A massive challenge

PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama took a swipe at G20 leaders on Monday in Suva, saying nations affected by the climate crisis expect them to stick to the Paris Agreement.

As they prepare to meet in Hamburg later this week, leaders of the G20 were urged by the incoming COP23 president not to abandon the Pacific.

In a strong message, Mr Bainimarama said, “To the leaders of the G20: We have not caused this crisis, your nations have. As our opening prayer this morning put it, we have trodden lightly on the Earth whereas you have trodden heavily. And those carbon footprints pose a threat to us in the Pacific and to all humanity.”

He focused on getting a message that he hoped would attract attention.

Mr Bainimarama took the opportunity, while opening the Climate Action Pacific Partnership event on Monday, to respond to critics of his heavy international engagements linked to climate change.

As Pacific Islanders, we are fighting for our very survival, he said, for all we hold dear.

The Climate Action Pacific Partnership Event is part of the program of activities of the High Level Champions appointed under the Paris Agreement.

The PM’s comments may raise differing lines of thought though on what must be done to raise issues that concern island countries.

Considering the platforms island countries have before them to voice their concerns, it was clear that participating nations valued the opportunity to drive through their message.

Climate change clearly is stirring up emotions among nations in our region.

It is how we get our message across to the giant nations of our world that will determine how effective we can be. It goes without saying that a united voice will carry weight.

Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga insisted that relocating to another country is not the answer to climate change.

Arrogance, he said, is one of the key contributors to the drastic impact of climate change with the Pacific Islands paying the price.

First-world countries, he said, were not concerned about the most vulnerable in society.

New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett said something interesting on Monday. Technology is not always the answer sometimes, she said, it could be a matter of how you live with the environment and how you protect it. That is certainly something to think about.

By yesterday though, there was agreement that climate action in the Pacific needs to be accelerated.

Pacific leaders reached that at the end of the two-day conference.

There was a commitment for immediate and decisive action to tackle the climate crisis.

How we aid the fight to ensure a just and sustainable future for all humankind is a massive challenge.

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