Ahead of today’s Vatican conference on climate change, Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International Executive Director, made the following statement:
“The way the world responds to climate change is a litmus test of our humanity. We embrace Pope Francis’ commitment to build a global movement across all religions for fighting climate change, putting the most vulnerable people in the front row. We hope agreements from the conference will help add growing pressure on governments to achieve bold commitments in the COP21 in Paris later this year and contribute to low-emission development pathways.”
Today’s conference will bring together world leaders, climate experts and religious representatives. The desired outcome of the meeting is to issue a joint statement about the importance of sustainable development and the environment, and to respect vulnerable people. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, will address those at the summit.
Climate change is hitting the world’s poorest, especially women, ever harder and harming their efforts to feed their families and overcome poverty. Inaction could undo the progress made in tackling poverty over the last decade. Rich countries have the responsibility to help the poorer to build low-carbon economies and adapt to escalating climate risks.
This year is a crucial year as countries must announce their provisional emission reduction targets for the post-2020 period, and big commitments on climate finance (to help adaptation efforts) and ambitious aims for mitigation are to be decided in Paris in December.