The world knows the new U.S President, Donald J. Trump is on a mission.
Having taken his oath as the 45th President of the United States of America last weekend, Trump’s goals and aspirations are astronomically different to those of his predecessor, Barack Obama.
When it comes to the issue of climate change, the contrasting views of the two cannot be more obvious.
From the start of Trump’s campaign for presidency, he has been an adamant climate change denier and has appointed like minded individuals to the highest positions in state departments.
With one of the most powerful countries in the world setting up to undue decades of work towards a cleaner future, it has many small island developing states (S.I.D.S) worried.
The question is what will happen to all the efforts from small countries to raise awareness among the world’s biggest nations about their plight.
During an interview with the Samoa Observer, UN Women’s Country Programme Director, Suisala Mele Maualaivao, weighed in on the murky issue of climate change and Trump’s attitude.
“Climate change is going to affect every S.I.D.S in the world,” she said.
“Whether or not you believe his behavior towards women are inappropriate, if you live on a small island, you will be affected by climate change.”
“He does not believe climate change is happening.”
Suisala said this is one of the reasons so many people around the world are marching against Trump.
“You can see why so many people participate in this march.”
“He was offending so many people for different reasons, and one thing that they can all unify themselves with is, it starts with how you treat women. If you can’t treat other members of community with respect, how can you treat your planet with respect?”
Suisala believes it is imperative now more than ever for leaders and constituents of Pacific Island nations to take a close account of the political movements of the superpowers of the world, as their actions will affect us all.
“I think we have to pay very close attention,” she said.
“There’s no doubt that before President Obama left office, he signed a $500 millions toward the Fund for Green Climate. That’s that huge fund we received $58 million dollars for last year.”
“If President Trump turns around and says, “We don’t want to fund this,” that takes a huge funding potential away from our region.
“Not to mention what U.S. gov’t would want to do directly to the region.”
“As opposed to collectively with other countries putting it into a fund. Not to mention, if they don’t believe in climate change, it’s one thing not to provide funding but it also means that it may be encouraging activist that are detrimental to our environment and increasing it.”
“Things that we have no control over because its happening in the States, its happening elsewhere and they are not trying to mitigate it or decrease it because there’s a government in power that doesn’t believe climate change is happening.”
One of the biggest questions is: Will Trump follow through on his campaign promise to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement?
“I don’t know except for there will definitely be gaps in terms of funding,” said Suisala.
“There will be gaps in terms of international policy support and gaps in terms of ways forward and choosing reasonable ways forward in order to decrease temperature levels and ways to mitigate climate change and temperatures increasing. That’s something that we don’t know if other countries will try to step in and help if America steps out.”
Therefore, it is imperative more now than ever that S.I.D.S unify to elevate their voice rather then represent as individual island nations.
“There’s no doubt about it that we collectively, as a region, have more influence and voting power at the UN then individual tiny states.”