Marrakech proclamation affirms continuing fight against climate change and for sustainable development

The Marrakech conference issued a call for action affirming a continuing commitment to the battle against climate change and for sustainable development.

Hilary Chiew

PARTIES at the climate talks on 17 November supported the call issued by the President of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC entitled the 'Marrakech Action Proclamation for Our Climate and Sustainable Development'.

The President of COP 22, who is also the Foreign Minister of Morocco, Salaheddine Mezouar, introduced the document to the plenary on the evening of 17 November.

Describing it as a new source of inspiration, he said the 'proclamation' received the support of all Parties and invited Moroccan Ambassador Aziz Mekouar to read it out.

Mekouar had been conducting informal consultations among Parties over the document to receive their inputs over the past week following expressions of concern about the nature of the document, which was not previously negotiated. The document, which was then billed as the 'Marrakech Call for Action', had initially drawn much unease, especially among some developing countries, over its content due to concerns regarding a lack of balance on issues of importance to developing countries. According to sources, the consultations restored the balance needed and the document hence received the support of all delegates present.

Many also saw the proclamation as an important signal to the world that Parties were committed to tackling climate change and promoting sustainable development, in light of the recent turn of events in the United States with the election of Donald Trump and uncertainty surrounding the US commitment to the Paris Agreement. 

The proclamation is as follows:

'We, Heads of State, Government, and Delegations, gathered in Marrakech, on African soil, . issue this proclamation to signal a shift towards a new era of implementation and action on climate and sustainable development.

'Our climate is warming at an alarming and unprecedented rate and we have an urgent duty to respond.

'We welcome the Paris Agreement, adopted under the Convention, its rapid entry into force, with its ambitious goals, its inclusive nature and its reflection of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances, and we affirm our commitment to its full implementation.

'Indeed, this year, we have seen extraordinary momentum on climate change worldwide, and in many multilateral fora. This momentum is irreversible - it is being driven not only by governments, but by science, business and global action of all types at all levels.

'Our task now is to rapidly build on that momentum, together, moving forward purposefully to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to foster adaptation efforts, thereby benefiting and supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals.

'We call for the highest political commitment to combat climate change, as a matter of urgent priority.

'We call for strong solidarity with those countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and underscore the need to support efforts aimed to enhance their adaptive capacity, strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability.

'We call for all Parties to strengthen and support efforts to eradicate poverty, ensure food security and to take stringent action to deal with climate change challenges in agriculture.

'We call for urgently raising ambition and strengthening cooperation amongst ourselves to close the gap between current emissions trajectories and the pathway needed to meet the long-term temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.

'We call for an increase in the volume, flow and access to finance for climate projects, alongside improved capacity and technology, including from developed to developing countries.

'We the developed country Parties reaffirm our US$100 billion mobilisation goal.

'We, unanimously, call for further climate action and support, well in advance of 2020, taking into account the specific needs and special circumstances of developing countries, the least developed countries and those particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change.

'We who are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol encourage the ratification of the Doha Amendment.

'We, collectively, call on all non-state actors to join us for immediate and ambitious action and mobilisation, building on their important achievements, noting the many initiatives and the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action itself, launched in Marrakech.

'The transition in our economies required to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement provides a substantial positive opportunity for increased prosperity and sustainable development.

'The Marrakech Conference marks an important inflection point in our commitment to bring together the whole international community to tackle one of the greatest challenges of our time.

'As we now turn towards implementation and action, we reiterate our resolve to inspire solidarity, hope and opportunity for current and future generations.'

Delegates in the plenary hall gave a standing ovation after the proclamation was read out.

COP President Mezouar commended the spirit of inspiration that was experienced since the beginning of the talks. 

*Third World Resurgence No. 316, Dec 2016, pp 41-42