'We Cannot Relent, and We Must Not Fail,' Solomon Islands Tells World Leaders at COP28

Negotiators at Un Climate Conference
Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
'We Cannot Relent, and We Must Not Fail,' Solomon Islands Tells World Leaders at COP28

Speaking at the high-level ministerial dialogue on climate finance at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Dr Melchior Mataki said Solomon Islands is both a small island developing state and least developed country that is vulnerable to climate change and faces the most significant capacity constraints.

“If these processes are not not addressed, then those of us at the frontline of climate change will continue to hear about these financial pledges and fund mobilization and will remain unable to meet our adaptation and mitigation needs, and to address loss and damage,” Permanent Secretary Mataki added.

A man speaking
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Disaster Management, Climate Change and Meteorology, Dr Melchior Mataki / Credit: Fredrick Kusu.

The 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) now is at the midway point, signaling the intense negotiations of country delegates in the final week seeking solutions to achieve the highest level of ambition on climate change.

With more than 80,000 registered delegates at the climate conference, the major goal of halting global temperature rise has remained elusive, leaving critical items on the agenda such as climate finance, the future of fossil fuels and limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees as articulated by the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

The Solomon Islands’ delegation is hard at work representing the country as a small island developing state and least developed country. 

The delegation is negotiating for a definition of climate finance and limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.

People stands ina room
Some members of the Solomon Islands delegation after a side event in Dubai / Credit: Fredrick Kusu.

Mataki highlighted that the timely access to predictable and scaled up finance is a key priority for Solomon Islands.

He was disappointed with the lack of movement on key issues such as the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) on climate finance by 2024 that will address developing countries’ needs and priorities, securing financial flows to enable countries’ climate ambition.

The Global Stocktake (GST) is an opportunity for countries to scale up finance climate action without delays.

The biennial communications under Article 9.5 on quantitative and qualitative information relating to Article 9, paragraphs 1 and 3 of the Paris Agreement are important for Solomon Islands. However, these communications alone are inadequate to ensure predictability of financial resources.

As such, Solomon Islands calls for the common definition of climate finance and that the reporting by developed country parties under Article 9.5 must be translated into predictability in the funds that are mobilized through the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Loss and Damage Fund through country/floor-based allocation.

This also takes into account that the processes for accessing funds must be simplified, and to use other modalities such as budget support.

Mataki reminded leaders at COP28 that Solomon Islands came to Dubai to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees and that they are a beacon of hope to the most vulnerable people around the Blue Planet.

In a media statement UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Stiell said “COP28 must deliver a big switch: not just ‘what’ governments must do, but also ‘how’ to get the job done”. 

“The technologies and tools all exist. This week negotiators must agree on putting them to work”.

“If we want to save lives now, and keep 1.5 within reach, the highest ambition COP outcomes must stay front and center in these negotiations,” Stiell said. 

This story was produced as part of the 2023 Climate Change Media Partnership, a journalism fellowship organized by Internews' Earth Journalism Network and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security. It was first published by Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation on December 8, 2023.

Banner image:  Negotiators at the UN Climate Conference / Credit: Fredrick Kusu.

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