Many Commonwealth countries face:
- multiple impacts of climate change - The state of the environment and natural resource base and threats imposed by climate change to development are worsening globally and pose a particular challenge for Commonwealth developing countries; especially the poorest, smallest and most vulnerable members. At the global scale, deforestation is occurring at an alarming rate of 5.2 million hectares per annum; 85 per cent of fish stocks are overexploited, depleted, recovering or fully exploited. Since 1990 there has been a 38 per cent increase in annual global carbon emissions, causing extreme weather changes, global temperature increases, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and potentially hazardous health effects for people.
- Increasing global population and urban population growth - Expanding population is placing increasing pressure on our natural resources. It is estimated the global population will be 9 billion by 2040, whilst the urban population has grown by 60 per cent in the last two decades. Increased pressure on the world’s environmental goods and services significantly impacts on access to food, clean water, sanitation and reliable electricity.
- Shortage of financial and technological resources or support - Developing countries are specially vulnerable to adverse effects of climate change because they often lack financial and technological capacity to meet costs of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.
The scale and speed of these changes are already undermining progress made in various facets of development and potentially threaten the very existence of some Commonwealth small states.
How we meet these challenges
The Secretariat works closely with Commonwealth leaders and officials to identify priority needs through regular ministerial meetings, including the Commonwealth Consultative Group on the Environment.
Through our core functions of advocacy and consensus-building, capacity development and technical assistance, research and policy analysis and exchange of good practice , we work with our member states to address:
- Financing for environmentally sustainable development and for transformation to low-carbon, climate-resilient economies
- Integration and governance of natural capital within institutional and legal structures and economies and national sustainable development and sectoral strategies, frameworks, policies and plans.