This week members of the Pacific Islands Forum will join the global community in Poland for COP24, a meeting of the United Nations aimed at tackling the issue of climate change.
In the region’s new security declaration (the Boe Declaration), Forum Leaders recently reaffirmed that climate change presents the single greatest threat to the livelihood, security and wellbeing of Pacific people. This builds on over two decades of declarations and advocacy that has sought to draw attention to the existential threat that the region faces from the effects of climate change and disaster risk.
It is already impacting the lives of Pacific people and a warming world will make things worse. A special report from the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change said recently that we are currently on track for the Earth’s surface temperature to reach at least 3 degrees centigrade hotter than pre-industrial levels this century. In the Paris Agreement, countries agreed to work to limit temperature rise to well below 2 degrees centigrade. Forecasts show that anything above 1.5 degrees will mean devastating impacts for Pacific countries.
Global action and higher ambition is needed now to meet these goals. The region’s focus at COP24 will be to conclude the Paris Agreement Work Programme. It will provide the world with a transparent set of rules that will slow the effects of human induced climate change and make all Parties, especially the largest polluters, accountable for their promises and actions. The other high level priority for the region is to ensure the Talanoa Dialogue, is embedded into the COP process. This will support the stocktake of global climate ambition to take place in 2023.
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat joins other regional agencies to support Pacific countries. The team is led by Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor. The Secretariat’s focus are the negotiations on Climate Finance. The Pacific wants to see simplified and scaled up access to climate finance. This will be used to fund initiatives that will help countries adapt and mitigate to climate change impacts. Further commitment from developed countries to deliver on the Paris Agreement global climate finance target of US$100 billion by the year 2020 is also being pursued. The Kyoto Protocol’s Adaptation Fund to serve the Paris Agreement will also be a key feature.
It will be a challenging fortnight, but the region will be working together to try and ensure a safe, secure and healthy future for the Blue Pacific continent and for the Blue Planet.