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"We are not drowning, we are fighting"

Pacific leaders plea to the world to act on “climate crisis”

New York - As the world’s leaders gather for the United Nations General Assembly and climate summit today, heads of states of Pacific nations are again making a plea to the world for an effective action on the climate crisis which is devastating the region.

Pacific Islands Forum Heads of Delegation with United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, at the UN Headquarters in New York. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Ahead of the UN summit Pacific Islands Forum, leaders and Pacific youth representatives gathered at a Sunday event hosted by the New Zealand government and spoke about the fight of their lives - the climate crisis.

Pacific People's Minister Su'a Aupito William Sio said now, more than ever, is the most opportune time to call foe concerted action for global leaders to “commit to urgent and transformational climate action.”

At the July Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu, the Kainaki II Declaration, leaders agreed to declare that a “climate change crisis” is affecting Pacific Island nations. Vanuatu PM Charlot Salwai said, “climate change is the single greatest threat to our Blue Pacific people.

Blue Pacific

Leaders on Saturday also met with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres where they highlighted critical priorities to securing the future of the Blue Pacific region.

“The Blue Pacific is the frontline of the fight against climate change which represents the single greatest threat to the future of our region,” said President of Nauru, H E Lionel Aingimea, who chaired the meeting on behalf of the Forum Chair, Tuvalu.

Leaders likewise took time to discuss the commitment to develop a new 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent to drive and lead the collective future of the Pacific region.

“We spoke about the importance of securing and protecting ocean and marine resources for the future of the Blue Pacific region, including our commitment to conclude all outstanding maritime boundaries claims in order to safeguard our maritime zones in the face of sea level rise and climate change.” Aingimea said.

Secretary-General Guterres commended the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders for the call to action on climate change.

Action to Ambition

The UN Secretary General called on “all countries come to this week’s Climate Action Summit with revised national commitments under the Paris Agreement and concrete plans for achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

Pacific Leaders amplify call to action on climate crisis at the eve of the UN meeting. Photo Supplied by Lisa Williams

Republic Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine said it is time to turn the ambition to action. "We are all fighting in the work to fight the survival, to demonstrate that were are not yet a drowning island," she said. Marshall Island is one of the first nations to update its NCD.

Heine also commended the work done by the Pacific Youth to demand bold action against climate change.

Bernadette Carreon's attendance at the United Nations was supported by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

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