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.
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.