Mary Robinson addressed the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers on 25 November 2015 before the official start of The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Speaking at the gathering, Mary Robinson, President, Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice and the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change, encouraged the present ministers to use this opportunity, before the crucial climate conference in Paris next week (COP21), to find new and lasting solutions to their shared challenges:
“The Paris summit gives us the chance to put the world on a path to averting the worst extremes of climate change, and to bolster earlier efforts this year which culminated in the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in September. What we need is another step up in political commitment – beyond what is reflected in the G20 Communique – to give clear signals to other leaders and more flexible and ambitious mandates to negotiators. This will help secure an Agreement in Paris that delivers action now, and creates a mechanism for increasing ambition over time, to achieve a zero carbon world.”
Mary Robinson highlighted that by addressing three fundamental injustices – extreme poverty, chronic inequality and dangerous climate change – Commonwealth leaders can have transformative impacts on the issues that are the focus of the CHOGM 2015 meeting: migration, violent extremism and radicalisation, as well as human rights and climate change itself.
Touching on the significant role the Commonwealth Member States can play and the strong values the diverse members share, Mary Robinson stressed the importance of recognising, that while the countries most responsible for climate change must lead by decarbonising their economies rapidly and in accordance with science, for developing countries the challenge is significantly different. She said:
“It is important to build an unprecedented global response, motivated by our collective self-interest and determination to enable all countries to participate in the transition to zero carbon, climate resilient development. This requires cooperation, finance, access to technology and investment in capacity development – on a scale that the international community has often promised but has yet to deliver.”
Concluding her speech, Mary Robinson stated:
“The Paris Climate summit is an enormous opportunity. It can consolidate the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals] to create an unprecedented wave of human empowerment which will not only solve the climate problem – but it will also deliver one of the most profound responses to global poverty and inequality ever seen. Addressing this inequality and giving hope of a better life for everyone is a cornerstone in building peace, managing migration and ending extremism.”
‘CHOGM 2015 – Adding Global Value’ takes places from 27-29 November 2015 in Malta.
Find out more about the Foundation’s work on Human Rights and Climate Change.