Statement of Mr. Vahakn Kabakian, Lebanon at 2016 Forum

Climate Vulnerable Forum High Level Meeting at COP22

18 November 2016 (10:00 am to 12:00 pm) Marrakech, Kingdom of Morocco
Mr. Vahakn Kabakian, Head of Delegation, Ministry of Environment
Honorable chair,
Dear colleagues and friends,
We are very pleased today to address the Climate Vulnerable Forum and confirm our willingness to join the CVF, because we are aware of the value, and the message this forum conveys. In the face of climate change and its dangerous threats, there is no alternative to the strength of global solidarity to achieve climate justice. It is eminently clear that we, vulnerable countries, have to tackle this together; to keep ramping up ambition while increasing our resilience towards climate change. The CVF platform gives a single powerful voice to the vulnerable, builds consensus and trust among its members, and most importantly exercises progressive and ambitious influence in international climate policy-making and negotiations.
Lebanon is a small Mediterranean country in the Arab region, with lush forests and many rivers, and it is currently under threat from desertification, diseases and sea-level rise, coupled with a refugee influx way beyond what it can handle. Our snow cover will decrease by 40% with a 2ºC increase, and the most recent findings foresee a burden of nearly 17 billion dollars from negative impacts of climate change on the Lebanese economy in 2040, in case we allow the world temperatures to go beyond 1.5ºC. We reckon this sounds familiar, and that similar consequences affect all the members in this room.
Our studies have also shown that up to 90% of these economic repercussions could be avoided in Lebanon should the most ambitious emission-reducing scenario globally occur. We aim at deviating by as much as 15% from our greenhouse gases emissions by 2030, and when appropriate support is provided, we can go as high as 30% reduction by 2030. We also have adaptation targets which tackle the biodiversity, water and agriculture sectors. We are currently developing our mid-century low emission development strategy, and civil society and the private sector are becoming important actors in tackling climate change following the momentum of the Paris Agreement.
Mr. Chair, Excellencies and dear colleagues, Lebanon is fully committed to merging efforts with the CVF to eradicate poverty, improve public health, educate people and enhance infrastructure and resources efficiency, and by that acting on climate change. We are doing and will continue to do all we can within our limited capacities to protect the human rights and gender balance in our territory. Moreover, we strongly believe in South-South cooperation, which is efficiently growing daily, and through the lessons learned and partnerships built, we will prove the world right, and show what the merged will of countries can achieve, even in the most difficult of times, through the CVF and all other platforms possible.
Thank you.

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