Voices of the Pacific region addressed the High Level Segment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP23 in Bonn Germany, reiterating their call for urgent and ambitious action from the global community to address the effects of a changing climate on their people and their countries.
“We have gone past the stage of debates – what we all agreed in Paris in 2015, is what this global family demonstrated in their various important commitments. Sadly though, we continue to experience and witness the detrimental impacts of climate change, and we cannot afford any longer to wait – Actions with impact is a critical task of COP23,” said H.E President Taneti Maamau of Kiribati.
“We all know that climate change is not only about science, but more importantly, it is about the people, in terms of their social values, ethics and morals. In His inspiring message, His Holiness, Pope Francis reminded Pacific Leaders, and us all, of our shared responsibility, to take good care of Mother earth, to keep her safe, and to make sure that we leave behind the same kind of shared home, or even a better one, for our children and those who come after us.”
H.E President Tommy Remengesau of Palau highlighted the leadership role Pacific Island nations are playing in progressing the intent of the Paris Agreement saying, “Palau is under no illusions about the impact one small island nation can have on the planet. But we have nonetheless chosen to lead by example. Our small size – often a disadvantage in the global economy – makes us nimble enough to embrace new solutions. Modest resources can have a transformational impact. Indeed, small islands can be the incubators of new ideas and new approaches.”
“Big ideas can come from small places. Palau is doing all it can to demonstrate that our internationally agreed goals do in fact mean something, and are the guiding star as we navigate toward a sustainable future. We are ready to show the world that a better future is possible,” said President Remengesau.
Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor recognised the connection between climate change and oceans saying, “This COP is not in a vacuum, in June at the inaugural UN Ocean Conference, the need to improve our understanding and action on the nexus between climate and ocean was agreed. We strongly support using the IPCC Special Report on Oceans to assist discussions here and in other fora.”
The Secretary General also identified access to finance for Pacific nations as a priority saying, “loss and damage is a top priority for the Pacific and while we welcome progress, we strongly believe that more is required. We need dedicated financing for loss and damage. Building resilience is necessary as development gains that have taken decades to build can be wiped away in a matter of hours by extreme weather and climate events that are becoming more intense and frequent.”
Simplified access to climate finance is essential for countries to implement their NDCs and their adaptation priorities. This COP must deliver a decision that the ‘Adaptation Fund shall serve the Paris Agreement’.
I urge you to action – to help our peoples and place, by concluding the negotiations at this COP and, by adopting an outcome that turns the Paris Agreement into a living instrument of higher ambition. Pacific lives, Pacific cultures, Pacific futures matter.”
The COP23 concludes on 17th November following two weeks of negotiations.