Dubai, December 14, 2023 - This year's COP, dubbed the year of the "global stocktake," tasked countries with assessing the progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions since the Paris Agreement was signed seven years ago, to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. On December 13, 2023, a consensus was reached among nations to "transition away from fossil fuels."
Financing climate change mitigation and adaptation has taken center stage on the COP agenda this year. This resulted in the operationalization of a loss and damage fund, along with commitments of $3.5 billion to the Green Climate Fund and an annual pledge of $9 billion by the World Bank for climate-related projects. Recognizing the vital importance for the FSM to access such funding, the senators actively engaged in discussions with fund managers, emphasizing the necessity of streamlining accessibility, considering the unique challenges faced by the FSM in terms of human resources and capacity.
Overall, the COP 28 conference held in Dubai proved to be a transformative experience for the Congressional delegation, which included Senator Abello Alfonso, Chair of the Special Committee on Climate Change and Environmental Issues, Floor Leader Quincy Lawrence, Senator Fabian Nimea, and Staff Attorney Charlotte Ruzzica. Their participation allowed them to deepen their understanding of the multifaceted effects of climate change and recognize its pervasive impact on the lives of islanders, and its potential influence on legislation and the work of various congressional committees.
The delegation actively engaged with other parliamentarians, particularly from Small Island Developing States and the United Kingdom, at the Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting and at events organized in the UK Pavilion and in the dedicated COP Parliamentary Pavilion. The Senators' aim was to learn from their counterparts from around the world by receiving feedback and ideas on possible legislative contributions to sustainability and the green transition. Their discussions covered a range of topics, including ocean conservation, climate finance, energy, health, education, gender equality, and island-specific circumstances. These exchanges enriched their understanding of the solutions available and inspired their vision for innovative legislation during their terms.
The Senators have also spoken at various events, thus contributing to the global dialogue on climate action. The Chairwoman of the Special Committee on Climate Change highlighted the particular effects of climate change on island life and women at four panels organized by UN Women, the Pacific Islands Forum, and parliamentary forums.
Following the conclusion of the conference, the Senators emphasized the need for significant resources within Congress to effectively address the challenges posed by climate change. As a primary course of action, they expressed their intention to advocate for the establishment of a permanent Committee on Climate Change and Environmental Issues. This initiative reflects their commitment to a sustained effort to address the problems associated with climate change.
As the world works together to find sustainable solutions, the FSM Senators are returning home with invaluable knowledge and a renewed commitment to addressing climate change through legislation. As they eagerly anticipate the next COP in Azerbaijan in 2024, their focus remains on fostering collaboration within Congress and advocating for the creation of a dedicated congressional committee. Through these initiatives, they aim to "set the stage for effective and collaborative congressional efforts to protect our natural environment, which is our livelihood, for present and future generations."