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Eden: All In Govt Must Combine To Combat Climate Change

Eden: All In Govt Must Combine To Combat Climate Change
Assistant Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment Lorna Eden (third from left), in Bonn, Germany. Photo: Office of the Attorney-General
November 14
13:46 2017

Assistant Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment Lorna Eden says all ministries and all levels of government must work together to combat climate change.

Speaking at the launch of the front-line cities and islands initiative in Bonn, Germany, Ms Eden said the COP23 meeting would only be effective if they all responded properly and positively to climate change.

“If all ministries and all levels of Government work together it will ensure that National Governments have all of the tools and wisdom they need, to be as ambitious as they possibly can,” Ms Eden said.

She said it wasn’t long ago that dealing with Climate Change was considered the responsibility of Ministers of Environment only.

“But the Paris Agreement recognised an undeniable truth: that the effects of Climate Change are pervasive in every country, community and land mass—large and small—that makes up this world.”

She said local governments have an important leadership role to play in adaptation and resiliency in part, because they were directly accountable to their communities, and saw the needs first-hand.

Ms Eden said by tradition cities and towns were ‘‘innovative problem solvers and are charged with managing the way people live together.”

“We know that cities have developed parks and playgrounds and green spaces, mass transit and first accommodated motor vehicles and are now innovative in creating solutions for smart transport for the 21st century,” she said.

“In these ways, cities are constantly striving to make their Environments more live-able, and people-friendly.

“All of this is because city governments are closest to the people, and they deal with the issues that are most important in the daily lives of real human beings.

“So yes, cities need to lead, but they need the backing of their National Governments and they need financing.”

She said this was a formidable challenge, and cities must act with urgency to address this crisis; not only the longer-term consequences of unsustainable development, but the short-term negative health consequences.

She said cities “emit huge amounts of carbon dioxide because of the concentration of people, vehicles and economic activity.”

“They are at the same time a root cause of Global Warming and, one of the best hopes we have to solving this crisis.

“This is a formidable challenge, and cities must act with urgency to address this crisis. We are seeing in cities not only the longer-term consequences of unsustainable development, but also the short-term negative health consequences. The poor air quality in a number of megacities affects millions of poor people who cannot escape the foul air of the cities.

They probably can’t hope to get proper medical care for the suffering of their eyes, lungs and hearts. So if the cities don’t move to reduce the risks to these very vulnerable people, who will?”

Ms Eden said waste-management infrastructure, wastewater systems and other urban infrastructure, must not just be improved, they must be made to withstand storms, floods, encroaching seawater, drought and high heat.

“It is our true partnership that will work with us to develop solutions based on our experience, and it triples international financial support, to climate and health infrastructure in Small Island Developing States.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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