Time to deliver, Niue Premier tells COP28

By SPREP 04 December 2023, 1:00PM

As world leaders gather in Dubai for the latest round of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP28) in Dubai, UAE, people in the Pacific nation of Niue are living in fear.  

As the Festive Season approaches, they are bracing for the cyclone season. They vividly remember how Cyclone Heta with maximum sustained winds of more than 240km/h, and gusts of up to 300 km/h, completely flattened homes, wreaked havoc on properties, leaving destruction and suffering in its wake.

“My people are living in fear of another catastrophic cyclone,” Niue’s Premier, Dalton Emani Makamau Tagelagi said. “Residents at low-lying coastal areas have slowly moved to higher ground to avoid detrimental impacts from damaging heavy swells.”

And with global temperatures soaring and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reaching unprecedented levels, small and vulnerable countries like Niue will continue to suffer and bear the brunt of more severe cyclones.

It is for this reason Premier Tagelagi and his delegation from Niue have travelled so far to be in the middle of a desert in the United Arab Emirates, where they continue to amplify the One Pacific Voice for climate action needed to steer the world away from a climate catastrophe.

Speaking to world leaders at the High-Level plenary of the World Climate Action Summit at COP28, Premier Tagelagi reminded that Niue is a net sink and has no responsibility for the causes of climate change.

“It’s a defining moment for this COP28 to deliver what was promised to us the 100 billion annually,” he said, calling on world leaders to stand in truth and solidarity to fight for the 1.5 degrees to stay alive.

“We need the support of all countries and individuals present here at COP28 Dubai to unite in solidarity with the people of Niue in their efforts to address the impacts of climate change and to safeguard a more stable future for Niue and the Pacific region.

“We are not quite adapted as yet, and we need resources, financials and tools to ensure early warning, disaster preparedness and climate resilience for Niue. We call to expedite now, access and release of climate finance. The delivery mechanism must reflect the vulnerability of our islands.  I applaud those who have made pledges. Pledges must be materialised today not tomorrow.”

Niue is also proactively seeking solutions, world leaders were told, demonstrating climate change leadership

“Niue has been brave and innovative as we have created our own sustainable financing mechanism. Our first Public Private Trust, the Niue Ocean Wide Trust, and a world first innovative financing instrument, called Ocean Conservation Commitments (OCC). This recognises the value of our ocean space under strict protection, as a global contribution to planet stability as well as a means to build resilience and a sustainable blue economy for our people,” Premier Tagelagi said.

“An OCC represents a partnership between us, and others willing to co-sponsor 1 square kilometer of ocean in our large scale marine protected area for a period of 20 years. This will help us mobilize sufficient predictable resources to invest in a sustainable way to achieve outcomes in climate action, biodiversity protection, SDGs, and security and at the same time will deliver invaluable climate outcomes for our region and the rest of the world.”

Premier Tagelagi added that this is an example of a non-market mechanism which developed countries should support.

“Niue's contribution holds immense global significance in terms of supporting the long-term stability of our planet and its oceans. Without adequate mitigation, we will not be able to adapt. The Global Stocktake ensures our survival and our emissions pathways and targets for the future,” he said.

“Niue's National Strategic Plan aims to create a sustainable future that meets economic and social needs while preserving the environment, social stability, and Niuean culture. We embrace the climate traditional knowledge practices that have also supported climate change adaptation.

“Together, we can create a more profound understanding and foster collective action towards climate resilience.”

The 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP28) in Dubai, UAE is taking place from Thursday 30 November 2023 – Tuesday 12 December 2023.

It is being attended by Pacific leaders and their delegations, who are advocating for the survival of Pacific communities who continue to be at the forefront of climate change impacts.

A key part of amplifying the One Pacific Voice at COP28 is the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion, which is a Pacific partnership with Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia.

Another key part of the Pacific’s work at COP28 is the Pacific Delegation Office, which is a partnership with Aotearoa New Zealand. Both the Moana Pacific Pavilion and the Pacific Delegation Office are managed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

By SPREP 04 December 2023, 1:00PM
Samoa Observer

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