Former President supports Secretary General’s Climate Summit Initiative; Says Head of Government engagement essential

Former President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo.
Former President, Bharrat Jagdeo.
Former President, Bharrat Jagdeo.

[]Following last week’s presentation to Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, the former President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo travelled to Warsaw, Poland – the location of this year’s UN climate meeting.

In Warsaw, the former President joined with other world leaders to emphasise the urgency of global action on climate change.

Jagdeo met with UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon to specifically focus on the needs of the smallest and most vulnerable states, including those in the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

The former President supported Nauru’s delegation – who currently hold the chair of AOSIS – in their conversations with the Secretary General about the threats to their members.

Jagdeo also briefed the Secretary General on the discussions about climate finance that took place among Commonwealth Heads of Government – and they specifically addressed the report of the Commonwealth Expert Group on Climate Finance, which the former President chaired.

Speaking after the meeting, the former President echoed a theme he had stressed with the Commonwealth Heads of Government – the need for Head of Government engagement if climate change is to be addressed.

He said “The world has committed to finalising a legally binding climate agreement by 2015 – that is now just two years away. If we are to have a chance of averting catastrophic climate change, climate change has to become a Heads of Government issue between now and then. Leaving it to Environment Ministers or officials will be inadequate. That is why I fully support Secretary General Ban ki-Moon’s plans for a Climate Summit in New York next year.”

At the same time, the former President emphasised that the international community could do much more between now and 2015 to make a practical difference for the world’s most vulnerable countries.

He said, “In my engagements with the leaders of AOSIS, they emphasised their practical needs today – not in 2015. There is a lot the world can do to help the world’s most vulnerable countries. Negotiations for a post-2015 agreement are an important part of that. But so are practical interventions today, to help build hurricane-proof hospitals and schools; to make agriculture and other economic activities more resilient to climate events; to create new financial mechanisms that make clean energy more attractive. These are practical solutions that can be delivered today. Not only do they make moral and economic sense – but they are indispensable to building trust within the international community that the world is serious about addressing climate change.”

In parallel with his advocacy for the more vulnerable countries, the former President continued to highlight the important role that forests can play in future climate solutions.

On several occasions, he emphasised the power of partnerships between developed countries and forest countries on deforestation.

He joined an announcement by the Governments of Colombia, Norway, the UK and Germany, who will be working together through an ambitious partnership to provide performance-based payments across Colombia’s Amazon region.

This partnership – potentially covering 40 million hectares of the Amazon – will join with Brazil’s Amazon Fund and Guyana’s national forest mechanism to significantly expand the proportion of the Amazon that is generating payments for climate services.

At the same meeting, the Governments of the US, UK, Germany and Norway announced their commitment of US$280 million to a new World Bank Bio-Carbon Fund to support more sustainable agriculture in countries like Colombia and Indonesia.

Also, the former President attended a High Level event hosted by the Indonesian Government whose US$1 billion forest programme is one of the three largest in the world (the other two being in Brazil and Guyana).



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