Globally, the number of climate disasters has tripled since 1980, while, hot weather in 2016 broke the historic record set in 2015. Climate change threatens all nations and peoples regardless of their location or economy. The Commonwealth represents 53 countries many of these are least developed; small or most vulnerable to climate change.
The Commonwealth has long been on the frontline in supporting its small member states through global advocacy on policy level. From the Commonwealth Langkawi Declaration on the Environment in 1989 to the 2015 climate commitment by leaders in Malta, it has intervened to strengthen the voice of small states and unite its members to address this existential threat.
In the lead up to next week’s global climate summit in New York and barely two weeks after Hurricane Dorian battered The Bahamas, the Commonwealth’s top official is calling for urgent action to tackle climate change and its disastrous impacts.
With Hurricane Dorian having swept through The Bahamas with unprecedented intensity and force, causing extensive damage to infrastructure, and having reportedly claimed at least one life to date, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has on behalf of the wider Commonwealth family expressed deep concern to the government and people of The Bahamas.
Blog by Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth: The frightening reality of Pacific island nations disappearing into the ocean could also become a real worry for western metropolises. Only with a truly inclusive and worldwide effort, with every nation, government and community on board can we win the battle.
The Pacific is the Commonwealth region most vulnerable to climate change. It faces intense variations in temperatures, extreme storms, rising sea levels, and is also highly vulnerable to earthquakes, floods, tidal surges, landslides, droughts, forest fires, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.
Five months ago, Cyclone Idai ripped through the Southern African region, causing a massive humanitarian disaster that affected three million people. More than a thousand perished, while 200,000 lost their homes, many of whom are still to this day living in refugee camps.
International organisations must partner-up to avoid duplication and integrate efforts that assist member countries, says the Commonwealth’s head of economic policy and small states.