CAN Intervention at the Abu Dhabi Ascent Prep Meeting for the SG’s Climate Summit

CAN Intervention at the Abu Dhabi Ascent Prep Meeting for the SG's Climate Summit

Delivered by Wael, Hmaidan, Director of CAN International 

Thank you moderator,

First, let me thank the government of the United Arab Emirates and the Secretary General and his team for organizing this event in preparation for the Climate Summit in New York, and for providing us with the space to engage. We assure the Secretary General and governments the full support of civil society to ensure the success of the Summit, as it is the only opportunity for Heads of State  to come together and commit to take action on climate change between now and the Paris COP at the end of next year.  We all know that the main obstacle in solving the climate change problem is not technical or economical; in addition to the climate crisis, we have a political crisis.

Coming out of the Summit in September, it needs to be clear that climate change is back on top of the political agenda and that leaders agree that it must be addressed urgently.  As others have made clear here in Abu Dhabi over the last two days, the window of opportunity to meet the goal of keeping the increase in global temperature well below 2 degrees Celsius is rapidly closing.   There is no more time to waste.

There should be a clear recognition coming out of the Summit of the scientific urgency of rapidly reducing and eventually eliminating the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change, as well as a demonstrated willingness to break away from the current fossil fuel based dependency of the global economy, and transitioning towards a just renewable energy and climate resilient future for all.  Also, there should be a clear commitment by world leaders to provide the ongoing political guidance to ministers and negotiators needed to reach an ambitious, fair and effective global agreement on climate change in Paris.

Key stakeholders, especially governments and business, must explicitly acknowledge the risks associated with failure to deal with the climate crisis, the economic benefits of urgent action on climate change, and the need for climate stability as an essential element towards achieving the goal of poverty eradication.

Civil society also has a key role to play, not just by helping design and implement solutions to climate change, but by making sure that public pressure for action by both governments and the private sector continues to mount.  Secretary General, we accept your challenge. Civil society is united on the political importance of the Summit, and in September there will be unprecedented civil society mobilization, both in New York and globally, in support of greater action.

Already just yesterday Arab civil society issued a statement welcoming the Ascent and urging their governments to bring ambitious actions to New York.

NGOs here in Abu Dhabi join the Secretary General in challenging all governments and stakeholders to not miss this opportunity, to up their game now, sharpen their vision, and bring concrete new ambitious action to the Summit.

Thank you.

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