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Climate change: Pacific islands require prompt action

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Friday, 06 September 2013

Climate change: Pacific islands require prompt action

The threat that climate change poses to Pacific Island nations shows that international action on the issue is overdue, European Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard said during the 44th Leaders Meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) held in Majuro, Marshall Islands between 3-6 September 2013.
African, Carribean, and Pacific (ACP) Secretary General H.E Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni told the region’s Heads of State and Governments that action against climate change was vital to the ACP’s survival and success. He also stated that the place to “assert its position” is at the 2014 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) conference in Samoa. This would enable the ACP to call for immediate action to “support the Pacific with respect to mitigation, adaptation and disaster risk reduction,” as hoped for by the ACP Secretary General.
Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga said the situation was "dire" and the Pacific needed immediate action, not vague promises to do something a few years down the track. "We need concrete action on the ground to save Tuvalu, Marshall Islands and Kiribati," he said.
Hedegaard expressed concern that some countries may try to delay the 2015 deadline - established at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Durban in 2011 - to adopt a universal legal agreement for the implementation of reductions in emissions and increase reliance on alternative energy sources.
She said Europe and the Pacific island nations could work together to push the international community to respect the deadline. "We have to make a joint pressure to say the world is already more than late (in addressing climate change)," she added. "2015 must be taken seriously."
The 15 PIF nations include islands states such as Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands, where many atolls are barely a metre (three feet) above sea level and risk being submerged by rising waters. The PIF is set to finalize a "Majuro Declaration" aiming at reviving global efforts to deal with climate change.
The ACP- European Union (EU) Building Safety and Resilience Programme in the Pacific demonstrated the European Union’s efforts in climate change and disaster risk reduction, which will need further support from the ACP of the Pacific in order to warrant sustainability of the results.

Source: Times Live; ACP Secretariat