Climate activists gather in Fiji ahead of Pacific Islands Forum

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Young Pacific Islanders and environmental activists gathered in Fiji to amplify calls for action to implement the Paris Agreement to limit global warming, ahead of next week’s Pacific Islands Forum.

Aboard a flotilla, activists from Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change, Greenpeace Australia Pacific and Amnesty International Australia said they were calling on nations to support a push for legal advice on adaptation issues and damage to climate change.

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In September 2021, Vanuatu launched a campaign to seek a legal opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on nations’ climate change obligations.
The advisory opinion may be requested by a majority of the members of the United Nations General Assembly.
Vishal Prasad, of Pacific Island students fighting climate change, said there had been little progress on a pledge .
Climate activists holding a banner.

Climate activists in Fiji on Saturday before the Pacific Islands Forum kicks off on Monday July 11, 2022. Credit: green peace

“The time for band-aid solutions is over. We see the impacts of climate change every day – on our livelihoods, our housing, our food, our water, our sanitation, our healthcare and our environment,” said Mr. .Prasad.

“This is a global problem and we need a global solution.”
He said an ICJ advisory opinion could be a circuit breaker.

“It would enable the people of the Pacific, who are experiencing the worst of the climate crisis, to effect broad and accelerated change. It is an idea whose time has come and we call on world leaders to step up and support it.”

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“That would mean we could better implement the Paris Climate Agreement, and ensuring that human rights are at the forefront of all climate responses.
Steph Hodgins-May, of Greenpeace Australia Pacific, said the advisory opinion would provide the framework for Pacific island nations to have a greater say.

“By voting yes in the United Nations General Assembly, countries can ensure that Pacific island nations have a greater voice on the international stage and provide a legal framework for countries around the world.”

Amnesty International Australia activist Rose Kulak said there was more urgency to limit the effects of climate change on the most vulnerable nations.

“With all regional leaders gathered on the front lines of the climate crisis, we hope they will heed the calls of people bearing the brunt of rising seas and catastrophic weather events. This is a crisis of rights of man in preparation – but there is still time to act.”

Pacific alumni – including 2019 PIF Chair Enele Sopoaga from Tuvalu, Anote Tong from Kiribati, Hilda Heine from the Marshall Islands and Tommy Remengesau from Palau – have endorsed a new report from the Australian Climate Council, released on Friday.
With current warming trends, the Pacific will experience more destructive cyclones, coastal flooding, loss of 99% of coral reefs, all of which will affect food and water security and precarious economies.
“To win the trust of the rest of the region, Australia will need to show Pacific nations that it is serious about climate action, both by reducing emissions at home and working to enable climate change. deeper global emission reductions this decade,” said the .
UN Secretary General António Guterres to ensure that the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius is achieved.
Analysis of current national climate plans submitted under the Paris Agreement shows that commitments would lead to a significant increase in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 2010 levels.

The Pacific Islands Forum will be held in Suva, Fiji, from July 11-14.

Global climate rallies culminate with biggest protest in Glasgow during COP26 image

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said she would attend the Pacific Islands Forum to support the region’s call for stronger climate action.
“A strong and united Forum is essential to protect our common interest in a region that is stable, prosperous and respectful of sovereignty,” she said in a statement.
“We look forward to listening and working with our Pacific family partners on our common challenges and shared goals.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Friday he would attend the forum to advocate for Australia and Pacific nations to jointly host a UN climate summit.
He said Australia could improve on its achievement of its emissions target, adding that the new target of 43% of 2005 levels by 2030 is a “floor”.

Additional reports: AAP

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