World Environment Day - Raise Your Voice, Not the Sea Level

Message from Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Support of World Environment Day 2014 - "Raise Your Voice Not the Sea Level"

The UN International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) comes at an important moment in the evolution of the international climate change process. 2014 is the year when nations need to lift their eyes beyond business as usual to one of greater ambition in order to deliver on a new and meaningful climate agreeme nt in Paris in 2015. Small island s along with the Arctic and many coastal zones are on the frontline of extreme climate and sea level rise that risks lives, livelihoods and even entire countries .

Small islands are also leaders under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) both morally and practically in terms of reminding nations of the risks and collective responsibilities to act while driving ambitious national and international action -- not least in championing the establishment last year o f the Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage .

SIDS are also actively leverag ing the many opportunities and mechanisms that the UN climate change regime has generated to support countries towards a more sustainable future . From an economy - wide integration of climate change adaptation and disaster risk management in Samoa to improved adaptation of water resources in the Comoros , many of these nations have undertaken National Adaptation Programmes of Action under the Convention.

Similarly, from wind power projects in Cape Verde, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica to methane capture in Papua New Guinea and Cuba, the islands have been leveraging the UN Clean Development Mechanism to build their own clean energy futures.

However, the global effort to deal with climate change is still not enough — greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are at their highest for 800,000 years . Yet, the combined effort of governments and business, cities and citizens to act against climate change has never been higher .

It is time to push this groundswell forward towards a new a greement that must include a global commitment to reduce greenhouse emissions rapidly enough to keep a global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius this century . This is the promise the world must deliver to the Small Island Developing States .

Our pathway is clear . Clean energy economies produce profits without pollution, better livelihoods in stable industries, restor e health and wider wealth and preserve water and essential resources. I call upon all to raise their voices and their ambition now, on World Environment Day in June and throughout the journey to that new universal agreement in 2015 .