“The eyes of the world are upon us,”- UN Climate Convention, Morocco

7 November, 2016, UNFCCC COP22, Marrakech, Morocco – Although the Paris Agreement has come into force, much work still needs to continue as the world comes together to combat climate change. Countries are now working towards establishing the rules and guidelines for implementation of the Paris Agreement come 2020.

"The eyes of the world are upon us," stated H.E. Mr. Salaheddine Mezouar of Morocco as he took the podium as the President of twenty-second Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP22) today.

The opening marks the start of two weeks of negotiations which include a number of 'firsts', new milestones achieved by over 194 parties to the UNFCCC. The two weeks from 7 – 18 November will also include the first Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Paris Agreement which was adopted in December last year.

IMG 8191Presidency of the UN Climate COP changes hands with the handover of the gavel from France to Morocco.

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change brings over 100 Parties together to action ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, aiming to keep global temperature rise this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and, even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

"We have a huge responsibility before humanity and we must join forces in order to address the needs of the most vulnerable populations," said H.E Mezouar as he joined with the former President of the COP Ms. Ségolène Royal, the Mayor of Marrakech Hon Mohamed Larbi Belcaid, Mr Hoesung Lee Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Ms Patricia Espinosa at the opening of COP22.

This is also the first climate change COP for the new Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Ms Patricia Espinosa, in her new role. She highlighted the need for Nationally Determined Contributions, the commitments from Parties as to how they plan to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, to be integrated into national policies and investment plans.

IMG 8218Ms Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC

She also acknowledged that climate finance is flowing, but it is still not enough.

"It has to reach the level and have the predictability needed to catalyse low-emission and climate-resilient development," she presented today at the opening of the COP 22.

"Support for adaptation also needs to be given higher priority, and progress on the loss and damage mechanism has to be ensured to safeguard development gains in the most vulnerable communities."

Thirteen of the fourteen Pacific island Parties to the UNFCCC are currently attending the COP22. The Pacific islands negotiates in unity with other Small Islands Developing States as the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). Some of the key issues for the Pacific islands at the UNFCCC COP22 are the topics of Climate Finance, Adaptation, Mitigation, Loss and Damage as well as the implementation of the Paris Agreement with a view to achieving the 1.5 ambition.

IMG 8139

Another 'first' commemorated at the opening of the UNFCCC COP22, is the special report to be developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the Impacts of Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways to be ready in 2018.

"Over the next two weeks, delegations will consider how to implement the Paris Agreement," said the Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Mr Hoesung Lee.

"The essential input for this work is science, and through its assessment the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stands ready to provide negotiators with the knowledge of the scientific community, it is my hope that the future reports of the IPCCC will provide a robust foundation for the work of policymakers so that the implementation of the Paris Agreement can be based on sound science."

Also to speak at the opening of the COP22 was the President of COP21, Her Excellency Ms Ségolène Royal, as she handed over the gavel to the incoming President, as well as Mr Mohammed Larbi Belcadi the Lord Mayor of Marrakech City. - #4PacIslands

The UNFCCC COP22 is held from 7 – 18 November, 2016. For more information on the UNFCCC COP22 itself, please visit: http://unfccc.int/meetings/marrakech_nov_2016/meeting/9567/php/view/schedule.php#c, to read copies of the opening statements please visit: http://unfccc.int/meetings/marrakech_nov_2016/items/10041.php
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