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      Cuba Warns About Global Challenges Despite Paris Agreement

      Statement by the minister of Science, Technology and Environment of Cuba, Mrs. Elba Rosa Pérez Montoya to the special signature ceremony of the Paris Agreement on climate change. New York, April 22, 2016.

      H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations,

      Distinguished Heads of States, Ministers and Delegates,

      Today, a date of such importance for the preservation of our planet and the human species inhabiting it, it is worth mentioned the words of the historical leader of the Cuba Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, who, during the first Global Conference on Sustainable Development of Small Island States, in Barbados, stated, and I quote:

      “Poor and small countries in the world try to know how we will survive in the coming decades. As we are islands…, we wonder what will happen when the water levels up, and whether we will be able to cope with drought, cyclones and other climate catastrophes that await us.”

      Science and the current climate behavior corroborate the validity of these concerns. According to the IPCC, sea level has risen about 20 centimeters from 1901 to 2010. According to predictions, it could be worse in the coming decades, reaching one meter by the year 2100. Extreme weather events and floods are ever more frequent, as well as heat waves and droughts.

      Year 2015 was the warmest for Earth in the recent 136 years, marking 0.9 degrees centigrade above the average temperature in the twentieth century.

      Not surprisingly, the Global Risk Report of the 2015 World Economic Forum placed the lack of mitigation and adaptation to climate change as the most powerful risk for the coming years. The effect of climate change is also present in other identified risks, such as the water crisis, migrations, major natural disasters, and food security.

      If we fail to reverse this situation, what will happen to coastal cities worldwide and small islands whose main major cities will not be the only land submerged?

      What will happen to food production, particularly for the more than 800 million people suffering from chronic hunger? How could the world population order and balance be maintained if emigration continues in search of better living conditions, including environment as the natural milieu of the mankind?

      Cuba has decided to sign the Paris Agreement and hopes that it is enforced in a near future, certain that it will really contribute to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gasses worldwide. We attained important results in Paris, but equal big challenges are still pending.

      It is known that the voluntarily-determined contributions submitted by the countries in the process towards COP 21 are not enough to keep temperature increase below 2 degrees centigrade, regarding the pre-industrial levels and, let alone, limit that temperature increase to 1.5 degrees, which is a vital goal for island developing States.

      Therefore, the permanent increasing ambition to reduce emissions is essential. For developing countries, these reductions will depend on the implementation means, namely financing and technology transfer, whose level of completion reflected in the Agreement was below the expectations and needs.

      In this regard, just few days ago, Raul Castro Ruz, President of the Council of State and Minister of the Republic of Cuba expressed and I quote:

      “… We believe that the cooperation framework agreed upon after the Paris Summit on climate change remains limited by the persistence and imposition of irrational production and consumption patterns, inconsistent with the preservation of the human species. The lack of political will of industrialized nations prevents the establishment of effective commitments in terms of financing and technology transfer, in keeping with the concept of common but differentiated responsibilities.”

      Other important issues like that referring to “loss and damage” had also limited progress in Paris and they require greater attention in the progress of the legal regime of this Agreement.

      We hope that the contributions of developed countries to the Green Climate Fund contribute to the effective implementation of the Agreement, so that we can define a transparent, just and balanced roadmap for the financial support to developing countries.

      Only the progress in these aspects will ensure that the Agreement and the Decisions arising from it do not impose undue burdens on developing countries.

      In the context of our national circumstances and priorities for economic and social development, Cuba will continue to work and cooperate firmly in the common struggle to face climate change and build a cleaner and fairer world.

      We are confident that the efforts we have undertaken to date in the establishment of new international commitments to stop and cope with climate change, let us save the world.

      We have no alternative but to comply with the agreement, in order to survive the current century.

      As Fidel once expressed in 2004, I quote: “Dreaming of impossible things is called utopia; fight for goals, not only attainable but also essential for the survival of the species, is called realism”.

      I thank you very much.

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