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OPINION: Major milestone reached for Paris Agreement – now it is time for real action

Sam Bickersteth, CDKN’s Chief Executive, responds to the news that enough countries have ratified the Paris Agreement for it to enter into force on 4 November 2016.

It is now official: the world has crossed the threshold needed for the Paris Climate Agreement to go fully into effect, signaling that the global community is unified in taking on the central development challenge of our time. In fact, the Paris Agreement has shattered previous records to become the fastest international agreement to come into force.

This unprecedented political commitment should give us hope that the need for urgent and ambitious action is finally being taken seriously. With a target of limiting the increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees, this requires immediate changes in a slew of policies, including land use, energy and fiscal policies. It also requires participation by all, and making sure that the poorest and most vulnerable are not left behind. Even with this ambitious target, developing countries will need to invest heavily in increased resilience to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change.

Government, societies and business all now have a part to play in putting us on path to avoid dangerous climate change. But we also have a duty to help each other deliver the Paris Agreement, and now more than ever we need to see finance, technology and support flowing quickly to developing countries and those on the front line of climate change to help them manage the impacts of climate change and transition to a low carbon future.

All countries have submitted their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which are their expressions of ambition and their need to contribute to the achievement of the Paris goals. Most of them are far from being a clear plan, and most developing countries will require urgent support in translating their NDSs into concrete investment plans and then into financeable, transformative projects. This does not happen overnight, but the focus should now be on building on existing capabilities in sector institutions at the national, provincial and city levels to ensure that the available climate funds are programmed in a way that catalyses significant volumes of other public and private finance for urgent climate action – and these should be fully in line with national strategies for inclusive development.

CDKN has supported a number of developing countries on this journey and will continue to do so. After the celebrations for reaching this milestone so soon, CDKN appeals to all its partners to join us in rolling up their sleeves and starting the implementation phase in earnest. Rapid ratification at the international level now needs to be translated in to domestic legislation, regulation and policies to avoid locking the world in to even greater warming. We need action at scale and pace on reducing emissions and our exposure to climate risks.


See also these related CDKN blogs and resources:


image: courtesy UNFCCC.

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