Climate Action Statement by the Leaders of the Pacific Small Island Developing States

The incoming President of COP23, Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, aboard a drua – a Fijian ocean-going canoe – in Suva Harbour with the leaders of two of the most climate-vulnerable Pacific nations – President Taneti Maamau of Kiribati and Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga of Tuvalu. Fiji has offered to give permanent refuge to the people of Kiribati and Tuvalu in the event that their atoll nations are submerged by the rising sea waters caused by climate change”

The following is a statement issued through the COP23 Fiji Secretariat by the leaders of the Pacific Small Island Developing States who attended the Climate Action Pacific Partnership Event in Suva, Fiji on July 3-4, 2017.

1.0      The PSIDS Leaders convened during the Climate Action Partnership Event in Suva, reaffirm that Pacific Small Island Developing States are on the front line of climate change, and further reaffirmed our solemn obligation and responsibility to ensure that the international community takes immediate and decisive action to address the underlying causes of global climate change.

2.0      As a region, we are committed to ensure decisive action by all Parties through the Paris Agreement of 2015 and are deeply concerned that the United States Government has indicated its intention to withdraw from that agreement. We urge the United States Government to reconsider its decision and to work together to pursue the opportunities that urgent climate action provides.

3.0      As the G20 group of major economies gathers in Hamburg, Germany, later this week, we strongly urge its members to reaffirm their commitment to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement. This calls for concerted action to holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial level. These objectives require net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest.

4.0      The scientific understanding, and our daily experience, is that climate change is happening at a faster rate than was appreciated at the time of the Paris Agreement. We therefore believe that it is imperative for the world to focus on the more ambitious target in the Paris Agreement of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

5.0      We note the Suva Declaration in which Pacific leaders at a meeting in Suva, September 2015 called for warming to be limited to below 1.5 degrees Celsius. With the current warming of just over one degree already causing serious consequences, we reaffirm the importance of achieving the least possible warming.

6.0      As PSIDS leaders we considered a number of key issues but highlight the following as priorities:

  • Finalising the Paris Agreement Implementation Guidelines and completing the Facilitative Dialogue by the end of 2018;
  • Ensuring the Facilitative Dialogue effectively responds to the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees Celsius;
  • Mobilizing international investment to fund the implementation of Pacific SIDS Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement;
  • Achieving balanced climate finance investment between adaptation and mitigation initiatives;
  • Increasing public and private sector support for adaptation and mitigation actions beyond the US$100 billion;
  • Making the health of the world’s oceans and seas a greater part of the UNFCCC work program by building on the achievements of the recently held UN Ocean Conference to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, held in New York from 5 – 9 June 2017;
  • Establishing climate change as a core security issue by having the United Nations Secretary-General appoint a Special Representative on Climate Change and Security and calling for the UN Security Council to have climate change and security a permanent agenda item;
  • Call on all Parties to the Kyoto Protocol to urgently ratify the Doha Amendment;
  • Request that decisions on the Adaptation Fund serving the Paris Agreement be taken at COP 23;
  • Give consideration to a Pacific SIDS climate change insurance facility, taking into account other insurance mechanisms already in place.

7.0      The PSIDS leaders have agreed to a heightened level of engagement and co-operation over the coming months as Fiji’s Presidency of COP23 approaches.

Notes to editors: The Pacific Small Island Developing States membership includes Fiji, PNG, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. Palau was an apology at the Suva event, all others endorse this statement. Niue and Cook Islands as Parties to the Convention and Protocol also endorsed this statement as did Tokelau.

Leaders’ statements to the Climate Action Pacific Partnership event can be seen at by following the link below.

Climate Action Pacific Partnership Event

The inaugural Climate Action Pacific Partnership (CAPP) event was held on 3 and 4 July at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, Fiji. The event was organised in recognition of the need to support and strengthen the participation of Pacific Small Island Developing Sates (P-SIDS) in the global climate action agenda. The CAPP event brought together relevant stakeholders to promote the exchange of ideas, innovations, and solutions. It helped drive transformative outcomes and initiatives to boost climate action in the Pacific, and inspire urgently needed increases in ambition and action elsewhere. The CAPP event is part of a program of activities of the High Level Champions appointed under the Paris Agreement, hosted by Fiji’s High Level Champion, Minister Seruiratu. The agenda featured interactive sessions with contributions from Pacific leaders, civil society and the private sector.