Delegates from 196 countries held up solar lanterns in a show of solidarity symbolising the transformation to clean technology which is essential to achieve the Paris Agreement goals.
This took place as the 22nd Conference of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol under the United Nations Framwork Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) began in Marrakech, Morocco.
The solidarity show was at the behest of Morocco’s Foreign Minister and newly-elected COP22 President Salaheddine Mezouar who underscored his country’s willingness to host the conference as a demonstration of Africa’s commitment to contributing to global efforts at tackling climate change.
“It emphasizes Africa’s desire to take its destiny in hand, to reduce its vulnerability and strengthen its resilience,” he said.
Together with Ségolène Royal, French Environment Minister and President of last year’s Paris UN Climate Change Conference, Salaheddine Mezouar handed out solar lanterns to all delegates at the opening ceremony.
Ratifying Paris Agreement
Acknowledging that the fact that the Paris Agreement is yet to put the world on track towards the goal of a maximum global average temperature of 1.5 to 2 degrees, as agreed by the international community in Paris last year, COP President Mezouar urged government delegates “to be more ambitious than ever in your commitments.”
“All over the world, public opinion must perceive change. It has to be a change at all levels, from local projects through to those that cross international borders and it must create genuine win-win partnerships,” he added.
In her last address before handing over the stewardship of the climate forum to her Moroccan counterpart, Ségolène Royal announced that 100 countries have ratified the Paris Agreement, which entered into force last Friday, a record time for an international treaty.
“We have made possible what everyone said was impossible, I therefore call on other nations to ratify the Paris agreement by the end of the year,” said French environment minister.
UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa reasoned that whilst the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement is a clear cause for celebration, it is also a timely reminder of the high expectations that are now placed on governments:
“Achieving the aims and ambitions of the Paris Agreement is not a given. We have embarked on an effort to change the course of two centuries of carbon-intense development. The peaking of global emissions is urgent, as is attaining far more climate-resilient societies.”
Ms. Espinosa further underlined 5 key areas in which work needs to be taken forward and they are Nationally determined contributions, support for adaptation, capacity building, full engagement of non-party stakeholders from north and south, and the finance to allow developing countries to green their economies and build resilience.