Solomon Islands work programme on Paris Agreement slow

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Island Sun Newspaper,

BONN: SOLOMON Islands work programme on the Paris Agreement is slow, says the country’s head of delegation to the 23rd Conference of Parties (COP23) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Dr. Melchior Mataki.

The Permanent Secretary of the country’s Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology said the 2015 Paris Agreement is a near universal Agreement signed by 195 countries and ratified by 170 Parties, including Solomon Islands.

As such Solomon Islands has a mandate to operationalize the Agreement by 2018.

“Regrettably, progress on the Paris Agreement work programme is slow. Substantive discussions have yet to begin. A clear and defined roadmap into 2018 with milestones to complete our work is needed before we leave Bonn,” he told delegates and heads of states in the High Level Segment Statements of COP23 in Bonn on Thursday afternoon.

Dr Melchior said ambition under the Paris Agreement remains low.

“To date we have run-away climate change, global temperature continues to rise to 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre industrial level. Ocean acidification is now at 403 parts per million after the Paris Agreement was adopted.

“We are heading for a 3 degrees Celsius world; as such we need to decarbonize our economies, and keep coal in the ground.”

He told COP23 President and Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama that Solomon Islands is committed to work with Fiji through the Talanoa Dialogue review and enhance “our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to put us back on a 1.5 degrees Celsius trajectory, guided by IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Special 1.5 degrees Celsius Report due out next year.”

Dr. Melchior said in doing so it would preserve the credibility and integrity of the Paris Agreement.

“My delegation calls for more Pre-2020 action, in particular those who have not signed the Doha Amendment to do so with a sense of urgency to put the Paris Agreement on a firmer foundation by 2020. 

“On adaptation, Solomon Islands considers the Adaptation Fund to serve the Paris Agreement a natural step, we support the draft decision by G77 and China and hope to see this effected at this COP.  

“On Loss and Damage (L&D) as climate change continues to define our future, we look to your leadership, to have L&D be a standing Subsidiary Bodies Agenda noting we have loss and damage activities in SBI 2018 and 2019.”

Dr. Melchior it was sad the United States of America have announced its intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. And Solomon Islands find this regrettable.

“We call on the United States to take leadership in climate action, and not to stand in the way of current negotiations.

“Combating climate change requires our collective action; every country should be part of the solution, Solomon Islands supports the Republic of China (Taiwan)’s meaningful participation within the UNFCCC process. Let Taiwan help.”

He said Solomon Islands also welcomes the signing of the World Bank and Green Climate Fund Accreditation Master Agreement on Monday this week.

“This development will see funds roll out for our Tina River Hydropower Project.”

The hydro-power project has sourced USD86 million under GEF which when up and running would provide electricity for capital Honiara and saving the national government from purchasing and importing fuel.

Another achievement Dr Melchior highlighted in his statement was the historical adoption of the Indigenous Peoples Platform in COP23.

“Solomon Islands celebrates the operationalization of the local communities and indigenous People’s platform and look forward to discussion on the structure of the engagement of the Platform with the UNFCCC process.

He added that ‘below 1.5 degrees to stay alive remains’ Solomon Islands call.

“The Paris Agreement is our last line of defence; we must work constructively to make the Agreement work for humanity.”

Dr. Melchior said COP23 was a historic COP for Solomon Islands in that after two decades of COP, he was indeed proud to see a first Island President takes on the Presidency of COP 23.

“Even more special to see a Pacific Islander and a neighbour take on the global task. Solomon Islands assure you of our support during your tenure in office,” he told COP23 President Bainimarama.