Collective action ‘needed’

Employment Minister Jone Usamate. Picture: FT FILE

FIJI is appealing to its Pacific Island neighbours to join in a collective struggle to draw global attention to the importance of the fight against climate change. Employment Minister Jone Usamate said the future existence of three nations and critical impact to food security was at stake.

He made the comments while speaking at the Pacific Community’s (SPC) High-Level Gathering on Biodiversity and Climate Change in Noumea, New Caledonia, on Friday.

Mr Usamate urged the region to participate in the Climate Action Pacific Partnership (CAPP) conference in Suva in July to highlight the issue. “Not only the leaders of our PSIDS (Pacific Small Island Developing States) independent nations are welcome but also representatives from New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna and French Polynesia,” he said.

“And we are also inviting our larger neighbours, Australia and New Zealand, to take part in a collective expression of our solidarity and commitment to tackling the climate challenge head on and achieving the ambition for climate action that our region and the world so desperately needs.”

Mr Usamate said the CAPP conference in Suva would focus on action, including the achievements made in establishing a regional Pacific NDC (nationally determined contributions) Hub to help implement and enhance NDCs.

“We must accelerate our action before and after 2020 if we are to have any chance of meeting the 1.5 (degrees Celsius) target and achieving the necessary net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“That is the only way to save us here in the Pacific. If we don’t, three of our numbers — Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands — are doomed and the rest of us face the bleakest of futures.

“This includes more extreme weather events — including stronger cyclones — the loss of more coastal areas, and a terrible threat to our food security because of changes to agriculture on land and the loss of marine habitats at sea.”

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