantasies.

15. Fourth, a deal must include an equitable global governance structure that addresses the needs of developing countries. It is indeed pleasing that Heads of State and Government are now personally engaged in the search for climate solutions. Solutions that can power green growth, protect people, and preserve the planet.

16. Before giving the floor to the next panellist, let me conclude by expressing my gratitude to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and organizers for this positive initiative which, I strongly believe, supports the Secretary-General’s efforts to convince world leaders that the responsibility for sealing a deal in Copenhagen rests clearly on their shoulders and their governments. I thank you!

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