To boost ambition and accelerate actions to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, UN Secretary-General António Guterres will host the 2019 Climate Summit on 23 September to meet the climate challenge. The UNCTAD Trade Forum is meant as a contribution to the Summit from the trade and developmental community. It will bring into focus the need for action on the means of implementation – finance, technology and capacity building – and the role of trade as an enabling factor in meeting this need and leveraging the various co-benefits – economic diversification, jobs, innovation, better management and communications.
On the front line of climate change – at the ocean-land interface – coastlines and coastal communities are among the first and most affected. One group of Parties to the Paris Agreement are particularly active and vocal: Small Island Developing States, or SIDS. Sea-level rise, an increased frequency and magnitude of storms, flooding, erosion, and associated damage to coastal infrastructure, fisheries and ecosystems threaten the physical, economic and social fabric of coastal regions.
With its focus on islands and coastal communities, the agenda of the Trade Forum practically mirrors the Chilean vision of a “blue” COP 25, which has oceans as its overriding theme. SIDS and coastal communities may not be able to change the political course of efforts to mitigate climate change, but what the international community does or does not do will determine their fate. The Forum also reflects other priorities recently set out by the Chilean presidency: circular economy and biodiversity. While striking – the two events have been conceptualized independently of each other – this convergence is indicative of the critical importance of all these areas.