Stakeholders at the 28th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) unveiled a new United Nations Convention on Conserving River Deltas (UNCCRD). A convention when fully operationalized will provide the urgently needed international platform to protect our disappearing delta across the globe due to climate change, for example increasing flood incidences, sea level rise, droughts and excessive rainfall are causing forced migration in native areas.

“Migration is a matter of survival now and not just movement from rural to urban areas is leading to more conflicts and largely contribute to global insecurity”, said Freeman Elohor Oluowo, The Founder and Centre Coordinator – for African Centre for Climate Actions and Rural Development Initiative (ACCARD) and the Focal Person UNCCRD and DeltasUNite Initiative at the session on DeltasUNite: Urgent Call for Climate Action with a UN convention on Conserving River Deltas (UNCCRD).

According to him, “the United Nations Convention on Conserving River Deltas (UNCCRD) is proposed bottom-up structured solution that allows citizen’s participation to challenges of the global deltas, not just financial solution because global climate finance is limited, calls a more proactive than reactive actions.”

“You have been negotiating all my life, you can’t tell me you need more time. Deltas don’t have more time because the problems are accumulating and getting worse. We are paying for the wrong decisions made decades ago, sadly our children are going to pay more for these ill-informed decisions”, said Professor Michael Glantz from Centre for Capacity Building, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA. “The science on deltas is endorsing the UNCCRD.”

Professor Asim Zia, Co-founder TWIN and Professor of Public Policy and Computer Science & Director, Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security (IEDS), UVM said that by the end of the century, approximately 1 billion people will be displaced. He called out the fossil fuel companies as climate criminals and advocated more support for the UNCCRD to address the complex actions leading to global security crisis and UNCCRD can address these complex issues, he added

“The Government of Bayelsa State will continue to prioritize activities and programs of the deltas unite”, said Ambassador Godknows Igali and urge more nations to endorse UNCCRD.

Senator Nisar Memon, Chairperson of Water Environment Forum said, “Human migration isn’t only affecting Indus River delta, but pulls in social, cultural, economic, as well as environmental aspects”. He believes that UNCCRD will bring all stakeholders together on a common platform to create a global to local awareness, with a good public and private sector partnership. He adjoins everybody to join in this regard and leave it to government alone.

“A global cooperation is the need to cope as well as avert climate change challenges. We wlcome the timely initiative of a United Nations Convention on Conserving River Deltas (UNCCRD). Hoping that this initiative will promote inclusive governance of water resources and to give local communities more voice. And look forward to sharing best practices under guidance of this convention,” said to Senator Seemee Ezdi, Chairperson of Senate Climate Change Committee Pakistan.

Senator Nuzhat Sadiq and Mr. Asim Khan Goraya, Additional Secretary, Senate Secretariat also supported the new Convention at the session.

Professor Arukwe Augustine from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Grace Ananda from Habitat for Humanity International, Wakedei Davidson from the Nigerian Bayelsa State and Susan Sgorbati, Co-founder TWIN and Center for the Advancement of Public Action at Bennington College, USA also spoke at the event.

The event was organized, at United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 happening in Dubai from November 29th to December 12th by African Centre for Climate Actions and Rural Development (ACCARD), Nigeria’s Bayelsa State Government, Transboundary Water In-Corporation Network (TWIN), Consortium for Capacity Building (CCB) USA, Water Environment Forum Pakistan, The University of Vermont, Bennington College, Institute of Environment Diplomacy and Security (IEDS), Terra Global, Centre for Environment and Sustainable Livelihood, Niger Delta Development Commission, Environmental Peace Building, Akassa Development Foundation, Living Deltas, Nha Trang University in Vietnam, and Dawson College.