7 October 2020, DHAKA/NEW YORK: The leaders from the world’s most climate vulnerable nations called on all countries to fulfil their commitments under the Paris Agreement, and submit improved Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by midnight on 31 December 2020, a survival deadline for the climate.

The NDCs are commitments of what each country is planning to do in order to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, as well as adapt to climate change.

Speaking at a Climate Vulnerable Forum event held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, presided over by Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh, a South Asian nation critically vulnerable to a multitude of climate dangers, leaders underscored the vital importance of meeting this year’s NDC deadline agreed in Paris five years ago.

Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina said: 

“Today we are at the most important crossroad of human history, facing the gravest global challenges of our time. Adverse impacts of climate change are harming our civilization, destroying our planet and threatening our very existence.

“We, the CVF leaders and our partners, call everyone to take urgent and strong global actions to address the climate emergency before the 2020 NDC Enhancement deadline.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres added: 

“Climate-vulnerable countries are already leaders on climate ambition. You have been among the first to submit more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions ahead of COP 26. I applaud your moral leadership and concrete examples.”

Former UN Secretary-General and Chair of the Board of the Global Center on Adaptation Ban Ki-Moon also highlighted the importance of all countries submitting an NDC before the year end. Ban Ki-Moon said:

“Global emissions need to be cut by 7.6% each year between now and 2030 to keep the 1.5 within reach. Action cannot wait. We cannot possibly ‘build back better’ without doing more on climate. 2020 is the year for action. 

“Revising NDCs is also an opportunity to accelerate adaptation action. Climate change doesn’t wait. We must focus on helping affected communities right now. 

“Today’s launch of this CVF “Midnight Survival Initiative for the Climate” is critical. Materializing new and more ambitious NDCs this year is indeed a matter of the survival for the most vulnerable.

“I urge all leaders and all nations to heed the call for delivering new and more ambitious Paris NDCs in 2020. If the poor and most vulnerable are acting, so can any nation.”

Leaders from other climate vulnerable countries, many of which have been the first to submit improved NDCs, echoed the call for an improved global response to the climate emergency.

The President of Marshall Islands, David Kabua, said:

“I see the pandemic as a testament of our ability as humans to adapt and to also give us the opportunity to build back better. Better though is an empty promise, unless we put a fight against climate change within the response and recovery.

“The solution is clear. Build your new climate ambition and NDCs into your plans and recovery plans. Midnight on the 21st of December 2020 is our survival deadline.”

The President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde, said:

“The submission of the NDCs by parties to the Paris Agreement, before the end of December 2020, can be considered a critical moment for raising ambitions, as well as ensuring a green recovery from COVID.” 

Former US Vice President Al Gore, meanwhile, noted that “the American people are still committed to the Paris Agreement.”

At the event, which was moderated by Prof. Dr. Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation, leaders also kicked-off an online, social media initiative, called Midnight Survival Deadline for the Climate, to pressure countries to submit NDCs before the end of the 2020, and meet the Paris obligations they signed to protect our climate.



The Climate Vulnerable Forum

The Climate Vulnerable Forum is an international partnership of 48 developing nations most threatened by the global climate emergency. The current president of the CVF is Bangladesh, which took over from the Marshall Islands this year and will hold the presidency until 2022. The Global Center on Adaptation is Managing Partner of support to the CVF and hosts its secretariat.

The CVF countries are: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Fiji, The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Kiribati, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Senegal, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Viet Nam and Yemen.