PIF-HQ, Suva, FIJI, 11th December 2020--Five years after the Paris Agreement, which sets a goal for limiting global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius, and on the eve of a global Climate Ambition Summit on December 12, Pacific Islands Forum Leaders have hosted a high-level roundtable with their international Forum Dialogue Partners to reaffirm their call for urgent, ambitious climate change action, now.
In the virtual ‘Kainaki II to COP 26’ high-level roundtable convened on December 11, and including the United Kingdom’s COP26 President Designate, Right Honourable Alok Sharma, Forum Leaders stressed the urgency of the climate change crisis facing Pacific Islands nations.
Opening the meeting, Forum Chair Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano said: “the Paris Agreement was a milestone moment for protecting all people and the planet. But we are not meeting our commitments, we are not on track. We are already at 1.2 degree Celsius. We must raise our ambition and act now. The future of our Blue Pacific depends on it.
In 2019, Pacific Leaders issued the Kainaki II Declaration – the most comprehensive and ambitious climate change declaration issued by all eighteen Forum Leaders. Today, as we look towards COP26 in Glasgow, we reaffirm our calls and invite our international Dialogue Partners to join us in urgent action.”
Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor said “COVID-19 must not be a reason to delay climate change action. Rather, it should serve as motivation to the global community to better prepare for shocks, underpin our policies with science, and bolster multilateral efforts to tackle common threats. We must ensure that financing for COVID-19 recovery advances the goals of the Paris Agreement and puts us on a course for climate smart, sustainable development.”
Forum Leaders from Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Nauru, New Zealand, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Vanuatu, Samoa and Tuvalu, and Ministers from the Federated States of Micronesia, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, and Solomon Islands addressed the high-level roundtable, setting out their national ambitions and Blue Pacific calls for urgent climate change action, and calling for ambitious action from international Dialogue Partners.
The Forum Chair welcomed recent announcements from Forum Dialogue Partners to achieve net zero by 2050, enhance their NDCs and double climate finance commitments. There are currently 18 Dialogue Partners to the Forum – Canada, People’s Republic of China, Cuba, European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States. The Dialogue Partners collectively emit 67 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions – their choices are key to the Pacific’s very survival.
Pacific Island Forum members have strived to set a global example, even though the Pacific region’s collective share of the global emissions footprint is only around 1.5 per cent. Forum members are progressing regional solutions including a 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and the Pacific Resilience Facility, which is heading towards a 2021 pledging conference with a goal of US1.5 billion.
Featuring in the opening formalities of the High-Level roundtable, UN Secretary General Guterres recalled that: “I will never forget my visit to the Pacific last year, seeing first-hand the heart-breaking impacts of climate change. Next year must be the year that we decide, through our actions, to bend the emissions curve to stay within the 1.5 degrees limit. You can count on me to push this agenda. I hope the rest of the world will stand with us with true ambition and vision.”
United Kingdom’s COP 26 President Designate, Right Honourable Alok Sharma welcomed the opportunity to keep the momentum building towards COP26 and affirmed the partnerships approach which Forum Leaders continue to highlight as a critical part of climate action.
The COP 26 President Designate said “Over the next twelve months I want to increase our understanding of all the issues that matter to you. And how they can be addressed. Including hearing your views on how best the Kainaki recommendations can be reflected in the outcome of COP26.”
“I am determined to amplify the voices of climate vulnerable countries. And put them at the heart of COP26. So that together, we unleash the full potential of the Paris Agreement and build a brighter and more sustainable future for us all.”
In closing, the President of Nauru Lionel Aingimea said: “As we reach the five-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement, our Blue Pacific has one critical message for the world: we need ambitious climate change action, now – not 5, 10 or 50 years into the future but immediately, if we are to secure our children’s future”. –ENDS
Read the ‘Kainaki II Declaration for Urgent Climate Change Action Now’