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15 world leaders, led by the Republic of the Marshall Islands, today released the statement “Uniting Behind the Science to Step Up Ambition by 2020” on the eve of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit.

The statement demonstrates the commitment of its signatories toupdatetheir emissions reduction targets by the first quarter of 2020, and by the end of next year toproduce long-term strategies aimed at achieving net zero global emissions by 2050

All of the current signatories are members of the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) led by the Marshall Islands, which was instrumental in securing the Paris Agreement and remains the central political forum for coordinating progressive international action on climate change.

The statement is signed by the Heads of Government ofthe Republic of the Marshall Islands,Belize, the Republic of Costa Rica, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Republic of Fiji, Grenada, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Principality of Monaco, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Kingdom of Norway, Saint Lucia, the Kingdom of Sweden, the Swiss Confederation, and the Republic of Vanuatu.

It remains open for signature by other countries, including beyond the High Ambition Coalition. The President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Dr. Hilda C. Heine, will highlight the statement during her keynote speech to the opening of the Climate Action Summit tomorrow. During that speech, President Heine will also announce her Government’s decisionto seek the approval of Parliament to declare a national climate crisis, includingon the basis of the special circumstances the Marshall Islands faces as one of only four low-lying coral atoll nations in the world.

In anticipation of that, the Marshall Islands today convened a meeting of the Coalition of Atoll Nations on Climate Change(CAN-CC) to discuss additional ways to mobilize global attention on the special circumstances faced byatoll nations.

Last year, the Marshall Islands became the first country in the world to submit a new and enhancedNationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement, and was also the first island nation to producea2050 Strategy to reach net zero emissions.It is also currently developing a landmark National Adaptation Plan. On the heels of Friday’s global climate strikes, this statement is the biggest political signal yet that world leaders are responding to the need to urgently increase global climate ambition. For the first time, a group of countries is saying they will follow the Marshall Islands’ lead and unequivocally increase their Paris targets by next year and also put in place plans to achievenet zero global emissions by 2050. 

As Greta Thunberg and other youth leaders have told us, the time for hope is over and the time for action is now.My countrystands to lose more than most, which is why our Government intends to also seek the approval of our Parliament to declare a national climate crisis, highlightingthe special circumstances we face as a low-lying coral atoll nation.” -President Hilda C. Heine

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15 world leaders commit to delivering new Paris targets by early 2020 and to achieving net zero global emissions by 2050