Statement of H.E. Mattlan Zackhras, Marshall Islands, 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
H.E. Mr. Mattlan Zackhras, Minister in Assistance to the President, Marshall Islands
I normally start my international talks by saying I bring the warm greetings of Yokwe from the Republic of the Marshall Islands. But Kathy from the Marshall Islands has already done that!
This is my first COP. I know they can be confusing processes with many late nights, multiple events and a lot of rushing from one place to the next arguing one’s point. But I have to say this one has been quite easy for me, and my small delegation, because we have the Climate Vulnerable Forum as a “family” of friends to help!
I want to take a few minutes to extend my warm kommol tata to everyone in this special family of high level ministers and for concluding the year of hard work, and thank you Mr Chairman for your leadership.
This work represents a year of effort and the commitment of this family of close to 50 vulnerable countries, and a multitude of supporting civil society organisations, to implementing the Paris Agreement which we are hear to celebrate and pledge that implementation takes place as soon as possible. This has become international law faster than any multilateral agreement on record.  And the key part of that Agreement is the commitment by all Parties to making the global transition we need to stay below 1.5 to survive. The CVF played a really integral and critical role in getting this enshrined in the Paris Agreement, and we are here, again, to reiterate the need to work together.
I want to applaud the work of the Troika and everyone involved in making this possible.
I know times are politically uncertain for many. But we all remain committed to Paris and to encourage immediate action. We will succeed together.
I want to stress my personal commitment as incoming member of the Troika that I will ensure we work with all those in this room and beyond to make sure that global emissions peak in the next few years and as we turn the corner to a cleaner and safer 1.5 community.
There can be no real peace and prosperity if we leave millions of the world’s most vulnerable countries and communities behind to face the devastating consequences of breaching the 1.5 degrees as we are facing in my small island country. Sustainable Development Goals are designed to work hand in glove to safeguard the needs and aspirations of all. There is no justice, prosperity and peace on a planet that is on fire!
Over 109 countries have ratified the Paris Agreement. I hope by the end of the day we will have agreed how the CMA and COP 22 will end and we already have a wealth of support and drive among our officials who should be celebrating and congratulated for their hard work.
There is a flash-drive that has been distributed by Track 0 for those who want to learn more about the process and hard work of these NGOs who are supporting us here, and I want to applaud all members of the civil society for their contribution.
These show how quickly the world is now moving away from dirty fossil fuels to usher in an era of 100% clean energy based on energy efficiency, smart urban design and renewables.
The new energy revolution is unstoppable as we have heard from all the heads of states and leaders especially our hosts here in Morocco, and it’s already well underway. There are some very good models in countries that are taking initiatives even before these are taking place. Costa Rica is a good model for those who want to visit and learn from others. It has taken root in every corner of the world including mine.
But we are not going at the speed we need to go, and we are understanding that there are challenging times ahead.
The Marshall Islands is here today as part of the Troika to support Ethiopian’s leadership of the CVF at this historic COP and for the years to come.
As vulnerable countries, we have a special role in keeping climate ambition at the front and centre of global attention. Lets work together for 1.5.
Thank you so much.

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