Climate Change

Our PM, Pacific Leaders Sing One Voice In Climate Crisis

“Our actions will decide whether islands exist or are lost to the rising seas; whether many ecosystems can recover or be irreversibly destroyed.”
11 Oct 2021 16:01
Our PM, Pacific Leaders Sing One Voice In Climate Crisis
Catmarang powered by electric propulsion kit launched in the Marshall Islands. Inset: Samoa Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa (left) and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama (right).

At stake are our islands and our future generations.

But for how long will our leaders need to constantly repeat their plea and raise their voices at global forums – like November’s 26th United Nations Climate Change conference.

The message can’t be any clearer. Ambitions must translate into action. Not just a lot of talk.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during a virtual Climate Reality Blue Pacific to Glasgow Forum said: “Our actions will decide whether islands exist or are lost to the rising seas; whether many ecosystems can recover or be irreversibly destroyed.”

Mr Bainimarama is also the chair of the Pacific Islands Forum.

From Samoa, Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa told the 76th UN General Assembly in New York that the upcoming COP in Glasgow is our point of no return.

“Our commitments from there onwards will determine the future trajectory of our planet. Can we avoid a climate catastrophe in our children’s lifetime?”

The urgency in the language used by both leaders was telling of the need for big carbon emitting countries to get their act together.

Mr Bainimarama said he was aware of leaders who hope to sneak in and out of Glasgow without making a single serious commitment that will save our planet for coming generations.

“We can’t let them,” he said.

From Tuvalu, Prime Minister Kausea Natano said having an average elevation of just two metres above sea level made Tuvalu extremely vulnerable to climate change.

He also spoke at the UN General Assembly.

“How strong will the next tropical cyclone be? How much longer can our islands support our livelihoods?

“Is there even a future for our islands? With forced displacement due to climate change and sea level rise, what shall we do, and where should we go?”

If Mr Natano’s questions does not provoke commitment and action from world leaders, than the cries from the islands are futile activities.

Pacific leaders fighting for change

Securing climate financing is also key for the region.

“The developed world must deliver on the US$100 billion dollars promised in climate finance and we must begin negotiations on financing commitments from 2025 onwards – with a new floor of US$750 billion dollars,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“Everything we have fought for – the Paris Agreement, the 1.5 degree, affordable and accessible climate finance, the very survival of our reefs, islands, and way of life, is on the line in Glasgow,

“And we Pacific Nations – the stewards of our Blue Pacific cannot cede an inch in this fight to secure our future.”

The Pacific only have access to less than 1 percent of global climate finance.

74 per cent of overall climate finances mobilised was in the form of loans, 20 percent were grants and the remaining 6 percent were in the form of equity-based investments.

Mr Bainimarama has made Fiji and the Pacific’s demands very clear on the need to have a dedicated financing mechanism for loss and damage that goes beyond insurance-based solutions.

“Funding for adaptation must represent 60 per cent of overall global climate finance and vulnerable Small Island Development States should access at least 10 per cent of global climate flows,” he said.

“We want more for ourselves than to be helpless songbirds whose demise serves as a warning to others.

Edited by Rosi Doviverata

Feedback: adi.sovasiga@fijisun.com.fj



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