Cli­mate Change Dif­fer­ences High­light Chal­lenges that Face Fo­rum in Fu­ture

Bain­i­marama says it is dis­ap­point­ing they failed to reach a con­sen­sus

Fiji Sun - - 50th Pacific Islands Forum - Ne­mani De­laibatiki Feed­back: ne­mani.de­[email protected]­jisun.com.fj

Cli­mate change dif­fer­ences that emerged at the end of the Pa­cific Is­lands Fo­rum meet­ing in Fu­na­futi high­lighted the chal­lenges the fo­rum faces mov­ing for­ward.

Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama said it was dis­ap­point­ing that they could not reach a con­sen­sus.

“Some of these dif­fer­ences in­evitably weaken the strength of our col­lec­tive po­si­tion on the cli­mate threat,” he said.

“While there has been a great deal of agree­ment in Fu­na­futi, it is clear that there are dif­fer­ences of opin­ion, em­pha­sis and ap­proach be­tween the is­land na­tions and New Zealand, on the one hand, and Aus­tralia on the other.

“But I will con­tinue to pos­i­tively en­gage with our Aus­tralian friends and try to per­suade them to make a more rapid tran­si­tion from coal to en­ergy sources that do not con­trib­ute to cli­mate change.

“I look for­ward to my first of­fi­cial visit to Aus­tralia next month and to see­ing, at first hand, some of the ad­vances Aus­tralia is mak­ing in its en­ergy trans­for­ma­tion and re­new­able en­ergy de­vel­op­ment.”

It is un­der­stood that Aus­tralia lob­bied hard to wa­ter down the fi­nal com­mu­niqué on cli­mate change.

It’s ob­vi­ous it had put its na­tional in­ter­est first be­cause of the im­por­tance of the coal in­dus­try to its econ­omy. It has tried to mit­i­gate that by giv­ing A$500 mil­lion to the re­gion for cli­mate change work.

This con­flict of in­ter­est poses the big chal­lenge that faces the Fo­rum mem­bers in the fu­ture. With Mr Bain­i­marama back in the fold, there is re­newed in­ter­est that the fo­rum will be a lot stronger now. Aus­tralia and New Zealand have been prom­i­nent in re­gional de­vel­op­ment as aid donors. And as such they ex­pect to have a pro­por­tion­ate say in the fo­rum. Mr Bain­i­marama had been of the view that the smaller is­land na­tions should de­ter­mine their own agenda, not dic­tated to by Aus­tralia and New Zealand. In the Pa­cific Is­lands

De­vel­op­ment Fo­rum the is­land na­tions lead, not Aus­tralia and New Zealand. In Fu­na­futi, New Zealand stood with the small is­land devel­op­ing states on cli­mate change.

Mr Bain­i­marama said Pa­cific Is­lan­ders and cli­mate-vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple the world over would wel­come “our col­lec­tive dec­la­ra­tions” on the ur­gent need for the world to step up its re­sponse to the cli­mate threat.

“There is no doubt that hold­ing our gath­er­ing in one of the Pa­cific atoll na­tions whose very ex­is­tence is threat­ened has fo­cussed the minds of our lead­ers on the scale of the dis­as­ter we face if the world fails to rise to this chal­lenge.

“Fiji wel­comes the com­mit­ment by all PIF mem­bers to cap global warm­ing at no more than 1.5 de­grees Cel­sius above that of the prein­dus­trial age. This was the cor­ner­stone of our Suva Dec­la­ra­tion five years ago that was sub­se­quently en­dorsed by the world’s sci­en­tists on the IPCC – the In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change.

“Fiji also wel­comes the com­mit­ment by all mem­bers to take what­ever steps they de­ter­mine nec­es­sary to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions and achieve net zero emis­sions by 2050, which is the only way to re­main within the 1.5 de­gree thresh­old.

“As we have made clear, 1.5 is non-ne­go­tiable for Pa­cific Is­land coun­tries. And we will re­sist all at­tempts to de­rail it in global fo­rums. “In the Kainaki II Dec­la­ra­tion, we now have a call to ac­tion from the Pa­cific that we will take to the United Na­tions Sec­re­tary Gen­eral’s Cli­mate Ac­tion Sum­mit in New York next month and COP25 in San­ti­ago, Chile, in De­cem­ber.”

Small is­land devel­op­ing states will con­tinue to play to the tune of Aus­tralia and New Zealand be­cause the two de­vel­op­ment part­ners wave the big bucks. That’s the re­al­ity.

There is no doubt that hold­ing our gath­er­ing in one of the Pa­cific atoll na­tions whose very ex­is­tence is threat­ened has fo­cussed the minds of our lead­ers on the scale of the dis­as­ter we face if the world fails to rise to this chal­lenge. Voreqe Bain­i­marama Prime Min­is­ter

Photo: Ilai­jia Ravuwai

Solomon Is­lands Prime Min­is­ter Manasseh So­go­vare and Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama at the 50th Pa­cific Is­lands Fo­rum meet­ing in Fu­na­futi, Tu­valu.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Fiji

© PressReader. All rights reserved.