The Pacific Islands States who believe that the Ocean plays an integral part in the climate system say that the Blue Pacific Continent they have stewardship of cannot afford the risks of exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
These sentiments have been shared time and again by Pacific Islands representatives at COP 24 and those who have presented in a myriad of side events at the Pacific and Koronivia Pavilion in Katowice, Poland.
Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi said “The recent IPCC 1.5 degrees Special Report shows that a 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming is not just a limit for Small Islands Developing States, but it is a limit for everyone.”
"From extreme weather events to sea level rise, from slowed economic growth to biodiversity loss, the report speaks to the risks of exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius. For our Blue Pacific continent, it is a risk we cannot afford," he emphasized.
By Honourable Henry Puna, Prime Minster of the Cook Islands - A key priority for my fellow Pacific Leaders and negotiators currently attending the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24), is accessing climate finance, across all finance mechanisms of the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement.
The Cook Islands is a country comprising of 15 islands in the heart of the South Pacific. Under a variety of potential climate change scenarios, each one of these islands are at great risk due to sea level rise, extreme rainfall events, storm surges, strong winds or extreme high air temperatures. This disturbing reality is shared by most of the ten million Pacific islanders who inhabit the oceanic continent we call the Blue Pacific.
As our people work to adapt their communities to deal with the effects of a changing climate, our countries must again call for the scaling up of climate related financing. Our small economies simply cannot afford these efforts on their own. We seek committed and reliable partners who can help us continue with our mitigation strategies and our adaptation needs.
In 2014, Forum Leaders endorsed a Pacific Vision that supported and promoted peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity, so that all Pacific people can lead free and healthy lives. The Framework for Pacific Regionalism represents the Forum Leaders’ political commitment to regionalism as a means to achieving this vision. Four principle objectives underpin this commitment: sustainable development, economic growth, strengthened governance systems and institutions, and security for all.
In 2017, Forum Leaders endorsed The Blue Pacific as the core driver of collective action for advancing the Leaders’ Pacific Vision. This narrative reaffirms the shared ownership of the Pacific Ocean and the connection of all Pacific peoples with their natural resources, environment and livelihoods and aims to harness their shared ocean identity, geography and resources to drive positive socio-cultural, political and economic development.
Pacific Islands Forum Leaders have emphasised the need for action on climate change saying it is the single greatest threat to the livelihood, security and well-being of Pacific people.
The point was made often as Forum Leaders and Ministers addressed the the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in September.
Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said “The Pacific region is already facing the destructive impacts of climate change and disasters. Cyclones, floods, droughts. Sea level rise and ocean acidification are taking their toll on the health and well-being of our peoples, environment and economies. Disaster related economic losses in Pacific island countries as a percentage of GDP are higher than almost anywhere else in the world.”
“Our people are waiting, the world is watching. It is incumbent on each individual leader and country to raise the level of ambition not just as an inspirational goal, but as deliverables of the Paris Agreement. For the Pacific peoples and our Blue Pacific region, urgent ambitious action on climate change is the only option.”
The need for urgent collective action to sustainably manage, use and conserve the Blue Pacific oceanic continent and its resources was a recurring theme raised by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders both at the Pacific Islands Forum .....Read more.
Pacific Islands Forum Leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to collective action for a strong Blue Pacific region that is secure, peaceful, and prosperous, enabling its people to live free, healthy and productive lives.
The 2018 Forum Leaders Communique, released following the Forum Leaders Retreat in Nauru, commits the Forum to working for sustainable development in the region on its own terms and in ways that recognise its rich culture, national circumstances, and oceanic resources.
Ekamowir omo! The people of Nauru welcome all to the 49th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting.
Some know Nauru as the smallest island nation in the world, but we have never felt this way because we are a large ocean state and a member of a much bigger family, the Pacific Islands Forum. Together, we are one ‘blue continent’ covering more than 35million square kilometers of oceanscape.
The fish that thrive in our waters are of great importance to Pacific Island countries. Shared stewardship of the Pacific Ocean and maintaining regional solidarity as one “Blue Continent” will ensure this resource continues to make a significant contribution to the sustainable development of our people.