November 28, 2023


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Commonwealth Heads of States and Governments on the Urgent Threat of Climate Change

The Urgent Threat of Climate Change

  1. Heads underscored that the urgent threat of climate change, which particularly
    affects developing countries from across the Commonwealth, least developed
    countries and SIDS, further exacerbates existing vulnerabilities, and presents a
    significant threat to COVID-19 recovery efforts and sustainable development, and a
    risk of undermining and reversing development gains.
  2. Heads noted the 2022 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Groups I,
    II and III, and their contributions to the 6th Assessment Report, which highlighted the
    urgency of their findings on the science, adaptation and mitigation aspects of climate
  3. Heads renewed their commitment under the Paris Agreement to keep the increase in
    global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial
    levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius
    above pre-industrial levels. Heads also recognise that the impacts of climate change
    will be much lower at the temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with
    2 degrees Celsius, and resolve to pursue efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5
    degrees Celsius, as provided for in the COP26 Glasgow Climate Pact.
  4. Heads stressed the urgency of enhancing ambition and action in relation to mitigation,
    adaptation, and finance in this critical decade to address the gaps in the
    implementation of the goals of the Paris Agreement and welcomed the substantive
    progress made at COP26, the Glasgow Climate Pact.
  5. Heads noted the request to Parties to revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets in their
    Nationally Determined Contributions as necessary to align with the Paris Agreement
    temperature goal by the end of 2022, taking into account different national
    circumstances. Heads also urged Parties that have not yet done so to communicate,
    by the fourth session of the Conference of Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties
    to the Paris Agreement long-term low greenhouse gas emissions Development
    Strategies towards just transitions to net-zero emissions by or around mid-century,
    taking into account different national circumstances. Heads recognise that limiting
    global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius requires rapid, deep and sustained reductions
    in global greenhouse gas emissions, including reducing global carbon dioxide emissions
    by 45% by 2030 relative to the 2010 level and to net-zero around mid-century as well
    as deep reductions in other greenhouse gasses. Heads recognised that this requires
    accelerated action in this critical decade on the basis of the best available scientific
    knowledge and equity, reflecting the agreed principles of common but differentiated
    responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national
    circumstances, and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to
    eradicate poverty. Heads further recognised that enhanced support for developing
    country parties will allow for higher ambition in their actions. Heads call upon parties
    to accelerate the development, deployment and dissemination of technologies, and
    the adoption of policies, to transition towards low emission energy systems, including
    by rapidly scaling up the deployment of clean power generation and energy efficiency
    measures, including accelerating efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal
    power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, while providing targeted
    support to the poorest and most vulnerable in line with national circumstances and
    recognising the need for support towards a just transition. Heads reiterate the
    urgency of scaling up action and support, as appropriate, including finance,
    technology transfer and capacity-building, for implementing approaches to averting,
    minimizing and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of
    climate change in developing country Parties that are particularly vulnerable to these
    effects; and urges developed country Parties, the operating entities of the Financial
    Mechanism, United Nations entities and intergovernmental organizations and other
    bilateral and multilateral institutions, including non-governmental organizations and
    private sources, to provide enhanced and additional support for activities addressing
    loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change.
  6. Heads noted with deep regret that the goal of developed country parties to mobilise
    jointly US$100 billion per year by 2020 in the context of meaningful mitigation actions
    and transparency on implementation has not yet been met and welcomes the
    increased pledges made by many developed country parties and the Climate Finance
    Delivery Plan: Meeting the US$100 Billion Goal and the collective actions contained
    therein. Heads urge developed country parties to fully deliver on the US$100 Billion
    Goal urgently and through to 2025, and emphasise the importance of transparency in
    the implementation of their pledges. Heads further called on developed countries to
    deliver on the goal to at least double the collective provision of climate finance for
    adaptation to developing country parties from 2019 levels by 2025 as agreed as part
    of the COP26 Glasgow Climate Pact.
  7. Heads noted the continuing efforts of the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub
    in assisting developing country members with human and institutional capacity to
    mobilise climate finance for NDC implementation, including development of bankable
    projects and climate policy support.
  8. Heads affirmed the importance of fully implementing the Kigali Amendment to the
    Montreal Protocol on phasing down hydrofluorocarbons.
  9. Heads expressed their appreciation for the leading role women and young people play
    in galvanising support for climate action across the Commonwealth and committed to
    ensuring gender responsive implementation. Heads noted the Commonwealth Youth
    Statement on Climate Change with its call to support communities and safeguard the
    most vulnerable, including youth, women, the elderly, and persons with disabilities.
    This should be done by ensuring predictable finance to the local level to enable
    greater locally-led action.
  10. With regard to Indigenous peoples, Heads acknowledged their leadership in the fight
    against climate change despite being disproportionately affected by its impacts. They
    recognised that Indigenous peoples and their local and traditional knowledge and
    practices, developed through millennia of environmental stewardship, are critical to
    addressing climate change and committed to enabling Indigenous climate leadership,
    grounded in respect for their rights and traditional knowledge.
  11. Heads noted the Climate Vulnerable Forum member countries’ ambition to scale up
    their commitments for safeguarding the most vulnerable from the impact of climate
    change, while supporting prosperity and resilience through investments in low carbon
    and climate-resilient technologies and infrastructure.
  12. Heads adopted the Commonwealth Living Lands Charter, A Commonwealth Call to
    Action on Living Lands.
  13. Noting that food systems are both drivers and solutions to complex issues like hunger
    and malnutrition, climate change, and gender inequality, Heads recalled the
    importance of considering the implications of the combined effects of biodiversity
    loss, land degradation and climate change.
  14. Heads acknowledged that work remains to be done as member countries work towards
    COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh. They looked forward to working together with the global
    community to ensure true progress is made on climate action urgently in this critical
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