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.
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.”
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.