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Virtual summit seeks to champion climate action, amplify voices

“God gave us light to see the beauty of creation. God gave us love to live in fellowship with creation, and God gave us strength to care for creation.”

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

These are the inspiring words of ACT’s Climate Justice Ambassador Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town in South Africa. He spoke even as leaders from around the world on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 gathered for the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), in the form of a zero-emissions (virtual) summit, to champion climate action and to amplify the voices and efforts of communities on the frontlines of climate change.

The summit is hosted by the current presidency of the CVF, the Republic of the Marshall Islands – regarded as one of the world’s most vocal yet vulnerable countries to climate change. The theme of the forum is “Stepping up climate action to survive and thrive”.

As global commitments to address climate change are said to fall short of achieving the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature target, the findings of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming further emphasise the urgency for more ambitious nationally determined contributions, including emissions reduction targets.

“We know that our current way of life is not sustainable in the long-term. We know that our extraction of the earth’s resources and related emissions are capable of destroying creation,” said Archbishop Makgoba.

“The world is heating up, and we are seeing frightening effects. Lives of poor and vulnerable people have already been lost,” said Birgitte QvistSørensen, Moderator of ACT Alliance.

With COP24 only 10 days away, the summit presents a political moment for leaders to amplify the alarm on the urgency for more ambitious climate commitments. It will also provide an opportunity for parties to share on their innovative climate initiatives as an expression of solidarity with the climate vulnerable.

“Countries, communities and people who are affected by climate change today need our support. Not only to deal with the immediate challenges, but also for long-term transformation towards a sustainable way of life,” said Archbishop Makgoba.

ACT members and forums are implementing disaster risk reduction and adaptation initiatives in particularly vulnerable communities. ACT is also mobilising communities at the local, national and international levels, investing in capacity building for advocacy on climate justice.

ACT commends the efforts and leadership of climate-vulnerable countries and urges other parties to follow suit.

“I hope that we will see climate champions leading the way, announcing their commitments to take bold and ambitious action. I hope they will inspire us, and I hope that they will join ACT Alliance in our call for more ambitious climate action,” added QvistSørensen.

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