Baraniko Baaro, Mayor of Teinainano Urban Council on Tarawa Island, Kiribati
Excellencies, friends, ladies and gentlemen;
During the last 2 weeks, I witnessed a number of remarkable moments.
I witnessed the revival of loss and damage fund, opening doors for direct access to finance.
With hundreds of Mayors and other subnational leaders, we applauded the 65+ nations committing to multilevel action through CHAMP Initiative.
As a Mayor, I sat at the same table with Heads of States.
Behind the Kiribati flag at the Plenary, I and the Minister of the Line and Phoenix Development shared our experiences to connect to urban and climate action.
I am happy to see that urban nature is now an essential element to our response to climate emergency.I had the pride and privilege to be part of these incredible moments; thanks to the warm hospitality of COP28 Presidency, the wonderful support of ICLEI and the incredible solidarity within the LGMA family.
But back home in Tarawa, my three-year-old Grandson has been asking daily, “Where’s Papa?” – Honestly speaking, I really don’t know how to answer this question.
While I am proudly part of all these achievements in the action agenda, as of now, we still don’t know how COP28 in Dubai will conclude global stocktake and shape the next phase of the Paris Agreement.
Lets make no mistake – With current national policies, the planet is STILL on track to a 2.9 degrees future. Like other communities in Small Island Developing States, we in Kiribati cannot adapt to a temperature rise that high. Our islands will be submerged by rising seas and other climate disasters.
The scale of damage is beyond imagination. And it will also be the death sentence of the generation of my grandson. And I don’t want to go back home with such a heavy burden.
So, as a grandfather, as a local leader, as a global citizen – if you want to help me to answer my grandson, here is my 3 asks to all of you;
First; support COP28 Presidency so that we have the most ambitious outcome here in Dubai.
Second; ask your nations to deliver all their promises here, through multilevel collaboration with all levels of governments at home.
Third; elevate your collaboration with networks like ICLEI so that they can expand their support to thousands of Mayors and others subnational leaders like me, to face climate crisis together with our communities, and connect to global efforts through our TownHallCOPs our meeting houses.
Let us all join hands together as responsible citizens of the world, act and deliver.