Remarks at the commemoration of World Meteorology Day
UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Nathalie Ndongo-Seh speaks at the commemoration of World Meteorology Day held in Mbabane, Eswatini.
A very good morning to all you who are joining today’s event both online and physically.
It is with great pleasure that, on behalf of the UN Development System in Eswatini, I join you to commemorate the World Meteorology Day 2021, as well as the launch of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)
I would like to thank the Honourable Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs and his team for organising this important commemoration under the theme “The Ocean, Our Climate and Weather.” I would also like to thank my colleagues from the UN Development System, led by UNDP and UNEP, for their continued support to the Government and the people of Eswatini on matters of climate change.
As you may be aware, the UN Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, has singled out climate change as one of the major threats to global prosperity and the achievement of Agenda 2030 of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this regard, climate action has been prioritised as we strive to recover better from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The World Meteorology Day holds great significance as it highlights the importance of people’s behaviour in relation to the earth’s atmosphere. Every year, the day is celebrated on March the 23rd to commemorate the establishment of the World Meteorological Organization.
Oceans are also a major driver of the global economy, carrying more than 90% of world trade and sustaining 40% of humanity that lives within 100 km of the coast. Today, the growing impacts of climate change are making ocean observations, research and services more critical than ever before.
Oceans absorb around 23% of the annual emissions of anthropogenic CO2 to the atmosphere. As such, our actions towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions are critical for maintaining ocean stability and disasters related to sea level rise, heat waves, hurricanes and typhons.
This year’s theme underscores the importance of oceans that cover around 70% of the earth’s surface. This year also marks the launch of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). The Decade galvanizes efforts to gather ocean science – through innovative and transformative ideas - as the basis of information to support sustainable development.
For the Kingdom of Eswatini, the relationship between oceans, climate and weather is fresh in our minds in light of the recent Tropical Cyclone Eloise 2021, which carried its share of devastating effects on Eswatini and collided with yet another emergency, COVID-19. The drought of 2015/2016, which led to food insecurity and associated economic impacts, was said to be linked to the ocean cycle.
It is therefore with pleasure that I applaud the Government for the efforts it has undertaken to eliminate plastic waste from the environment under the “Carry Your Own Bag” initiative and enhance climate action ambition through the revised Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The protection of our natural resources, especially rivers and wetlands, must be maintained.
The UN Development System in Eswatini is delighted to be associated with these efforts and has prioritised climate action and building resilience to disasters post COVID-19 in its new programme cycle, the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2021-2025, the operationalization of which began in January 2021. Indeed, the UN and the Government of Eswatini have committed to ensuring that, by 2025, Eswatini is on an inclusive low-carbon development pathway that is resilient to climate change and in which natural resources are managed sustainably, and community adaptation to climate change is enhanced for improved livelihoods, health and food security, especially for vulnerable and marginalized communities.
Let us join hands to protect our rivers, lakes and oceans for a sustainable future for the next generations of Emaswati.
I wish you well in your deliberations.