Statement by the Hon Kausea Natano, Prime Minister of Tuvalu
Tuvalu-PIFS Joint Reception
10 December 2019
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to this Blue Pacific reception and extend my appreciation for your efforts to be here, given the many commitments that you all have.
I have recently assumed the role of Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum with my appointment as Prime Minister of Tuvalu this past September, and so this reception marks my very first official engagement on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum collective. It is most fitting that it is on the margins of one of the most crucial multilateral processes that governs the global conversation on climate change, an issue of great and grave importance to us all.
Excellencies, Colleagues, the Blue Pacific continent and its peoples face and fear the impacts of climate change now and into our future. The consequences are far reaching and has already impacted and infiltrated all aspects and sectors of our societies, our economies and the integrity of our island and ocean ecosystems. We are not strangers to this.
The powerful framing of the Blue Pacific continent by the 50th Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu, has set a strong foundation for heightened political advocacy on climate change action by our collective region. Indeed, the Kainaki Lua Declaration for Urgent Climate Change Action Now! builds on the strong Pacific position advanced at COP 21 in Paris. We have strengthened in our resolve from year to year, including under the presidency of Fiji at COP 23.
At its core, the Kainaki Lua Declaration is about our survival – as a people, as economies, as a sea of islands in the largest oceanic continent of the Blue Planet. The political commitment made by our 18 Forum Leaders needs to translate into action within the negotiations and the political discussions and settlements that we engage in and pursue here at COP25.
Upon reflection, one could offer that the effective translation of Pacific political urgency in regional and global affairs is far too often overlooked, and most especially when it concerns complex multilateral negotiation processes such as the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change. We must ensure that our political commitments count where they matter most – and that is in the negotiating rooms! To this end, may I commend and continue to encourage our negotiators who continue to lead this effort through these multilateral processes, and to commend our partners for embracing our Blue Pacific priorities and principles.
We need a strong outcome from this COP 25. We need to ensure an outcome that adequately responds to the Climate Change Crisis that we currently face. The decisions of this COP must facilitate enhanced nationally determined contributions, deliver scaled up climate finance – including for loss and damage, and reinforce the objectives of the Paris Agreement – and not undermine it.
Excellencies and Colleagues, I see the next few months of my tenure as the Forum Chair as instrumental to progressing and spearheading regional advocacy at the global level on climate change and resilience, among other regionalism priorities. To effectively do this we would need to ensure the strength and solidarity of the Forum collective around the key priorities that the Forum Leaders have identified and committed to through the Kainaki Lua Declaration.
Our political commitment to these priorities is no secret but how can we position ourselves – as the Blue Pacific collective – to progress with greater clarity and focus – to achieve our common goals and objectives? What form, or forms will regionalism need to take in the future to remain effective and impactful?
In today’s context of the climate change crisis that we find ourselves in, and the heightened geopolitical interest in and engagement with our region, the answers to such questions have very real and concrete consequences – for the future of our Pacific region, for the future of our Peoples and for how we optimise our Prospects now and in the future.
Before I conclude, Excellencies and colleagues, allow me to touch briefly on the importance of regionally grown and led efforts. The Pacific region continues to spearhead innovative resilience initiatives globally, including the multi-stakeholder approach to integrating climate change and disaster risk considerations in resilient development decisions and action to implement the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific.
Building on this, we are now working to establish innovative regional risk financing instruments and mechanisms to support resilient development, such as the Pacific Resilience Facility which seeks to focus on preparedness by retrofitting and risk-proofing development investments for those on the frontline of risk impacts – being our communities; as well as the Pacific Islands Climate Change Insurance Facility.
Partnerships are absolutely crucial to the achievement of our regional priorities – we all recognise this. I call on you all to support the Blue Pacific region in progressing our efforts and positions for a climate resilient future for our economies, for our peoples (now and into the future) and for our place.
I thank you.