Virtual Leaders’ Summit to raise Climate Ambition and Accelerate Action

Climate Vulnerable Forum
Press Release

DA NANG – 27 June 2018:  The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) is to convene a leaders’ summit to build increased support for the safeguard of those most vulnerable to growing climate change dangers. The announcement by H.E. Hilda Heine, President of the Marshall Islands, indicated the Heads of Government level conference would be held entirely online as a first Virtual Summit (#VirtualClimateSummit) of global political leaders, eliminating emissions and promoting inclusive dialogue.

President Heine of the Marshall Islands said: “What we face, the world will face,” while stressing that “all nations must urgently find ways to step up and do more to tackle climate change if we are to protect vulnerable nations and people everywhere from an escalation of life-and development- threatening danger, including existential threats to nations like my own.”

President Heine said holding the Summit entirely online aimed to inspire leaders and the world to reconsider what might be additionally accomplished through the creative use of resources at hand. “If we can act, so can any nation,” she added.

The announcement, made at the 6thGlobal Environment Facility Assembly in Da Nang, was accompanied by the release of a video featuring President Heine inviting to join the Summit world leaders prepared to do more in the immediate future to address climate threats on lives and livelihoods. The video also stressed opportunities to be gained from tackling climate change in terms of health, jobs and other benefits.

The Summit, it was indicated, would serve to highlight new national efforts; to share perspectives on climate risks and on opportunities of putting the world on a safer 1.5oC pathway, building wider international support; and, to help ensure that the necessary resources and finance are delivered to make this possible.

The 2018 CVF Virtual Summit being held on 22 November will follow the expected release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on 1.5°C in October 2018. The 1.5°C Paris Agreement goal is widely understood to be the safest achievable temperature limit, the realization of which requires more rapid and far-reaching actions than the present commitments of governments.

The CVF Virtual Summit also convenes leaders ahead of this December’s United Nations Climate Change Conference at Katowice, Poland where, through the “Talanoa Dialogue”, all nations will confront global efforts to reduce emissions to fulfill the Paris Agreement including to limit warming to 1.5°C.


“For too long, our people have suffered as the interests of others were put first. With the CVF Summit we plan to let the world know why the climate is worth fighting for. Since dangers now find their way to every doorstep, in doing so we are confident to inspire new efforts to tackle this global threat.”

H.E. Gemedo Dalle, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Ethiopia).

“We need every country to step up their climate targets by 2020 to help protect the survival of my country, as we were promised in the Paris Agreement. My island nation may be on the frontline, but no country will be immune. Last week more than twenty countries joined the Marshall Islands in launching a Declaration for Ambition, and in the lead-up to the Climate Vulnerable Forum Summit this November we now call on others to join us in signing that Declaration.”

H.E. David Paul, Minister-in-Assistance-to-the-President and Minister of Environment (Marshall Islands).

“The current targets set by countries in 2015 lead to warming that can reach 3 or 4 degrees Celsius. These levels will certainly drown vulnerable nations. If no real and transformational changes are put forward, the ability to enjoy and advance human rights, peace and sustainable development will be permanently threatened. All governments need and must update their medium and long-term strategies in order to consistently increase ambition, achieve a de-carbonized economy and enjoy all the social, economic and political advantages coming out of that.”

H.E. Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, Minister of Environment and Energy (Costa Rica).

“Our nations are among the most vulnerable to climate change, yet our targets are among the most aggressive in the world. We invite the rest of the world to fulfill their pledges with a far greater sense of urgency. We know that pursuing the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold we fought for is the best way not only to protect our people and climate, but also to spur economic growth.“

H.E. Senator Loren Legarda (Philippines).

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