Rwanda National Statement - 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Delivered by Minister of Environment, Vincent Biruta
 
I would like to express my appreciation to the Government of Poland for hosting and presiding over the 24th Conference of the Parties.
 
I also thank the people of Poland for the warm hospitality you have afforded to all delegates.
 
Climate change is already severely impacting our communities, economies and natural environment. The effects of the changing climate can now be seen in our day-to-day lives. This is undermining our hardfought gains and ongoing efforts to achieve sustainable development. 
 
Addressing the warming of our planet requires a global effort and a commitment to change not seen in human history. The adoption of Paris Agreement three years ago and its early entry into force showed us what is possible when people come together in common purpose. Today, we need to translate this spirit of cooperation into concrete action. 
 
We are gathered in Katowice to discuss and agree on the Paris Agreement Work Programme, or rulebook, which will guide the implementation of the historic Agreement. 
 
I take this opportunity to thank our negotiators for the hard work done during the negotiation sessions. As a vulnerable country, Rwanda also commends and welcomes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on 1.5 degrees Celsius. The report should be a wakeup call to all Parties to raise their ambition. We must respond quickly to the best science available because denial will not help us to address climate change. 
 
We are still optimistic, however, and expect that this COP24 will result in the guidelines for implementing the Paris Agreement. We should expect nothing less of ourselves. There is simply no time to lose. 
 
The Paris Agreement Work Programme should be robust, balanced and comprehensive but also flexible enough to allow every country to continuously raise its ambition and report on its implementation efforts. 
 
Specifically, the programme should address the key challenges of adaptation, finance as well as loss and damage.
 
Doing so will put all nations in a better position to achieve the goals of the Agreement and signal once again that clean, green and equitable development is the only way forward.
 
We have been pleased to see the important contributions made by Parties through the Talanoa Dialogue process and it is our hope that its outcomes be captured in the form of a decision. This will help to trigger greater ambition amongst all nations. 
 
Rwanda is committed to playing our part to realise the aspirations of the Paris Agreement and we are strongly committed to the target of limiting average global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. With the impacts of climate change already affecting us today, we simply have no other choice.
 
Achieving this requires a rethink of how we finance climate action. Parties must strengthen their commitment by going above and beyond the 100 billion dollars pledged per year. This revised and increased level of climate finance by 2025 should be guided by a comprehensive needs assessment. We must also work with the private sector to mobilise the trillions of dollars needed to halt global warming and ensure all investments are climate friendly. Quite simply, we need everyone on board to solve the climate challenge. 
 
To conclude, I would like to thank Parties for their support of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. 
 
With the potential to avert half a degree Celsius of warming by the end of the century - and double that if we invest in energy efficiency - the amendment is one practical way to mitigate further emissions. 
 
I encourage nations that have not yet done so to ratify the Amendment and begin the work of phasing out hydrofluorocarbons.
 
Such demonstrations of tangible action will spur other nations to invest in the important work of climate change mitigation and adaptation, and give hope to citizens that we are addressing the challenge with the seriousness and speed it deserves. 
 
Thank you for your kind attention. 
 
Photos

Minister Biruta delivers Rwanda's National Statement at COP24