Commonwealth Parliamentarians find that the world’s smallest nations can be global innovators in combatting the impacts of climate change 

Commonwealth Parliamentarians representing the Small Branches Network of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) have examined the global implications of climate change and its impact on the smallest nations and territories in the world. 

Climate change is of great concern to the 53 Commonwealth countries, especially its 31 small and developing states which are often the least polluting but the first casualties of climate change. At the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM) in Malta and in the United Kingdom, Commonwealth leaders committed themselves to tackling climate change and addressing the unique challenges of small states to ensure their full participation in and contribution to a more prosperous future.

Parliamentarians from eight CPA Small Branches representing five CPA Regions met in Kenya from 10 to 13 October 2018 for the CPA Small Branches Climate Change Workshop at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Headquarters. The workshop heard from experts in the field and discussed ways to introduce renewable energy, waste reduction with a specific focus on plastics, marine protection, the best scientific resources for action, electric transport, the involvement of non-state actors, fiscal policy, regional integration, and technological innovation. Parliamentarians also examined the specific challenges of smaller jurisdictions in overseeing the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement and in the development of appropriate national legislation dealing with the prevention and impact of climate change.

Through this partnership, the CPA Small Branches network and UNEP will continue to examine the role of legislators in combatting climate change and support Parliamentarians in the Parliaments and Legislatures of the Commonwealth to further pursue these goals.

The CPA’s Small Branches, which are jurisdictions with a population of under 500,000 people, are particularly well placed in trialling innovation in combatting climate change due to their smaller population and landmass. For developing nations, there are resources available to assist small jurisdictions in assuming a leadership role in this area. The areas of engagement are vast and range from implementing innovations in terrestrial ecosystems, technology, transport, energy, emission trading, climate finance, legal response initiatives and environmental law making. 

“The need for action on climate change is a given. The evidence is overwhelming. Our focus now needs to be on the how – finding the right solutions and making global issues relevant at the national and local level. We need behavioural change, policy change and business change. Everyone can take positive action to combat this global problem,” said Erik Solheim Head of UN Environment
At the closing of the workshop, the CPA Small Branches Chairperson, Hon. Angelo Farrugia, MP, Speaker of the Parliament of Malta said: “As former UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon says, when it comes to climate change, there is no plan B, since we do not have a planet B. Now that we have come together as a network of CPA Small Branches Parliamentarians to discuss these pressing matters, to compare action plans and to engage with top experts in the field, it is time for action. Climate change is not just a threat to humanity - it is a tremendous, unique opportunity in our history to show what humans have done best throughout the centuries: champion innovation and growth.” 


Updated 22 October 2018.

UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world. Media enquiries: more information about the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) please click here.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association connects, develops, promotes and supports Parliamentarians and their staff to identify benchmarks of good governance and the implementation of the enduring values of the Commonwealth. The CPA is an international community of around 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures working together to deepen the Commonwealth’s commitment to the highest standards of democratic governance. For more information about the CPA Small Branches network please click here.

For further information about the CPA, please contact:
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
CPA Headquarters Secretariat  

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