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Smaller Island States leaders issue climate change declaration for the survival of Pacific Small Island Developing States

By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in Funafuti

In an attempt to push through a strong declaration on climate change that reflects the deep concerns and survival of Small Island nations of the Pacific, Tuvalu has helped produce a strong climate change statement that has been endorsed by the Smaller Island States (SIS) group of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga declared the statement was a climate change position of Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS).

PSIDS exists in New York as an advocacy group in the global climate change negotiations, linked to the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS). Fiji’s Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama is the chair of the group that excludes Australia and New Zealand.

PACNEWS has been reliably informed that a draft Pacific Islands Forum declaration on climate change has already been prepared for consideration by Leaders this week.

Prime Minister Sopoaga told journalists SIS leaders will not give in to outside pressures - and noticeably the PSIDS declaration is a strong expression from these vulnerable nations comprised of Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau and Tuvalu.

Smaller Island State (SIS) leaders endorsed the declaration, which was the outcome from the Sautalaga dialogue Monday. The declaration contains key negotiating positions of PSIDS at global climate negotiations.

“We note with alarm that current global efforts to combat climate change are insufficient to secure the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit, unless urgent action is taken, said the Declaration.

It called on world leaders to acknowledge that the Pacific is already facing a climate change crisis.

Targetting Australia, one of the members of the Pacific Islands Forum, leaders of Smaller island States reaffirmed a call by the Secretary General of the United Nations for an immediate global ban on the construction of new coal fired power plants and coal mines – asking for a rapid phase out of the use of coal in the power sector.

The declaration calls for litigation as a possible recourse option to save Pacific nations from climate change loss and damage.

“We are already suffering loss and damage from the impacts of climate change and we have crossed a threshold with respect to dangerous interference with the climate system, threatening the existence of current and future generation, said the PSIDS declaration.

Prime Minister Sopoaga said SIS countries decided to step-up and call for radical action because ‘we see that there is no concerted effort from our region’s leadership to push our agenda and that is why we are asking for global action. 

“As I’ve said earlier, the time for ambition is over and it’s now time to push for action.

“We will not get slapped or pushed around. We must guard our sovereign rights and our strength as a group to call for action, said Tuvalu Prime Minister.

The Tuvalu Declaration on climate change for the survival of PSIDS is expected to be included in the final communique.


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