Climate change efforts must be scaled up

Sunday, January 27, 2019

South Africa believes that efforts in the fight against climate change need to be scaled up within a multilateral regime that protects the development gains of developing countries.

Speaking at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) open debate on addressing the impact of climate related disasters on international peace and security, South Africa’s permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Jerry Matjila, said the country has with great concern noted the erratic nature and veracity of natural calamities.

These erratic weather patterns including hurricanes, tsunamis and devastating wildfires among others had affected countries in the Caribbean and Africa, Australia as well as the United States of America (USA), among others.

“It is clear to us that climate change is a global sustainable development challenge that can only realistically be addressed if we do so collectively, and through a rules-based multilateral regime that is based on science, equity as well as differentiation of action and support between countries with very different national circumstances.

“Climate action needs to be dramatically scaled up, while protecting and furthering the development gains of developing countries and eradicating poverty,” he said at the debate on Friday.

He said these catastrophes destroyed the livelihoods of millions of people around the globe while also displacing hundreds more. 

The African continent, in addition is particularly vulnerable to climate change, as the single greatest threat to its development and prosperity. 

South Africa has in recent years experienced some of the worst drought patterns it has seen in decades.

“Africa therefore stands in full solidarity with other regions similarly affected by natural disasters, such as those highlighted in the concept note prepared by the Dominican Republic. We remain firmly committed to addressing climate change and responding to natural disasters at a national, regional and international level,” said the ambassador.

The Dominican Republic alongside South Africa, is one of the five countries that joined the UNSC to serve for a two year period that got underway in January.

The Ambassador said the UNSC already has strong foundations for this multilateral solution already in the form of the United Nations 2030 Agenda, reinforced by regional development programmes, such as the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

“We look to the UNFCCC [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] its Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement for policy direction and leadership on climate change and also refer to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction,” he said. –