Photo credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe - Photo: 2019

Pacific Islands Forum Issues Strongest-Ever Statement on Climate, Cites Security Threat

By Delia Paul, IISD

FUNAFUTI, Tuvalu (IDN) – Pacific leaders sounded an urgent call to world leaders to maintain security in the Pacific region by seeking to limit global warming to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels and meeting their global climate finance commitment of USD 100 billion per year by 2020.

The ‘Kainaki II Declaration,’ a document accompanying the formal communiqué from the meeting, puts forward a range of actions whereby the international community can step up actions to mitigate climate change and increase support for Pacific-led initiatives on resilience.

The Forum Communiqué and the ‘Kainaki II Declaration for Urgent Climate Change Action Now’ were released after the close of the 50th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), which ran from 13-16 August 2019 in Funafuti, Tuvalu.

In the Forum Communiqué, leaders, inter alia: endorse the development of a 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent; outline priorities for “securing our future in the Pacific,” including through enhanced climate change and disaster resilience; and endorse Blue Pacific Principles for collective PIF Dialogue and Engagement such as a partnership approach and existing mechanism utilization.

The Kainaki II Declaration is the strongest collective statement the Forum has issued on climate change.

In the Kainaki II Declaration, Pacific leaders call on the international community to keep commitments made under the UNFCCC, namely, to replenish the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and complete work needed to enable the Adaptation Fund to serve the Paris Agreement on climate change – actions that would also fulfill SDG targets 13.a and 13.b on means of implementation for climate action.

The Declaration also calls for increasing support and assistance for Pacific-led science-based initiatives, including support for modelling and risk mapping, and further requests members of the Group of 7 (G7) and the Group of 20 (G20) to rapidly implement their commitment to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

Other proposals contained in the Declaration include: developing a work programme on oceans within the UNFCCC process; convening a workshop on the climate-ocean nexus in 2020; and creating two UN high-level posts – a special adviser on climate change and security appointed by the UN Secretary-General, and a special rapporteur who will review global, regional, and national security threats from climate change, appointed by the UN Security Council.

In the Declaration, Pacific leaders also highlight the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit, the SAMOA Pathway Review, and 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) to the UNFCCC as “global turning points to ensure meaningful, measurable and effective climate change action.”

PIF Secretary General Meg Taylor said that the Declaration is the “strongest collective statement” the Forum has ever issued on climate change. She acknowledged that discussions at the Forum had been difficult but “absolutely necessary” in view of the need to secure the future of the region.

In high-level meetings ahead of the Forum, Pacific economic ministers endorsed a proposal to set up a Pacific Resilience Facility that will act as a “financing platform” to direct funds to support disaster preparedness in the region. Besides addressing the harmful impacts of climate change, leaders also noted the need to consider other risks, including those posed by medical, chemical and electronic waste. [IDN-InDepthNews – 21 August 2019]

Related Links:

50th PIF Communiqué and Kainaki II Declaration for Urgent Climate Change Action Now PIFS Press Release on Ministerial Meetings Ahead of the Forum

50th PIF Meeting Webpage] [PIFS Website]

Related events

50th Meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum

Climate Action Summit 2019

High-level Review of Progress on SAMOA Pathway

Santiago Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 25)

Photo credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

This report is part of a joint project of the Secretariat of the ACP Group of States and IDN, flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate. — —

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