The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), a coalition of 20 member states and 23 incoming members that cumulatively represent one billion climate-vulnerable people, stressed this issue in its meeting in Manila (9-11 November) ahead of the Paris climate conference (COP21) this December.
The CVF, in its outcome statement dubbed the Manila Communique, called for limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius (compared to the proposed 2 degrees) and improving access to climate finance.
The statement outlined what the CVF members plan on doing themselves to counteract the effects of rising temperatures and sea levels, which includes strengthening their national climate contributions with the hope of motivating richer countries to follow suit.
“We’re putting emphasis on how the vulnerable countries are doing their share at the domestic level and even up to the regional level,” Joyceline Goco, assistant secretary of the Philippine Climate Change Commission, one of the hosts of the conference, tells SciDev.Net.
The gathering in Manila marks the end of one-and-a-half years of regional meetings conducted in Africa, Asia, Latin America/Caribbean and the Middle East in preparation for COP21. It gave forum members an opportunity to determine the roadmap of the CVF until 2018.
Future priorities range from sharing best practices in terms of climate change adaptation and mitigation to increased cooperation among vulnerable countries.
Goco says that the Philippines, which hosted the event as this year’s forum chair, is keen to share its experience with developing tools and policies to combat the effects of climate change. The island country has developed guidelines on how to mainstream climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.
A system has also been developed that enables the national government and local government units to tag their projects related to climate change, with the aim of eventually being able to track associated domestic expenses.
Semi Qamese, the national communications coordinator from Fiji to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, tells SciDev.Net that his country is eager to join the CVF and collaborate with its members.
Fiji has already been forced to relocate two coastal communities due to rising sea levels. Qamese says that one of those groups was transferred over 10 km inland, compelling the people to give up their traditional way of life as fisherfolk in favour of small-scale farming.
Locals fear that this shift will have negative long-term effects on the family unit. “Fiji’s very vocal on loss and damages because [we] are vulnerable,” Qamese notes.