Prime Minister Mark Brown is heading up a Cook Islands delegation to Egypt this week, where leaders from around the world will be gathering for the 27th annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27).
Running from November 6-18 and overseen by Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry, COP27 is expected to be attended by more than 90 heads of state and other representatives from a total of 190 countries.
A key focus this year is implementation of the Paris Agreement, an international treaty that seeks to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, while also pledging support to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a fund set up to help countries like the Cook Islands build resilience against the impacts of climate change.
Attending not only as leader of the Cook Islands, but also in his capacity as Climate Finance Champion of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS), as well as upcoming host and chair of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in 2023, PM Brown intends to continue his work as an advocate for those climate change issues most affecting Cook Islands and the wider Pacific region.
“Being able to attend COP27 in person this year will help put us front and centre, as we remind the global community of the challenges we are already facing.
“Over the past two years at our various regional and international meetings I have also continued to push for action on climate financing issues – for example, accessing this finance needs to be simpler and faster for all small island developing states, it should not raise already high debt levels, and adaptation funding needs to be double the amount on offer in 2019.
“These are just some of the issues on which we need to see real commitments made at COP27 this year – particularly from the G20 nations, who make up 80 per cent of global emissions while the brunt of climate change impact is borne by us here in the Pacific.”
Brown has several meetings and events scheduled on his itinerary for COP27, beginning with the high-level Plenary of the Opening Session, where he will make a statement addressing the need for larger, high-emissions nations to act on their carbon reduction pledges, while also enabling climate financing for those areas of the globe where impacts are highest.
“These larger developed nations need to do more to not only lower their emissions but also mitigate the effects of their high emission levels on countries like ours,” Brown said. “And they need to do it now.
“At the same time, let us play our part, both at a local level by increasing the use of renewable energy across all of our islands, and also potentially on an international scale as we look to the possible future of our burgeoning seabed minerals industry that may one day help enable the global transition away from fossil fuels and towards a renewable energy economy,” he said.