Commonwealth chiefs expected to endorse climate charter

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Leaders of Commonwealth nations are expected to call for more climate action at a meeting in Rwanda this week, ahead of a United Nations climate change summit in the resort town of Sharm El Sheikh. in Egypt later this year.

“Tackling climate change will require the most significant political, social and economic effort the world has ever seen,” said Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, speaking at a meeting on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. .

Climate change remains a major concern for the bloc. Recent weather events and longer-term climate trends, including heat wavesextreme temperatures, droughtscyclonesfloods and sea level riseaffect most of its member states.

Prince Charles of Great Britain, which represents Queen Elizabeth II as the ceremonial leader of the Commonwealth, is also expected to champion the bloc’s global climate action. Commonwealth leaders are set to adopt the long-awaited “Living Lands Charter” later this week, an action plan to tackle climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss.

“The Living Lands Charter is a testament to our commitment. It helps sum up our combined effort to keep the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit),” Scotland said.

According to the letter’s concept note, obtained by The Associated Press, the Commonwealth’s commitments will focus on five main themes: climate-resilient agriculture for food security, soil and water conservation, green cover and biodiversity, livestock farming weather resistant and climate adaptive. resilient development for indigenous peoples. In what is billed as a “five by five” approach, it aims to achieve its climate goals through a combination of political influence, financing, technical assistance, governance, and the sharing of knowledge between nations.

The Commonwealth brings together 54 member states representing a combined population of 2.5 billion people, most of whom were former British colonies. It states that if the charter is fully endorsed and implemented, it will “protect and manage a quarter of the world’s land mass”.

The letter also calls for “greater consideration of the inclusion of indigenous peoples” in countries’ nationally determined voluntary contributions on climate action.

Some 32 of the Commonwealth’s 54 member nations are small states, of which 25 are small island and developing states classified as vulnerable to climate change. Island states at the forefront of climate action have already called on the Commonwealth to strengthen action on the oceans.

“Oceans and climate are inextricably interconnected, and the health of our oceans determines the livelihoods of millions of people around the world,” said Jitoko Tikolevu, a Fijian diplomat. “Our answer is simple, we need action.”


Associated Press climate and environment coverage is supported by several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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