Speech of Laurent Fabius at the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction [fr]
Secretary-General of the United Nations
Ladies and gentlemen
Heads of state and government
Ministers, dear friends
It is a great honor, and I thank you for it, to be able to address you as the incoming president of the 21st UN Climate Conference COP 21 which will be held in December 2015 in Paris.
Before I begin, I would like, Madame President, to honor the memory of the victims of the tsunami which hit the coast a few kilometres away 4 years ago almost to the day. We will not forget them.
The conference at Sendai today and the Paris Conference in December will deliberate on two seemingly separate matters: disaster risk reduction on the one hand and combating climate change on the other. In fact, these 2 matters are inseparably linked. Today, it is estimated in fact that more than 70% of natural disasters are linked to climate change, twice as many as 20 years ago, and this figure will increase in the future.
In total, more than 70 countries have been identified as particularly vulnerable. They are exposed to extreme climate change events such as typhoons, flooding, sandstorms, snowstorms, heightened drought, a rise in sea levels threatening the coastal areas in Asia and jeopardizing the existence of small island developing states. Wealthy countries are not left unscathed, as Japan knows.
However, it is the poorest of countries that are most vulnerable because they have fewer resources with which to deal with these effects of climate change. We must particularly show our solidarity with these countries. It’s clear that we should not mix the various negotiations - they have their own rules and balances. But efforts for disaster risk reduction in which we’ve been working on for several years and for which we are working on a new international strategy is also related to climate, disaster risk reduction, and combating climate change should go hand in hand because the solutions are so often the very same.
Allow me to give 2 examples. When you put in place a natural disaster warning system, we are contributing to adaptation to climate change. When we take into account, for examples, the risks of climate change as we design our buildings and as we plan the use of coastal areas, this is also contributions to adaptation to climate change. We must therefore consider these problems together and not separately.
Recently, the end of 2014, I went with the French President to New Caledonia, which is threatened by typhoons, for a summit with the leaders of island states in the region – the group AOSIS. They told us of their need for an ambitious outcome at Sendai and for an ambitious on climate in Paris which would allow a 2 degree limitation for global warming. Indeed, if possible, 1.5 degree limitation for global warming because ever since, their very survival is at risk. They all spoke of the need for the support of the international community to set-up or to strengthen disaster warning and response systems. In this area, we already know that valiant efforts have already been made by countries and organizations represented here, and I wish to welcome them and thank you.
New actions will be announced in the next few days but let’s note that we are still far from universal coverage. We need a common objective around which we can structure our efforts. Human and capital problems could have been avoided in the Philippines if there had been such a system functioning during the typhoon in 2013, and many countries do not have such a system in place.
And that’s why I would like to launch an appeal here in Sendai so that as quickly as possible, the inhabitants of the most vulnerable countries might have access to a global mechanism which we could call “climate disaster warning.”
The objective of this will be to provide all concerned countries with meteorological data that many countries are able to take from their meteorological surveillance network implanted throughout the whole world, and this will require financing the acquisition of information and communication needs to process such data and disseminate them and to support the generalization of the SMS sending systems, and this is possible. France is ready to play its role.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, what we are seeking to construct at COP 21 in Paris in December with the Secretary General of the United Nations, who I would like to thank for his involvement in this task, is a Paris Climate Alliance based on 4 pillars: first of all, a universal and differentiated agreement limiting climate change to 2 degrees, national contributions which should have been published before. Thirdly, financial needs which will be a pledge, a fair treatment for an effective agreement. And finally, what we call a solutions agenda which will allow us to bring together all stakeholders, cities, regions, companies, civil society which, along with governments, will work on the ground.
Ladies and gentlemen, information published yesterday itself by the international energy association have noted that over 40 year, the CO2 emissions in 2014 did not increase despite 3% economic growth on average around the world, and this shows that such positive change is possible and it fills us with hope for COP 21, and for the whole of this year, which must be the year of sustainable development.
And I would like to state here how important the success of the Sendai Conference outcome will be for beginning the year on excellent terms and will facilitate the success of the Paris Conference. Thank you.