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Climate Change

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.

Leaders demand urgent climate action in Dorian’s wake Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley speaking at an UNCTAD event

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.

Secretary-General expresses concern for The Bahamas in the wake of “catastrophic” Hurricane Dorian Satellite image of Hurricane Dorian hitting The Bahamas

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: We need to challenge climate change doubters before it’s too late London underground station flooded

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. 

Commonwealth Secretary-General: Urgent multilateral climate action needed for security and wellbeing of Pacific islanders Children in Papua New Guinea on the water in boats

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.

Opinion: Why disaster readiness is critical for Africa – and what the Commonwealth is doing about it Displaced people in aftermath of Cyclone Idai

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.

Commonwealth urges international organisations to integrate efforts at UN forum Travis Mitchell speaking at a United Nations forum

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.