Tag Archives: Pacific Island nations

Paris climate change pact ‘not enough to save us’, warns Fiji PM

By Nasik Swami in Suva

Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama closing UN Oceans Conference… “Paris Agreement not enough to save us”. Image: The Ocean Conference

Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama closing UN Oceans Conference… “Paris Agreement not enough to save us”. Image: The Ocean Conference

Current national contributions by countries to the Paris Agreement on climate change are not enough to save the Pacific, says Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

“We have to try to persuade the rest of the world to embrace even more ambitious action in the years to come, because we all know that even the current national contributions to the Paris Agreement are not enough to save us,”

he said, addressing Pacific leaders as the UN Oceans Conference came to a close in New York last week.

As the incoming president of COP23, Bainimarama called on the Pacific and its leaders to stand by him and demand decisive action, as climate change was an issue of critical importance to the region’s collective future.

“I want your input. I need your input. And I want every Pacific leader beside me as we demand decisive action to protect the security of our people and those in other vulnerable parts of the world.”

Bainimarama also outlined his worry that America’s decision to abandon the Paris Agreement may also encourage other nations to either back away from the commitments they have made or not implement them with the same resolve.

“We are all, quite naturally, bitterly disappointed by the decision of the Trump Administration to abandon the Paris Agreement,” he said.

“Not only because of the loss of American leadership on this issue of critical importance to the whole world, but because it may also encourage other nations to either back away from the commitments they have made or not implement them with the same resolve.

“But something wonderful is also happening. The American decision is galvanising opinion around the world in support of decisive climate action.

‘Widespread rebellion’
“Other nations and blocs like China, the European Union and India are stepping forward to assume the leadership that Donald Trump has abandoned. And within America itself, there is a widespread rebellion against the decision the President has taken.”

Bainimarama said dozens of American state governors and city mayors were banding together with leaders of the private sector, civil society and ordinary citizens to redouble their efforts to meet this challenge.

“So while the Trump Administration may have abandoned its leadership on climate change, the American people haven’t.

“Next week, I will go to California to meet the Democrat Governor Jerry Brown and sign up to the climate action initiative that he is spearheading. I am also in contact with his Republican predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who shares Governor Brown’s commitment.

“The point is that on both sides of American politics, we have friends who are standing with us in this struggle. And I am inviting both Governor Brown and the famous ‘Terminator’ to come to our pre-COP gathering in Fiji in October, where we hope they will join us in a gesture of solidarity with the vulnerable just before COP23 itself in Bonn the following month.”

The Paris Agreement, which Fiji has ratified, sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

Nasik Swami is a reporter with The Fiji Times

Paris climate change pact ‘not enough to save us’, warns Fiji PM was originally published on PAPUAPost.com

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West Papua diplomatic cause advances in Brussels

A coalition of Pacific Island nations has called on the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of states to back West Papuan self-determination.

Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau and the Marshall Islands gave a joint statement at the group’s Council of Ministers in Brussels.

Johnny Blades has been following developments.

 

Transcript

JOHNNY BLADES: In Brussels the other day, this  African, Caribbean and Pacific bloc heard from a Vanuatu government MP who was representing this Pacific coalition of seven countries which also is a network of NGO, civil society and church groups as well, who are saying that the world community has to act now on human rights abuses in Papua, but specifically to push Indonesia to have a legitimate self-determination process for the West Papuans, because questions about the legitimacy of the self-determination process by which Papua was incorporated into Indonesia back in the 1960s, questions over that are really gaining momentum at the moment. This follows on from the Coalition’s two recent representations at the UN level on Papua: that is, last September at the UN General Assembly, and then in March at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

BEN ROBINSON-DRAWBRIDGE: So how did the other countries in this group react to this call from their Pacific members?

JB: The Caribbean and African countries were signalling strong support for this, to have a resolution urging a proper self-determination process for the Papuans. But the Papua New Guinea ambassador at the meeting in Brussels spoke out against it. He actually said that the group shouldn;t push too hard at this. He suggested that a fact-finding mission to Papua is necessary for the African, Caribbean and Pacific group to conduct first in order to get a clearer picture of the situation. Remember PNG of course is right next door to West Papua and its proximity to this huge Asian country is a point of great sensitivity.

BRD: Have other Pacific groups like the Melanesian Spearhead Group or even the Pacific Forum, have they made similar representations on West Papua?

JB: They have attempted to, really. This issue has been brought up at both of those bodies many years ago, and particularly for the Melanesian Spearhead Group it was a huge issue because Melanesians in these countries feel strongly about West Papuan self-determination. It’s just that their leadership have not been able to find a unified position on it. And for instance since Indonesia has come in to the MSG as an observer and now an associate member, this issue has not advanced. So they haven’t been able to take it up at UN or ACP levels. And it’s much the same with the Forum: there’s not a unified stance on it. So the group of seven Pacific countries here who took up the issue in Brussels have really just thought ‘we’ll go ahead and do what we have to on our own’ because the Forum and the MSG, they seem to be saying, have failed on the West Papua issue.

BRD: Do any of the other countries in this (ACP) group, do they have significant political clout to be able to make a difference on this issue?

JB: They aren’t powerhouses on the world stage, most of these countries. But I think if there was to be this bloc of 79 countries suddenly taking it up at the UN General Assembly, that is significant in itself, and it would really add to the international pressure on Jakarta to maybe look for a new kind of solution to this simmering discontent in Papua.

West Papua diplomatic cause advances in Brussels was originally published on PAPUAPost.com