Experts call for action as UN climate meeting opens in Morocco

The twenty-second United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP22) opens today in Marrakech, Morocco, with several environmentalists citing the need for global leaders to “act now” in implementing the agenda to mitigate climate alteration.

The meeting, scheduled to run from today through November 18, brings together hundreds of global leaders to deliberate on the way forward, regarding the implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change as well as the recently adopted Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

President Paul Kagame is expected to lead Rwanda’s delegation at COP22 in Morocco.

Dr Vincent Biruta, the minister for natural resources, told The New Times that Rwanda will focus its interventions on how to implement the Paris Agreement and meet its crucial goals.

“Generally, Rwanda’s expectations from Marrakesh are that more countries prioritise climate resilient strategies and to make sure that climate fund is availed for countries to implement the climate change agreements adopted in Paris and Kigali. This is time for action,” Biruta said.

In October, Rwanda ratified the Paris Agreement by Presidential Order and then submitted its instrument of ratification to the UN Secretary-General.

Last week, the Paris Agreement entered into force, after ratification by a required quorum of countries, representing at least 55 per cent of global greenhouse-gas emissions.

It is expected to help the world limit global temperature rises to no more than 2C.

Experts say this week’s meeting in Marrakech will seek specific policies that individual nations can adopt to reduce emissions faster and more than pledged.

The United Nations climate change secretariat (UNFCCC) executive secretary, Patricia C. Espinosa, said parties to the Paris Agreement had increased from 86 to 100 countries over the weekend, which reflected a significant will for the world to mitigate climate change.

Espinosa was addressing journalists in Marrakesh, yesterday, ahead of the official opening ceremony of COP22, today.

“Over the weekend we reached the goal of 100 parties ratifying the Paris Agreement, the deal has been ratified so it’s stronger and more credible, we are all obliged to deliver on the promises,” he said.

COP22 will also involve the Sustainable Innovation Forum 2016 (SIF16), aimed at facilitating partnerships between businesses, governments, the UN and NGOs to accelerate climate change solutions and bring scale to low carbon innovation.

Now in its seventh year, SIF16 is the largest business-focused forum at COP22 produced by Climate Action with official endorsement from the Moroccan government, and in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme.

Salaheddine Mezouar, Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the President of COP22, says that, the world is changing the paradigm towards a low carbon economy that needs key climate finance flows to the most vulnerable countries.

He added the COP22 is an important moment to engage civil society the governments to fight climate change.

“COP22 needs to produce commitments from States and civil society to help the most vulnerable countries face global warming,” Mezouar said.

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