Leading up to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris next month countries have been asked to publicly declare what actions they intend to take under a new global agreement. The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) which was initiated in Warsaw during the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the commitment that countries make towards achieving the objective of the Convention.
The objective is to limit global warming below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels; the national contributions must enable a global drop in emissions from 40 to 50% by 2050. Pacific Islands advocate through the Suva Declaration to limit it below 1.5°C – requiring an even deeper cut in emissions. Countries’ commitments must be sent to the Convention secretariat in advance of COP21. The secretariat of the Convention will provide a synthesis report compiling the different contributions by end of November. Tuvalu following the example of the international community, is currently preparing its INDC.
Comprised of three reef islands and six true atolls, Tuvalu is spread out between the latitude of 5° to 10° south and longitude of 176° to 180°, west of the International Date Line. Tuvalu has a population of 10,837 (2012 census) with a total land area of 26 square kilometres (10 sq mi), and at no point rise any higher than 5m above sea level.
The effects of climate change including natural disasters and extreme weather events threaten the viability of functional communities on each of Tuvalu’s atolls. As a guiding principle, it is in the interest of Tuvalu and its people and their livelihoods that the objectives and measures that truly reflect the needs and aspirations of the Tuvalu people. This includes doing their part in mitigating gas emissions and showing the world countries that Tuvalu is doing its share despite being already one of the lowest gas emitter on the planet.
Dr. Mahendra Kumar, the Climate Change Advisor of the Pacific Island Development Forum is currently in Tuvalu to provide technical assistance to the Government of Tuvalu for the development of its INDC; for its internal planning and as a solicited submission to the UNFCCC prior to COP21 taking place in Paris in December 2015.
This initiative for the Tuvalu’s INDC process will include:
• Provide technical support for national working groups and processes that will assist in obtaining consensus on emissions reduction targets;
• Provide support in identifying appropriate issues for adaptation planning;
• Support decision making processes for the INDC preparation and its endorsement by Government; and
Tuvalu, an eligible member of the Pacific Island Development Forum, is one of the most vulnerable low-lying atolls in the world suffering major impacts from climate change, yet the nation’s contribution to global warming is quite limited. A strong advocate for emissions reductions in international climate change conventions and treaties, Tuvalu has chosen to follow a low-carbon development path as part of its overall commitment to a sustainable future.