REMARKS: We cannot wait for the next COP to see action– SG Puna to COP27 Plenary

COP 27 High Level Segment-resumed plenary
Wednesday 16th November, 2022

Statement by Mr. Henry Puna
Secretary General – Pacific Islands Forum

Ladies and Gentlemen,

• I am from the Pacific, a region at the forefront of the impacts of climate change.

• A region where the climate crisis is our daily reality.

• A region whose preservation can also signal the survival of this planet as we know it now.

• For us, ‘Urgent and immediate action’ is not just a rallying cry.

• It is a statement linked to our very survival.

• To this end, I am disappointed that interest groups are hampering the process of transition to clean and renewable energy, using global events as a pretext for lack of change.

• We are losing precious time. We cannot afford to delay, while our people in the Pacific battle increasingly severe climate change impacts.

• We have all heard the science. We have all heard your commitments. Now we need to see your action:

o Scale-up ambitious actions to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

o Make good on your commitment on 100 billion dollars in climate finance.

o On Loss and Damage, we cannot wait for the next COP to see action. We are experiencing loss and damage now, and delaying tactics are not acceptable, as they push the Pacific further to climate catastrophe.

• For us, this is not rhetoric or political fanfare.

• This is about the survival of our future generations.

• You have heard our story.

• You have seen our climate reality.

• And we in turn, recognize that the impacts of climate change are also a global reality.

• Recent unprecedented mega-storms in Alaska; Super Typhoons in the Philippines; Flooding in Pakistan and Australia; extended droughts in the Horn of Africa; destructive and more regular storms on the east coast of the USA; and extended La Nina in the Pacific–all serve to remind us that climate change is global, and it requires global responses from individuals, communities, corporations, and countries alike.

• I stand with Pacific Leaders and reaffirm their call for more ambitious climate change action.

• I implore all leaders, all countries – especially the big emitters – work with us to ensure a sustainable future for all our people.

• At the end of the day, we are not here for ourselves.

• We are here to secure the future for our generations, your generations, and all of our generations to come.

• I thank you