Statement by Rwanda's Minister of Natural Resources at the Montreal Protocol Coalition to Secure Ambition Event

Statement by Vincent Biruta, Minister of Natural Resources
Coalition to Secure Ambition – Montreal Protocol
22 September 2016, New York

– Secretary Kerry
– Distinguished guests
– Ladies and gentlemen

It is a pleasure to be with you this morning. I would like to express my thanks to Secretary Kerry for hosting this important event and for your leadership on this critical issue.

With just three weeks until the meeting of the Parties, there has never been a more crucial moment to secure commitment for an ambitious amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

As host of the 28th Meeting of the Parties, Rwanda looks forward to welcoming all Parties to Kigali in the spirit of cooperation and with a positive outlook. We are ready to work with all nations to find common ground and make the amendment a reality. This is our number one priority.

Passing an ambitious amendment to the Montreal Protocol would be the most significant global action on climate the world can take this year. It would also mark the first truly international step to achieve the targets set under the Paris Agreement.

This is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss. Our citizens, young and old, are looking to us to show leadership and commitment to halt the rise of global temperatures.

By building a coalition of nations supporting an amendment to the Montreal Protocol, we are not only securing ambition, but also the livelihoods of billions of people who rely on a stable climate – from the farmer dependent of rainfall for her crops to the families living in areas at high risk of floods and landslides.

An amendment to the Montreal Protocol is not simply changing a few sentences on a document. It has very real consequences for our citizens. This is especially true for Rwanda and for our sisters and brothers across Africa – one of the most vulnerable continents to climate change.

If we are successful in Kigali next month, we could avoid up to a half a degree Celsius of global warming by the end of the century. The case for the amendment is clear.

Rwanda is pleased to see so many countries supporting an ambitious amendment and is confident that it will be passed. Leaders from Latin America, the Caribbean, China, North America, Europe and Africa stand united.

This is in part because the amendment represents an important opportunity to not only protect the climate, but also promote development. And the best way we can do this is by ensuring energy efficiency in the implementation of the hydrofluorocarbon phase down.

If we can improve energy efficiency, we can reduce local air pollution, improve public health as well as bolster the climate mitigation from an ambitious amendment. This is why the Africa Group has been calling for increased investment in energy efficiency efforts.

The important announcement made today for Fast-Start Funding is crucial for supporting developing countries to promote energy efficiency while phasing down HFCs. We welcome and commend this effort and hope it serves to inspire us all to go forth, build this coalition and secure the amendment.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Passing an ambitious amendment is achievable. But to do so, we must come together with a spirit of flexibility. And if we can take the same passion and commitment we have seen here today to Kigali, I am confident we will come away with a very positive outcome.

At stake is not only an historic opportunity, but also the bright future for our children, and their children, who deserve to inherit a planet on which they can achieve their hopes and dreams.

Thank you for your kind attention.