His Excellency President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that the climate crisis is the most critical issue of our times, and must remain prominent on the international agenda. He made this statement at the United Nations Secretary-General’s (UNSG) Climate Moment, a meeting convened by UNSG, His Excellency Antonio Guterres, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, The Right Honourable Boris Johnson. President Solih was among a select group of state leaders invited to this exclusive event hosted at the United Nations Headquarters (UNHQ) earlier tonight.
President Solih answered questions pertaining to the ambition gaps in mitigation, adaptation and resilience, as well as finance. Recalling when small islands first began advocating for the 1.5°C temperature limit, he said there had been a realistic chance to achieve that goal then. Now, that goal is more unlikely with 1.1 °C of warming reached already and further warming already locked in to the atmosphere and global long-term infrastructure.
Addressing the leaders present, President Solih called on developed nations worldwide to take the steps to meet the 1.5°C goal enshrined in the Paris Agreement. “My fear is, that if steps are not taken to significantly cut emissions quickly, the Paris Agreement itself can come into question,” he said. “Our regime is built on voluntary upward action, but we’re nowhere near where we need to be. If we’re serious about the Paris Agreement, we need it to work to actually drive action.”
President Solih also announced that the Maldives remains on track to reduce emissions by a quarter by 2030, however, the nation continues to aim to reach net zero by 2030, stating that it is an achievable goal with international support. Noting the UNSG’s call for at least half of climate finance to flow to adaptation, the President emphasised that capital for adaptation projects is difficult to secure and such projects are expensive and do not offer any direct financial return. President Solih delineated approaches to improve the ability of international financial institutions, multilateral development banks and the multilateral system to provide funding. He encouraged developed countries to pledge to the Green Climate Fund at a level that provide vulnerable countries with assurances that funds are there for adaptation plans while suggesting that action by the G20 on fossil fuel subsidies could be a strong signal heading into COP26.
Ending his statement, President Solih called on world leaders to ensure that multilateral banks and international financial institutions are positioned to provide low cost capital that is sufficient, predictable and accessible for smaller nations to implement their climate plans.