Women leaders take the reins to leverage the sub-national commitments pledged at the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in California and trigger tangible climate action and ambition.

Friday 14 September, San Francisco, California: Dr. Hilda C. Heine, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) announced last June the first ever carbon-free online Summit of world leaders on 22nd of November 2018. Leaders joining the Summit must commit to new climate action and ambition. To guarantee the success of the Summit with tangible outcomes and commitments, the President appointed a group of prestigious women champions able to invigorate and drive forward the long overdue implementation of the Paris Agreement to keep warming below 1.5C. Breaching the temperature goal will have dire consequences to vulnerable communities around the world.

Demonstrating the power of women leadership in climate change and its capacity to influence the political agenda, President Heine and several of the champions hosted a news conference at GCAS calling on all governments to prove solidarity with vulnerable communities by internalizing the urgency and participating in the CVF Summit to pledge greater climate ambition and means of implementation.


Dr. Hilda C. Heine, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF)

“Women can change the world and that is exactly what this group is doing. With their support I am confident the Virtual Climate Summit will help chart a path to a low emissions, climate-resilient future, including through showing countries can and must step up their climate ambition by 2020.”

Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Sustainable Energy for All

“To combat climate change we need to speed up the process of decarbonizing the economy. In response, our energy systems are transforming. Tomorrow’s energy systems will be decentralized and digitalized.

“Yet if we’re to achieve global energy goals, the pace of progress needs to increase urgently or we risk leaving the most vulnerable behind. CVF countries are showing the world what leadership looks like – despite facing the dual challenge of undergoing a renewable energy transition that is also climate resilient from the devastating impacts of climate change. We must stand with them and collectively raise our ambition to deliver sustainable energy for all.”

Christiana Figueres, Convenor, Mission 2020 and former Executive Secretary, United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

The atmosphere is sending a message loud and clear – there’s no more room for carbon pollution up here. At the same time, exponential progress on low carbon solutions is already happening in the key sectors of energy, transport and finance. It’s time to respond by upgrading ambition across all sectors and nations. 2020 is going to be critical, so thank you to all the strong women here today, and to the CVF countries, for their leadership in carving a path we can all tread towards a climate safe future.

Laura Tuck, Vice President for Sustainable Development, The World Bank

“We can’t fight poverty if we don’t fight climate change. This has to be our top priority – both building a low carbon global economy and adapting to the inevitable impacts.”

Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairman, Global Environment Facility (GEF)

“It is the poorest and most vulnerable countries that are hit the hardest from climate change. At this critical time, we all need to raise our climate ambition and the GEF is committed to supporting transformational change. In its new four-year investment strategy the GEF puts a strong emphasis on financing for Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. The CVF Leaders’ Summit is an important opportunity to accelerate action on financing and to renew political momentum in tackling climate change and support for the most vulnerable.”

Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, Greenpeace International

“We have arrived at the moment of truth. Climate change is here and it’s big and dangerous. Super Typhoon Mangkhut and Hurricane Florence are the latest grim examples of the dangers the changing climate might pose. But let’s not forget there is still hope, and the IPCC’s special report on 1.5 degrees must guide our response. The question is, who will take up the reins of climate leadership and take the action that’s needed? We have no time to waste.”

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International

“Climate change is just one symptom of our broken economy, just like extreme inequality. Last year 82% of all new wealth went to the richest 1% of people, while the poorest 50% got nothing. Our broken economy obscures the cost of economic activities to the environment and does not count all the work of caring for children, the sick and elderly which is mostly done by women.

“We have a rigged economy that treats the environment and women as exploitable resources for the super-rich. The most vital thing that civil society can do is to challenge governments to organise our economies differently”.

Full Background:

Dr. Hilda C. Heine, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Chair of the CVF announced last June the first ever carbon-free online Summit of world leaders on 22nd of November 2018. The CVF Summit aims to trigger a universal effort by all countries to enhance their emission reduction pledges by 2020 in order to stay within the 1.5°C limit set by the Paris Agreement.

Supporting the Summit and promoting its success while demonstrating the value of women’s leadership in climate action is a special group of ‘Summit Champions’, chaired by Ms. Christiana Figueres, Mission 2020 Convenor, and Ms. Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General of Sustainable Energy for All. The group gathers a prestigious collection of women leaders renowned for their ability to influence positive change. Members include: Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation, Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace International Executive Director, Laura Tuck, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland – The Elders, Loren Lagarda, Philippines Senator, Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairman Global Environment Facility (GEF), Helen Clark, Former Prime Minister – New Zealand, and Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International Executive Director.


About the Climate Vulnerable Forum:

The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) is an international cooperation group for developing countries highly vulnerable to climate change. Since its foundation in 2009 the CVF has come to include 48 member states from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific. In 2015, the Ministers of Finance of the Forum created a dedicated body named the Vulnerable Twenty Group, or V20, to promote economic and financial responses to climate change. The Forum has led the #1o5C campaign to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, now a Paris Agreement Goal. The Marshall Islands exercises the 7th presidency of the Forum. More info at: www.thecvf.org & www.V-20.org