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“I’m speaking to you as a representative of a country under siege from the onslaught of climate change.  The storm of climate catastrophe is gathering destructive power with every failed promise and missed targets.”

The Marshall Islands took center stage at COP26 in Glasgow, presenting a statement at the resumed High-Level sessions.  Hon Bruce Bilimon, Minister of Health and Human Services, told world leaders that Glasgow at this moment is an opportunity to demonstrate bold and committed leadership.

“As atoll nations, the failure of others to do what is necessary to tackle climate change forces us to grapple with extreme challenges.  We will never accept that climate change, which we did not cause, should be the basis for a loss of our sovereignty, our sovereign rights and our maritime boundaries,” said Minister Bilimon.

“We will preserve our nation and our culture against any and all challenges that we face.”
Minister Bilimon also called for an end to the worst offenders, saying coal and super pollutants must go.  He added that fossil fuel subsidies must end as “we should not pay for our own destruction”.  

Reinforcing the importance of partnerships and appropriate resources, the Marshallese Minister championed the need for a 50-50 split in mitigation and adaptation financing.  In his comprehensive call for action, Minister Bilimon urged the G20, the world’s biggest economic block and primary emitter, to do more to secure a 1.5-degree world.

“G20 leaders, your countries make up 80% of global emissions, the world is watching, and we urgently call you to take action reflecting ambition in enhanced NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) and long-term strategies that align with the 1.5 pathways,” said Minister Bilimon.

“All nations must demonstrate their ambition for this by urgently updating their NDCs to ensure alignment to this 1.5 survival figure.  In Paris we agreed that countries would be welcome to submit NDC at any time.  Again, if there is ever a time in which we must act upon opportunity to increase ambition to demonstrate this commitment, it is now.”

Minister Bilimon told COP26 that resources are vital to ensuring a safe and secure future that leaves no one behind. He emphasised that the delivery of the USD 100 billion per year promised by developed countries is vital to reinforce trust.  He stressed that as discussions are initiated on a post 2025 financial goal, these decisions and discussions must be based on an accurate assessment of needs, and science.

“The Paris Agreement Rulebook must be completed in a way that puts ambition and environmental integrity at its core, Article 6 is a critical tool for driving decarbonisation and has the potential to provide a predictable funding stream for adaptation, but the wrong system will set us further back than we can afford,” said Minister Bilimon.

Urging fellow Parties to the UNFCCC to honour and respect their obligations to future generations, the Marshall Islands Minister, called for the involvement of youth in the self-determined decisions that will shape their future highlighting that the climate crisis will affect us all, but that some remain excluded from these decisions.

“It is clear that ambition this year is not limited to one element of the Paris Agreement but rather on a package of outcomes on mitigation, adaptation, and finance,” said Minister Bilimon.

“The demands here at Glasgow are highly ambitious and difficult nevertheless let us meet them together for the sake of our collective future and for the sake of humanity.”

Minister Bilimon presented at the resumed High-Level segment at COP26 on Tuesday 9 November 20210.  His complete statement is available from the 2:25 minute marker via:  https://unfccc-cop26.streamworld.de/webcast/resumed-high-level-segment.

The Twenty-Sixth Conference of the Parties to the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change is held in Glasgow from 31 October – 12 November 2021.