Pacific alliance demands action on climate crisis

A climate change Pacific alliance organisation has called on leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum (P.I.F.) to take immediate action on the issue of climate crisis.

This was conveyed in a statement issued by the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (P.I.C.A.N.). 

P.I.C.A.N. is a regional alliance of non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations (CSO’s), social movements and not-for-profit organisations from the Pacific islands region working on various aspects of climate change, disaster risk and response and sustainable development.

According to the statement, the call for immediate action by P.I.C.A.N comes under the agreed 2020 theme of One Blue Pacific – investing in a shared climate resilient future founded on human dignity and wellbeing.

The Solomon Islands Climate Action Network (S.I.C.A.N.) Coordinator, Gareth Quity said that the loss of 28 human lives to Tropical Cyclone Harold in Solomon Islands, should not be taken lightly by our Pacific and World Leaders on the need for collective and drastic actions on climate change. 

“If we are to compare COVID-19 and Climate Change, they are equally the two biggest threats in world history right now,” he said.

Mr. Quity added that it is a matter of time before we can find a cure for COVID-19, but as for climate change, it will remain an extensive threat in the decades to come.

“Until we all fight together to find solutions, our future generation, our traditions and cultures, our economy, our health, our infrastructure, our food security, human rights, and the islands we live in will be in great danger.” 

The P.I.C.A.N. Coordinator, Genevieve Jiva stated that “critically, all resolutions we demand are firmly grounded in science and that will set the Pacific on a pathway towards a resilient future, characterised by environmental and human wellbeing.” 

She added that these Pacific demands not only reinforce what is necessary for a sustainable future but also the changes needed to ensure a just recovery from COVID19.

P.I.C.A.N. is the Pacific regional node of the Climate Action Network International – the largest civil society climate change network in the world with 1,100 members in 120 countries.

The regional alliance network stated that as a civil society organisation serving the most basic needs of Pacific Island people, often reaching to the most remote, vulnerable and marginalised communities in the region, P.I.C.A.N. has called on Pacific Island Leaders during the P.I.F.S. 2020 Virtual Regional Civil Society Forum to take strong, decisive, ambitious, transformational and unified positions on the climate crisis.

“P.I.C.A.N. emphasises that these positions must ensure action-outcomes that are time-bound, measurable and reflect the severity of the human-rights, economic and livelihood consequences of the climate crisis for the people of the Pacific and those around the world,” read the statement.

It also added that comprising of 139 member organisations from across the Blue Pacific, P.I.C.A.N. demands that P.I.F. climate resolutions go much further in 2020 than they have in the past, regardless of the ongoing and salient failures of several Forum members regarding climate inaction. 

The Pacific civil society organisations demand action to address the climate crisis through justice and equity for current and future generations.

P.I.C.A.N. says that P.I.F. leaders must decide ambitious action on: a just recovery from COVID-19; Climate Finance; International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on Climate Change and Human Rights; Mitigation; Loss & Damage; Gender & Human Rights; Pacific Youth; and Food Security.

The Pacific Island Students Fighting Climate Change (P.I.S.F.C.C.) Campaign Director, Solomon Yeo said that once again, “our Pacific leaders have the opportunity to seek justice from the World’s Highest Court, the International Court of Justice (I.C.J.), on the greatest problem of the day.”

“We youth honor our foremothers and fathers who stood before the I.C.J. to fight for the survival of humanity against the threat of nuclear weapons.

“We urgently call upon our leaders to join us to journey once again to the I.C.J. to seek justice for our future and the future of our children in this climate crisis.” 

In addition, Pacific civil society organisations demand action at the 26th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (C.O.P. 26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (U.N.F.C.C.C.), which has been deferred to November 2021.

Pacific leaders must ensure outcomes of C.O.P.26 reflect the highest levels of ambition to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Furthermore, P.I.F. Leaders must decide that the U.N.F.C.C.C. Financial Mechanism must channel more funds to developing country Parties for climate action.

Dr. Christopher Bartlett from Vanuatu Santo Sunset Environment Network said that the horrific loss and damage right now being suffered by Vanuatu's indigenous communities in the wake of category 5 Cyclone Harold cannot be sidelined as less urgent than COVID19.

“Climate change continues to exacerbate and compound threats to health, security, wellbeing and human rights, and requires exponentially more action and support from Pacific and global Leaders.”

P.I.C.A.N. adds that Pacific nations will strive to be unified as a block during multilateral environmental negotiations, including at the U.N.F.C.C.C. to achieve more ambitious outcomes.

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