|11 February, 2019

WGS 2019: Hurricanes, typhoons and flooding will only get worse, warn climate change experts

Governments at WGS urged to fight climate change together

  • Effects of global warming being felt everywhere on planet through extreme weather events, natural disasters
  • Maria Espinosa: For millions of people around the world, there can be no future without effective, coordinated and ambitious climate action
  • Laurent Fabius: US withdrawal from Paris Agreement is dangerous, sends wrong messages to international community
  • Paris Agreement was not the end of the story, it was a turning point

Dubai-UAE: – Governments around the world need to act now before the devastation wrought by climate change on the planet is irreparable, senior international leaders said today at the Climate Change Forum on the stage of the seventh World Government Summit (WGS 2019).

Despite the Paris agreement struck in 2015, mounting scientific evidence shows that climate change is wreaking more havoc on the planet’s resources than it was four years ago, experts warned.

The high-level plenary hosted by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), entitled ‘Climate Action in a Multilateral-Skeptic World’, was headlined by María Fernanda Espinosa, President of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, and Laurent Fabius, President of the French Constitutional Council. His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, and Harrison Ford, Vice Chair of Conservation International, attended the session.


The increasingly severe effects of the rise in global temperatures are being felt everywhere, through extreme weather events and natural disasters. Last year alone, at least 5,000 people died and 28.9 million needed emergency assistance or humanitarian aid because of extreme weather, according to the Centre of Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters.

María Fernanda Espinosa said: “For millions of people around the world, there can be no future without effective, coordinated and ambitious climate action. The 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the Paris Agreement are undoubtedly among the most unifying and important outcomes of multilateralism. Both instruments are interconnected and have shared aspirations for people around the world. Multilateral responses to transboundary threats, such as climate change, can only come from collective action. The main home for the multilateral system is the United Nations.”

She added: “The latest IPCC report highlighted international cooperation as a critical enabler for climate targets, particularly for developing countries. We need more cooperation in all aspects, most importantly in climate finance, to make the transition feasible.”

Laurent Fabius said: “Some people question the value of the Paris Agreement. I say to those people; the Paris Agreement is very valuable. It was the first time that a worldwide agreement was reached, defining the aims and means to master climate change. However, Paris was not the end of the story. It was a turning point. Now, we have to implement it.

He added: “The figures today are scary. Unfortunately, the US Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement is dangerous, not only because the US is a powerful part of the world, but also because its withdrawal gives a sort of authorisation to other states not to comply with the accord’s objectives and commitments. However, we must consider that the position of the US people is different from that of the government. We have to leave the door open.”

Among other events, hurricanes caused massive destruction in the US, while typhoons rocked the Philippines, Guam and South China. Heavy rainfall contributed to flooding and landslides in Africa, India, Japan, Korea, and in the Caribbean, displacing millions of people from their homes and leading to outbreaks of disease. The US state of California experienced the most destructive wildfires in its history.

The Paris Agreement, an accord within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was struck in 2015, with the UAE being the first country in the region to ratify the agreement. Last year, two UN reports showed that countries haven’t committed to big enough carbon pollution cuts to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The US government has announced that it will withdraw from the agreement as soon as it is legally allowed to do so.

The World Government Summit 2019 will run from February 10 to 12 at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. The landmark event is set to convene more than 4,000 participants from 140 countries, including heads of state and governments, as well as top-tier representatives of 30 international organisations.


About the World Government Summit

The World Government Summit organization is the primary global forum dedicated to shaping the future of governments worldwide. It takes place in February of every year in Dubai, UAE, bringing together prominent leaders from the public and private sectors, as well as scientists, authors, and entrepreneurs to engage in future-focused dialogues. The Summit showcases the latest innovations and best policies worldwide, with the goal of helping the next generation of governments harness technology and prepare for the rapidly changing political and economic landscapes, ultimately improving the lives of citizens across the world.

© Press Release 2019

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