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Commonwealth Leaders Commit to Keeping 1.5 Climate Goal Alive

On the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, leaders from across the Commonwealth have committed to working together to address climate change and keep alive the goal of limiting average global temperature rises below 1.5 degrees Celsius. The commitment was made at an event hosted by the Government of Rwanda and the Government of the United Kingdom, together with the COP26 Presidency.

The event brought together a range of leaders from across the Commonwealth, the United Nations, civil society, private sector, and young people to take stock of progress on the Glasgow Climate Pact, innovative climate finance and how to build momentum for COP27. 

“There is a lot Commonwealth Member States can do together, to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. Many Commonwealth members, particularly developing states, are especially vulnerable to a warming world. The larger economies are major emitters, and have much work ahead to reduce emissions. This puts the Commonwealth in a unique position to work together and deliver a common future that is clean, green and climate resilient,” said Rwanda’s Prime Minister, Dr Edouard Ngirente. 

Speaking on the need to realise the Glasgow Climate Pact, COP26 President Alok Sharma said, “It is time to honour the promises we made in Glasgow and turn commitments into action. It is time to show the world that the confidence that COP26 inspired in the multilateral system was not misplaced, and it is time to make sure that we arrive in Egypt at COP27 November able to say that although the world has changed, our resolve to tackle climate change has not.” 

The Rt. Hon. Sharma also announced the UK will double its funding for the NDC Partnership to £10m, which will support developing countries to implement their climate plans known as Nationally Determined Contributions.

During the event, Rwanda introduced the Kigali Principles on Carbon Finance, which aim to promote coordination, transparency, and the fair trading of high quality carbon credits with social co-benefits across Commonwealth countries. The goal is to unlock much-needed climate finance to further drive ambition and capital for green projects across the Commonwealth and around the world. 

Panellists and speakers also reflected on the Glasgow Climate Pact goal to double adaptation finance by 2025, and the opportunities and challenges in developing quality adaptation proposals at scale for enhanced access to climate finance, and how this can be achieved in partnership with vulnerable countries to deliver progress by COP27. 

Delivering closing remarks, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed said, “In the Commonwealth, we have the potential to lead the way. This is a huge opportunity for a diverse community of countries spanning many regions in the world, languages, religions, and cultures. We do need to see local solutions, the Kigali Principles [on Carbon Finance] are important.  We need concrete steps to address loss and damage.”

The high-level event was also attended by: 

●    UN General Assembly President, Abdulla Shahid
●    Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson (recorded message)
●    Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne
●    Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau
●    President of Botswana, Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi
●    Rwanda’s Minister of Environment, Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya
●    Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Michael Holness
●    Director General of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority, Juliet Kabera
●    Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund, Yannick Glemarec
●    Barbara Ann Bernard, CEO and Founder of Wincrest Capital

The event was moderated by Kenyan media personality Anne Kiguta and Jahan Chowdhury, Cluster Lead for Environment and Climate at IFAD / United Nations.

Learn More

  • Watch the event here.
  • Download photos of the event here
  • Read the Prime Minister of Rwanda’s remarks here.
  • Read the Rwandan Minister of Environment’s remarks here.
  • Watch the short film shown at the event here.
  • Learn more about the Kigali Principles here.