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Marshall Islands Hosts Partnership Dialogue to Accelerate Climate Action, Confirms Will Bring Forward a New and More Ambitious NDC by 2020

Press Release
24 July 2018

Photo by Alan A. Taylor

Event outlined national priorities for urgent and ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change through an NDC Partnership Plan to increase collaboration with domestic and global partners and helped lay out a long-term 2050 vision to reach net zero emissions and boost climate resilience

Majuro—The Republic of the Marshall Islands hosted a Partnership Dialogue on Climate Change on Monday to accelerate implementation of its nationally determined contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement by outlining priorities to mobilize domestic and global partners and align resources to the country’s most urgent needs as identified in its draft NDC Partnership Plan for climate action, and confirmed it will bring forward a new and more ambitious NDC by 2020. The event also helped lay the ground work for a long-term vision that builds on the country’s short-term goals, including through reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and boosting climate resilience. The Partnership Dialogue followed the country’s 2nd National Climate Change Dialogue last week, which brought together stakeholders and the public from across the island nation.

 “This Partnership Dialogue is the next step in a participatory and consultative process to detail the Marshall Islands’ plan for acting on climate change,” said President Dr. Hilda C. Heine at the event. “This is about achieving our ambitious first NDC under the Paris Agreement, as well as looking toward a vision for the future with a long-term strategy to 2050. We are looking to accelerate immediate actions in the areas of mitigation, adaptation and resilience, and important crosscutting areas such as capacity building. We hope to do this with the support of partners present at this event, and other members of the NDC Partnership and beyond, including the private sector.”

President Heine added, “The Marshall Islands will continue to lead by example. The future of our people depends on the global response to climate change.”

The Marshall Islands NDC Partnership Plan identifies six priority areas: mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and a reduced dependence on fossil fuels; adaptation and resilience against the effects of a changing climate; fully integrating gender and human rights measures throughout the country’s response to climate change; capacity building so all Marshallese women, men and youth can contribute to the country’s NDC; coordinated climate policy, finance and data to ensure a whole-of-government and whole-of-society response to climate change; and global leadership and ambition. 

At the Partnership Dialogue, national and global partners began mapping available programs and resources to help the country meet the activities it outlined to achieve results in these priority areas. These discussions will continue over the next several months, and there will be need for additional partners to respond to the country’s needs. The Marshall Islands NDC Partnership Plan is a living document and will continue to be reviewed and updated when and where necessary in collaboration with partners.

“If we fail in tackling climate change for the Marshall Islands, if we lose our way, we will have lost the fight,” said NDC Partnership Support Unit Global Director Pablo Vieira at the Partnership Dialogue. “Members of the NDC Partnership and others want to respond to the needs identified by the government to make sure that does not happen.”

“It is noteworthy that a country that only emits .00001% of global greenhouse gases still proposes to take ambitious mitigation actions,” he added. “The Marshall Islands continues to be one of the most vocal and recognized voices on the urgent need to combat climate change, because there is so much at stake. The very future of these island communities depends on whether or not countries take their commitments to the Paris Agreement seriously.”

The Marshall Islands NDC commits the country to reducing emissions by 32 percent by 2025 (from 2010 levels). President Heine also confirmed the Marshall Islands will finalize a long-term 2050 Strategy to reach net zero emissions and boost climate resilience by August with a view to launching it in September of this year – making it one of the first countries in the world to anchor its short-term NDC implementation under the framework of a longer-term 2050 Strategy. Through its convening of the High Ambition Coalition, the Marshall Islands has been encouraging other countries to urgently increase global ambition by 2020 and to adopt 2050 Strategies consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement, including by charting a course to net zero emissions.

“It is the first time we will see a country’s climate strategy to 2050 that describes so well the immediate steps that are needed to put the economy on the path to decarbonization and climate resilience. There is always a risk of developing such a long-term vision independently from ongoing policy and decision-making processes. Instead, the Marshall Islands has decided to integrate the challenges of the next generation into today’s decisions,” said Richard Baron, Executive Director of the 2050 Pathways Platform. “This approach, replicated by other larger emitters, will allow us to meet the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.”

The Republic of Marshall Islands was one of the first countries to join the NDC Partnership and is currently the developing island nation representative on its Steering Committee. The NDC Partnership has grown to include 77 countries, 18 international institutions and four Associate Members. The Partnership is supporting more than 30 developing countries to enhance and implement their NDCs through technical assistance; capacity building; knowledge sharing and by facilitating access to finance. Members give specific support to strengthen policy frameworks; mainstream climate actions into national, sectoral and sub-national plans; develop budgeting and investment plans; share knowledge and resources and build more robust monitoring and reporting systems in line with country-driven requests.

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President Dr. Hilda C. Heine at the Marshall Islands Partnership Dialogue on Climate Change