Welcome to the Red City #COP22

Nearly one year after the watershed COP21 Climate Summit in Paris, governments have once again convened in Marrakech, Morocco for COP22 to move forward with the Paris Agreement and take stock of their collective efforts to curb dangerous climate change.

IFAD is here at COP22, making the case for investing in smallholder farmers, both to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly reaching zero hunger by 2030 (SDG2) and ensuring that smallholders are adequately supported so they can afford to adapt to changing climate patterns that will continue to impact on global food production. 

 At a packed-out opening ceremony, there were remarks by COP22 President Salaheddine Mezouar, COP21 President Segolene Royal, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chair, Hoesung Lee and the Mayor of Marrakech, Mohammed Larbi Belcadi, followed by a performance by a group of local drummers to set the beat for climate action over the next 11 days of the conference.

 "The rapid entry into force of the Paris Agreement is unprecedented and sends a powerful signal of the world’s commitment to combatting climate change,” said COP21 President Segolene Royal as she opened COP22.

COP22 President Salaheddine welcomed everyone to the Red City, commenting how his country has spared no effort to provide the best possible conditions for this global event to ensure its success.
He said that holding the COP on African soil shows the continents commitment to reinforcing resilient ecosystems. He stressed that this effort would involve everyone and all countries, as, "the sun does not ignore a village just because it is small"" and all are affected by the blight of climate change.

"Let us make no mistake as to what is at stake here,’’ continued Salaheddine,"I call on you to be more ambitious during this conference on our commitments, working together to finalise the support mechanisms and expertise at every level from local to transboundary projects. This must be done through win-win partnerships. At stake now is not only climate change but civilisation and economic development. We must now promote sustainable development models which are innovatory and can transform the world, including the south."

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said that this is the second COP in the shadow of the mighty Atlas Mountains. The city where the Marrakech accords were founded, and that just days ago, the Paris Agreement came into action here  uniting parties and stakeholders.

"We have embarked to change the course of two centuries of carbon emissions,’’ Espinosasaid. , "Marrakech is our moment to take forward climate action at both the international and national levels. Our work is far from done.  Together we can deliver the promise of Paris to billions of people on this planet, both today and for tomorrow.’’

Hoesung Lee talked of how COP22 is to be the COP of action.

There was an upbeat atmosphere as the Mayor of Marrakech closed the opening ceremony, again welcoming everyone and calling for ambitious negotiations and for everyone to build on last year’s successful talks. The ceremony closed with a special performance by a local traditional Moroccan drumming group, “Ostina Tono,”, which drew great applause and cheers as the COP22 officially kicked off.