The annual United Nations Climate Change Conference – named COP 23 this year; was held in Bonn, Germany from the 6th to the 17th of November 2017. His Excellency, the Right Honourable Prime Minister, Dr. Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, the Head of Government, led the delegation of the Kingdom of Swaziland. He was representing the Head of State, His Majesty King Mswati III who could not attend the event due to national commitments. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze, was also part of the high level delegation.
Swaziland’s team of technical officers from the capital was led by the Chief Negotiator and Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, Mr. Emmanuel D. Dlamini. His Excellency, Ambassador Sibusisiwe Mngomezulu led the delegation from the Embassy of the Kingdom of Swaziland to the Kingdom of Belgium; which is based in Brussels.
The COP 23 was characterised by various events including an exhibition; speeches; and a symposium of national statements, among others. His Excellency Dr Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini had the opportunity to address Heads of State and Government, including among others; President Emmanuel Macron of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.
National Statement by His Excellency Dr. Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini at the High Level Segment
“President of COP,
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
All Protocol Observed;
It is my honour, on behalf of His Majesty, King Mswati III and his Government, and the Swazi nation, to address this esteemed gathering. We thank Fiji and Germany for hosting COP 23.
In terms of COP 23 and beyond, the quality of the Paris Agreement will be determined by what, in material terms emanates from it. That is our challenge. With close to 200 countries signing up to that Treaty, there is clearly the recognition of global warming and the necessity to stop it. Given the number of countries and different topographies, vulnerabilities, economies, cultures and perceptions, securing that consensus was a real achievement.
But to sustain global reassurance, COP 23 has to take us a stage further, and contribute substantially to the requisite framework. The Rulebook must, by 2018, incorporate an agreed set of rules and procedures, articulating how countries should fulfil obligations under the Paris Agreement. That is no mean task. Is there a common sense of urgency to commit? Time will tell. But we do not have time! And we are all aware that we have to set the bar higher – go even faster – than currently envisaged. To what extent is there, among us, an affirmation of that assessment? What degree of change can we count on? These are challenging questions that must be addressed. Our respective peoples are watching and hoping.
Furthermore, if we are truly the partnership that the vision of the Paris Agreement indicates, then we must be accountable to each other. That should include setting appropriate and quantified targets, reporting on progress and explaining any shortfalls, as well as accounting for funds allocated for special needs, such as adaptation, or loss and damage.
The Kingdom of Swaziland is a small, lightly populated country, with a relatively tiny carbon footprint, but we have to play our part in global climate action. We have had the punishing reminder of a very recent and devastating drought. We have the heart, but not the money, for rapid delivery of our Climate Change Action Plan, especially in meeting the front-end cost of renewable energy. We make a passionate appeal for our developing country group to be fully supported in enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthened resilience and reduced vulnerability to climate change. In the meantime we, as a country, as a population, remain fully committed, wherever possible, to adopting climate-respecting practices, such as more sustainable energy use, improved water harvesting and active afforestation. And, as a sovereign state and member of the United Nations, we have a voice, and that voice will get louder as it absorbs the mood of our people becoming increasingly determined to commit by example.
We commend the many resourceful initiatives that are underway across the World, and appeal for all positive contributions to be valued and encouraged, especially those of non-state actors such as our good friend, the Republic of China (Taiwan).
I thank you.”
Business Luncheon with Taiwanese Minister
The Prime Minister also had other engagements on the side-lines of the COP 23. Among these were a business luncheon hosted by the Minister of the Environment Protection Agency, R.O.C. (Taiwan), Minister Ying-yuan Lee, who was accompanied by His Excellency Dr. Jhy-Wey Hsieh, Taiwan Representative to Germany, and the Director General of the Taipei office in Edinburg, General Lien.
His Excellency the Right Honourable Prime Minister was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze, His Excellency Ambassador Sibusisiwe Mngomezulu from the Swaziland Embassy in Brussels, and the First Secretary of the Embassy Ms. Xolile Ngwenya.
Discussions included the perils of climate change which is wreaking havoc on developing nations; which often do not have the resources to counter the devastating effects. The increasing World prices of sugar and the limited markets for sugar and sugar products, whose impact has been exacerbated by the BREXIT; were also discussed.
Courtesy call to Commonwealth Secretary General
The Prime Minister also had the opportunity to pay a courtesy call to the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat Ms. Patricia Scott. Primary on the agenda were trade and development, youth and women empowerment as well as diseases that continue to threaten Sub-Sahara Africa, for instance Malaria. The Commonwealth Secretary General commended the appointment of His Majesty King Mswati III as Chairperson of the African Alliance on Malaria and applauded his role in the fight against the disease. She requested that the fight not focus on Malaria only, but also encompass other diseases that are spread by the mosquito, including chikungunya, yellow fever and dengue fever.
Swaziland’s Chief Negotiator appointed Chair to Subsidiary Body for Implementation for developing countries
One of the highlights of the event was the appointment of the Kingdom of Swaziland’s Chief Negotiator and Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, Mr. Emmanual D. Dlamini by the African Group to chair the Subsidiary Body for Implementation, as a representative of all developing countries. This is a big honour in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change processes, and Swaziland applauds this recognition.