Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the inaugural G77 + China Summit on Climate Change during the United Nations Climate-Focused Conference of Parties (COP 28), in Dubai, 2 December 2023
President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermudez,
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
I wish to convey my appreciation to Cuba for convening the Group of 77 and China at Summit level for the first time.
May I also take this opportunity to thank you, Mr President, for Cuba’s outstanding leadership of the Group over the past year.
Climate change is a threat whose effects are being felt across the globe with increasing intensity.
Every region and country represented in this group is already experiencing the impact of climate change and its associated loss and damage.
This means that we need to stand together in solidarity, to support each other and to speak with one voice at COP 28.
We need to contribute our best efforts and to act with urgency.
Transformative climate action is taking place alongside our efforts to eradicate poverty and inequality.
We should therefore coordinate our positions on the transformation of the global financial architecture and reform of the multilateral development banks so that they can support sustainable development.
This COP28 must build on the breakthrough at the African COP in Sharm el-Sheikh last year, in which climate action was presented not only as an integral part of broader sustainable development, but also as part of a just transition.
The vision of Sharm el-Sheikh is of a whole-of-society and all-of-economy transition to achieve more equitable and sustainable societies, within a more just world.
Climate justice is premised on each Party having the sovereign right to choose its own developmental pathway towards shared objectives.
This speaks to the right of developing economies to developmental space.
Since developing economy countries are the least responsible for climate change but the most affected, it is critical that the enabling means of implementation support is provided by countries with developed economies.
The G77 and China, representing the overwhelming majority of the world’s population who live in developing economies, has the opportunity to infuse this vision into the mandate and scope of the new work programme on Just Transition Pathways.
We have the opportunity at COP28 to secure a successful first Global Stock-Take under the Paris Agreement; to give an honest account of the successes and challenges experienced to date; and to provide forward-looking recommendations.
I would further suggest that the exporters of the strategic minerals and rare earths required to drive green development need to work together to ensure that the new economy is fairer, more equitable and offers equal opportunity for all.
Our natural resources need to advance the sustainable development of our people.
We need to address the issue of skills and technology transfer. Access to climate change adaptation and mitigation technologies should not be commercially driven but seen as a global public good.
We should forge a united platform against unilateral coercive and trade distorting measures under the guise of climate action. These include carbon border taxes that have the effect of reversing climate finance flows to the Global North.
We need to reframe the climate action narrative to better address the realities of developing economy countries, to give appropriate recognition to their rights and to acknowledge their contributions to the global fight against this existential threat.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency