Challenged as they are by lack of capacity and resources to tackle the impacts of climate change, representatives from the Least Developed Countries (LDC) said there was a need to lead the way in reducing global warming.
More than 60 senior experts and negotiators from the LDCs are in Thimphu for a four-day meeting to prepare and strategise how to engage at the upcoming UN climate talks in June and the UN secretary general’s summit in September 2019.
The head of LDC support team, Manjeet Dhakal, said that the Paris Agreement continued to pick momentum.
“Investments are shifting, technology breakthrough coming in, business and market preferences changing towards renewables and sustainable options.
“Climate change impacts are growing and countries are facing more extreme climate events,” he said.
All these signify, he said, a much greater ambition was required to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degree celsius and more ambitious emission reduction and adequate means of implementation.
The focus has shifted from negotiations to implementing actions on the ground.
Many LDCs, he said, were demonstrating their commitment to climate action and leadership on the international stage.
“If countries don’t come forward with more ambition, climate change impacts faced by LDCs will become ever more destructive and will undermine the ability of these countries to achieve the sustainable development goals,” Manjeet Dhakal said.
The experts are discussing the status of LDCs’ main initiatives like renewable energy and energy efficiency for sustainable development, and effective adaptation and resilience to raise ambition and implement climate action. The group will showcase the strategy at UN Secretary General climate summit in September.
The first LDC initiative is to develop renewable energy and energy efficiency initiative (REEEI), LDC initiative for effective adaptation and resilience (LIFE-AR), and is identifying actions that individual LDCs are already undertaking and use them as examples for others.
The third initiative is on capacity building through the LDC Universities Consortium on Climate Change (LUCCC) and aims to build capacity to support the two other initiatives.
These initiatives are expected to make the 47 LDCs into climate resilient countries by 2030, and transform them out of LDC status by 2050.
The participants will also take part in workshops on priority technical and political issues for 2019, and unresolved and continuing issues following COP24 last December.
This is the first LDC meeting in Bhutan and also the first after country took the chairmanship.
The 47 LDCs, who are among the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change despite contributing little to its cause, work together at the international negotiations under the UN framework convention on climate change as a prominent negotiating bloc.
At the meeting’s opening yesterday, LDC group chairperson and National Environment Commission secretary, Sonam P Wangdi, said the convention of parties (COP24) in Katowice delivered on most of the rules of the Paris Agreement.
“The important next step now is to focus on raising ambition and implementing climate actions on the ground,” he said. “This year, we need to see countries step up and submit more ambitious plans for climate action through enhanced nationally determined contributions (NDCs).”
The NDCs the LDCs submitted earlier were prepared in hurry by fly in fly out consultants and did not represent the countries’ needs and interest holistically.
There are opportunities with a global renewable revolution underway and submission of revised NDCs with increased emission reduction targets by next year.
International studies show that 2018 was the four hottest year on record since 1880 after 2016, 2017, and 2015. The pattern of climate related extreme events are well aligned with the findings of the recently released UN’s IPCC 1.5 degree celsius report.