South-South cooperation vital to global action against climate change

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The 2nd South-South Cooperation on Climate Change Forum was held Sunday on the sidelines of the United Nations (UN) climate change conference here to enhance communication and cooperation on climate change among developing countries and promote global sustainable development.

In recent years, South-South cooperation has been widely recognized as a new dimension of international cooperation on climate change, an increasingly important complement to the traditional North-South cooperation.

On Sunday, high-ranking officials from countries such as Chad, Kenya, Mongolia, India and Nepal, as well as representatives from more than 15 international organizations, academic institutions, non-government organizations (NGOs) and the private sector attended the forum to discuss the role and strategic directions of South-South cooperation in future climate actions.

Xie Zhenhua, China's special representative on climate change, said the international community needs to work together to give a positive response to the challenge of climate change and South-South cooperation constitutes an important component of global cooperation and an important way for developing countries to jointly achieve their development goals through united efforts.

For Wu Hongbo, UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs, South-South cooperation is a vital component of this worldwide effort against climate change and developing countries around the world have showed their innovative spirit in their practice.

"The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is a cornerstone of our actions. Resources available to developing countries are limited. We must find ways to amplify their efforts," Wu said, calling on developed countries to fulfill their pledge to provide 100 billion U.S. dollars each year to developing countries in climate finance by 2020.

Wu also mentioned that sharing knowledge and experiences on designing and implementing policy framework, technology transfer, technical and institutional capacity building and access to data are the key areas where South-South cooperation is crucial.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat Coordinator for Adaptation Programs Youssef Nassef made a speech on behalf of Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of UNFCCC, saying that North-South cooperation is fundamental and South-South cooperation is a concrete avenue to find solutions and can spark the real transformation in economies to meet the challenge of climate change.

Ibrahim Thiaw, deputy director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN assistant secretary-general, said that South-South cooperation was emerging as a key element of the global response to climate change and many emerging economies are moving to the frontline of the international climate policy, taking a lead in defining and implementing low-carbon, climate resilient and sustainable development pathways.

As the largest developing country, China has always promoted and practiced South-South cooperation, and consistently support other developing countries' effort to address climate change.

According to statistics, since 2011, the Chinese government has provided, in addition to its foreign aid, 410 million yuan (64 million dollars) for South-South climate change cooperation.

Last September, China announced the establishment of "China South-South Climate Cooperation Fund" with 20 billion yuan (3.1 billion dollars), to help other developing countries fight climate change.

Believing that South-South cooperation could accelerate global economic transformation into a low-carbon and climate resilient model, Naoko Ishii, CEO and chair of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), said GEF is ready to support such South-South cooperation by working together with the Chinese government in the fields of sustainable forest management, urban development, ecosystem-based adaptation, among others.

Krishna Chandra Paudel, secretary of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment of Nepal, highly commended the generous financial contribution made by China to establish the South-South Climate Cooperation Fund.

"Nepal considers this initiative as an opportunity to the implementation of climate change programs, including mitigation and adaptation. And we also considered this very important to reduce the vulnerabilities of the mountainous developing countries," he added.

Nassef, UNFCCC's secretariat coordinator for adaptation programs, said he has seen an unprecedented momentum throughout the year 2015, one important element of which was the announcement by Chinese President Xi Jinping to allocate 20 billion Chinese yuan (3.1 billion dollars) to the China South-South Climate Cooperation Fund.

However, South-South cooperation in climate issues is only a compliment to North-South cooperation, not its substitute.

"Even if Northern countries mobilized the 100 billion (dollars) per year in climate funding that they committed to Southern countries before 2020, financial support remains rare for developing countries," he stressed.

China's Xie also explained said multilateral funding mechanism is a main channel to help developing countries address climate change process and that developed countries are legally obliged to provide finance, technology and capacity building support to developing countries in accordance with the UFCCC.

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