“Adaptation must be a central element of the Paris Deal” – Thoriq Ibrahim

With just 10 official negotiating days left before once-in-a-generation climate change talks begin in Paris, Thoriq Ibrahim, the Maldives’ Minister of Environment and Energy attended a Major Economies Forum (MEF) meeting in Luxembourg over the weekend.

Minister Ibrahim, represented the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), at the meeting, which was intended to help bring the world closer together on outstanding issues that could hold up a deal in Paris.

He thus reiterated a number of key areas that AOSIS sees as indispensable from setting the world on a path toward effectively dealing with the climate crisis, including adaptation and loss and damage.

“Adaptation must be a central element of the Paris Agreement that catalyzes concrete action on the ground. This is an absolutely urgent need for vulnerable countries given the growing impacts of climate change,” he continued.

“However, we know that adaptation will not always be enough to prevent significant loss and damage to our infrastructure and our economies. Therefore, we want to ensure that a loss and damage mechanism is an integral and enduring part of the international architecture. From our perspective, defining a loss and damage mechanism in the new agreement would give us that confidence. We also feel that it warrants treatment as an issue separate from adaptation.”

While parties are starting to find convergence on main aspects of what the Paris agreement will look like, such as mitigation, the Minister emphasized the importance of balancing mitigation with other critical aspects of the talks. He said AOSIS must have confidence that their our vulnerabilities will be addressed.

Finance is another central challenge for developing countries already struggling with climate impacts.

“Establishing confidence that climate finance will be adequate and available for developing countries is absolutely key to unlocking ambition in the new agreement. To this end, we should agree that $100 billion is a base, to be scaled up from 2020 onwards. There should also be a regular developing country needs assessment along with an assessment of the gaps in the delivery of financial resources.”

The MEF meeting is one of a handful of gatherings happening in parallel to the official talks that commence again in Bonn in August. The ministerial level event at the MEF and another that began today in Paris illustrate how serious parties are about meeting the Paris deadline.