Jimmy Morales, President of Guatemala, said the Paris agreement offered hope to developing countries that have been hard hit by climate change. His country had been hit in many forms of bad weather, which lost many lives and harmed the economy. Signing the agreement was only the first step. All states must commit to implementing them. His country is committed to managing resources sustainably and promoting a green economy for development. More needs to be done to help Guatemala and other vulnerable countries adapt to the effects of climate change and reduce poverty while reducing emissions. James FLETCHER, St. Lucia`s Minister of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, said the cabinet had approved a national action plan on climate change. Although St. Lucia did not make a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, it continued a complete transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and expected it to exceed the targets set out in its planned national contribution. The government had recruited young people, artists and others to support measures to minimize climate change and build a green future. Partners in developed countries must meet their commitments, in particular to slow the rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius. If they did not live up to their commitments for a low-carbon future, desertification and sea level rise would increase.
Without new climate finance flows, small island developing states will have to rely exclusively on their scarce national resources to fight climate change, he said, noting that St. Lucia was one of the first countries to sign and ratify the Paris Agreement. While the world`s largest economies have damaged air, water and soil, Somalia will ensure that this does not happen to its environment during reconstruction, he said, adding that it would develop energy-efficient reconstruction plans. In fact, 2015 marked a turning point – a shift in load – in Somalia`s development agenda. The country will ensure that its climate change strategy is linked to the sustainable development goals, he said, adding that Somalia has made remarkable progress in global development. The agreement was seen as a triumph for Mr. Ban, who insisted on the agreement throughout his tenure and described the Paris agreement as one of his proudest moments as head of the United Nations. GianniS TSIRONIS, Greece`s Deputy Minister for Environment and Energy, said his country and other EU member states were firmly convinced that a low-energy, low-carbon economy was creating new jobs and new developments. Recalling that the country has begun to decarbonize the international maritime and air sector, he said that the spirit and dynamics of the Paris Agreement could be at the forefront of the next steps in its implementation.
The fight against climate change was not just an environmental issue. Highlighting the tensions and reactions in some countries caused by the possible reception of a few hundred thousand Syrian refugees, he said that the displacement of millions of climate refugees would have great social and economic consequences. Maria SORAYA S`ENZ DE SANTAMARIA ANTON, Vice-President of Spain, said that the Paris agreement was based on the knowledge provided by the scientific community and encouraged by youth and science. “Today, we can all say together that we have achieved this,” she said, stressing that the perseverance and solidarity that have been shown are commendable. The agreement was an example of the “best” of international cooperation. However, negative climate events do not include politics and borders. The agreement created a system of global solidarity based on fair and balanced initiatives and, by its signature, the world is committed to its children and grandchildren.