World leaders gave a unanimous thumbs up to signal a positive start of the UN Climate talks yesterday in Paris. Several leaders expressed commitment and faith in a multilateral process to combat the adverse impacts of climate change.

Speaking at the Leaders Event of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, President Muhammadu Buhari assured world leaders of Nigeria’s readiness to support a legally binding and all-encompassing Paris Agreement, which must be fair to all. He said, climate change has continued to pose a threat to Nigeria’s security and development.

However, he said any meaningful and potential agreement on climate change must not only recognise right of countries to emission but also the survival rights of citizens of developing countries.

Nigeria affirmed its position of a potential agreement that equitably addresses climate change mitigation and adaptation activities, provides for adequate financing, technology transfer and capacity development in the developing countries.

The President therefore called for establishment of an effective means of monitoring, reviewing and verification of availability as well as accessibility of funds to the developing countries in order to address the challenges of climate change.

In his opening speech, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon urged negotiators to choose the path of compromise and consensus. “Bold climate action is in the national interest of every single country represented at this conference. The time for brinksmanship is over. Let us build a durable climate regime with clear rules of the road that all countries can agree to follow.Paris must mark a turning point.

We need the world to know that we are headed to a low-emissions, climate-resilient future, and that there is no going back. The science is clear. Even a two-degree rise will have serious consequences for food and water security, economic stability and international peace.

He said that all countries should agree to move towards quantified, economy-wide emission reduction targets over time, with flexibility for developing countries with limited capacity. “Developed countries must keep their pledge to mobilise $100 billion a year by 2020,” Ki-Moon stated.

On his expectation from the agreement, he said: “It must be able to accommodate changes in the global economy, and not have to be continually renegotiated. Differentiation can and should be applied in a varied manner across the many elements of the agreement, in a way that does not undermine the integrity of the collective effort. The agreement must strike a balance between the leadership role of developed countries and the increasing responsibility of developing countries, in line with their capabilities and respective levels of development.”

In a slight change to the climate talks format, world leaders spoke first to launch the negotiations, with 11 governments pledging nearly $250million towards support for vulnerable communities to adapt to climate change. International humanitarian and development organisation ACT Alliance said that the move signaled hope for an ambitious agreement that would secure the planet’s future.

We welcome these climate finance contributions and we remind the negotiators that there is need to come up with a financial mechanism in the new agreement which shall ensure sustainability and predictability of finance support for resilience of those already suffering the adverse impacts of climate change,” ACT’s Global Climate Change Ambassador, Archbishop Most Reverend Dr Thabo Makgoba said.

The commitments by several countries to reduce emissions, with some clearly setting the peak years, is critical. It is important to get such commitments, and we want our negotiators to ensure that they come up with an agreement that will help the world decarbonize by the middle of the century. We need to embrace a goal and work towards achieving it,” said Mattias Soderberg, ACT Alliance Co-Chair of the Advisory Group on Climate Advocacy.


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