(Savali News) The Pacific Islands Forum’s position on climate change that will be presented to the United Nations General Assembly in New York this month, according to the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, serves as a reminder of the special vulnerabilities of the Pacific region.
The UN meeting will be held on September 25-27 in New York to formally adopt an ambitious new sustainable development agenda.
This momentous agenda will serve as the launch pad for action by the international community and by national governments to promote shared prosperity and well-being for the next 15 years.
The Prime Minister’s comments are in reference to the Forum Communique that came out of the PIF Leader’s meeting earlier this month, which declared that an increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius with the current average global temperature would severely exacerbate the particular challenges facing the most vulnerable smaller island states of the Pacific. The declaration urged that all efforts be made to stay within the global temperature goal, as noted by the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC in its decision of 1/CP20.
Samoa’s Prime Minister was talking about lobbying by some Pacific countries for a 1.5 degrees Celsius and the Cop 20 global temperature goal of 2 degrees.
“When we talk about temperature, that is the result of everything that we are doing to try and stop the rise in global temperature,” said the Prime Minister.
“Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have contributed to the increase of global temperature.
“That’s why there’s a strong urge to keep the temperature below 1.5 degrees but for many countries of the world it’s 2 degrees or less.
“So it’s a goal for countries to implement their initiatives like tree-planting, minimizing the use of diesel and fossil fuels which contributes to the increase in global temperature.
“Scientists are predicting that the global temperature could increase by 4 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 and that spells disaster for our coral reefs. It means the extinction of many different species and the killing off of our palolo,” said the Prime Minister.
Tuilaepa also acknowledges the importance and availability of financial assistance through climate change mitigation and resilience programmes for countries that adhere to these goals.
“These goals are aimed at preventing changes in climate which could result in natural disasters and cyclones that can damage developments and impact the lives of many people. These funds will be allocated to upgrade roads, rebuild dwellings and other buildings and reclaim beaches when they are damaged through the impacts of climate change.”
Tuilaepa said it was important to address the issues of climate change because the impacts can submerge low lying atolls.
“Coastal villages of Samoa will be submerged and that’s why there are initiatives being put forward, for consideration by the global community of countries, at the upcoming September meeting which I will be attending.”
The Prime Minister said it was important to adopt a global resolution to slow rising sea levels.
Pictured: Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi (seated, fourth from left) with Pacific leaders at the Pacific Islands Forum meeting hosted by Papua New Guinea from 7-11 September 2015.