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“You might as well bomb us”: Palau President tells World leaders at COP26

Palau’s President Surangel Whipps Jr (middle) at the COP26. Photo: Lisa Williams/PIFS/SPREP By Pita Ligaiula in Glasgow Glasgow, SCOTLAND - November 4, 2021: 1pm (PACNEWS): The inaction of world emitters to reach an agreement on the rapid reductions of fossil fuels has annoyed Pacific island nations on the front lines of climate change. Palau’s President Surangel Whipps Jr, told world leaders at the COP26 in Glasgow, that his island nation is threatened by increasing sea level rise due to the use of fossil fuels, the primary source of man-made global warming. “We are drowning, and our only hope is the life-ring you are holding. “As large emitters with their insatiable appetite for advancement are continuing to abuse our environment, threatening our very survival. COP26 must light the fire.” “We must hold each other accountable; it is incumbent upon the parties of this convention to concentrate on radical action, consistent mobilisation, rational outcomes as such Palau expects the set of rules guiding the implementation of the Paris Agreement be finalised as a priority outcome of COP26,” said President Whipps Jr in his address to world leaders. He told the COP26 conference that the climate catastrophe and the traditional Palau fable of a youngster who grew into a giant and 'wouldn't stop growing... destroying all the natural resources' had parallels. The narrative, according to President Whipps Jr, is “eerily reminiscent” of today's climate crisis. “We see the scorching sun is giving us intolerable heat, the warming sea is invading us, the strong winds are blowing us every which way, our resources are disappearing before our eyes and our future is being robbed from us.” “Frankly speaking, there is no dignity to a slow and painful death you might as well bomb our islands instead of making us suffer only to witness our slow and fateful demise,” he explained President Whipps also said world emitters must increase their pledge on climate financing. “We the islands that are devastated most, demand that your commitments of 100 billion annually be increased to meet the four trillion dollars the world bank reports are needed with substantial shares of climate financing to support costly adaptation needs,” he said. Only three leaders from the Pacific including Fiji, Palau and Tuvalu are attending COP26 this year while the rest are staying back due to the closing of borders brought about by COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuvalu PM raises concerns on sea level rise affecting the island nation

Hon. Kausea Natano Prime Minister of Tuvalu, HonFatumanava-O-Upolu III Pa’olelei Luteru. Seve Paeniu Minister of Finance of Tuvalu with H.E Fatumanava-O-Upolu III Pa’olelei Luteru Samoa's Ambassador to the UN. Photo: Lisa Williams/PIFS/SPREP By Pita Ligaiula in Glasgow Glasgow, SCOTLAND - November 4, 2021: (PACNEWS): Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano says his people are living with the reality of climate change every day. “Right now, 40 percent of the central district of Tuvalu’s capital Funafuti is already below sea level at highest tide measures. These are not predicted future measures; this is the reality we are living with today. We cannot wait; we must make bold decisions and take firm action to secure our future.” “This COP must be a COP of action! We must act now to ensure that all States recognise their shared responsibility to protect the global community and to ensure that all States are held accountable for this responsibility. “We must lead the charge to develop global norms, practices, and meaningful changes to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change and sea level rise,” Natano told world leaders in Glasgow. He also announced the pact signed between Tuvalu and Antigua and Barbuda to establish a Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International law. “The Commission is authorised to request advisory opinions from the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on the legal responsibility of States for carbon emissions, marine pollution, and rising sea levels. “We must support initiatives of this nature to develop and implement fair and just global and environmental norms and practices, including compensation for loss and damage,” he said. Natano said the existential threat of climate change and sea level rise has strengthened their resolve to preserve Tuvalu statehood and sovereignty. “In this respect, we have embarked on international discussion on legal mechanisms that can recognise our maritime boundaries and assets as permanent despite the impacts of sea level rise. “We must also ensure that legal mechanisms are in place to protect the cultures, languages, and heritages of nations like Tuvalu, including through digitisation and building mobile digital nations. “We must uphold domestic, regional, and international endeavours to this effect, such as the Declaration on Preserving Maritime Zones in the Face of Climate Change-related Sea-Level Rise. This regional declaration was endorsed by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders this year and seeks to ensure that Forum Members’ maritime zones cannot be challenged or reduced as a result of climate change-related sea-level rise” said Natano. “I want to make it plainly clear that, even if all GHG emissions ceased tomorrow, Tuvalu, and other low-lying atoll nations, are sinking and our land is fast disappearing. “We must conclude negotiations on the Paris Rulebook and safeguard the integrity of the Paris Agreement by stopping measures that will stall progress on its objectives,” said Natano. The former chair of the Pacific Islands Forum also urged global major emitters to commit to stronger climate action and to formulate mid-century long-term low emissions development strategies. “The success of this COP depends entirely on the commitment of you, the global major emitters, and your readiness to help. “In Tuvalu, we are already living the future impacts of climate change now. Consequently, soft adaptation approaches, such as nature-based solutions, help, but, at 1.9 meters above sea level, they will not save Tuvalu from sea level rise. “Tuvalu urgently needs adaptation measures based on building physical infrastructure to save ourselves. We are investing in building raised reclamation lands to preserve our physical existence as a viable state. This is our utmost priority now. There is no point in investing in soft and piecemeal adaptation measures when we are losing our land territory at an alarming rate,” PM Natano emphasised. On climate finance, Natano said too often, medium and long-term adaptation finance and implementation have been left to the private sector to handle. “Private sector support is critical and should be enhanced, but it should not overshadow the important resources that can be offered through international public finance. “We must mobilise large-scale adaptation financing now—financing that is not delayed by COVID-19; that prioritises the most vulnerable; and that is sourced through the Markets Mechanism and delivered through public and grant-based financing, rather than loans. “Our success as Pacific SIDS depends on this. We must cooperate to conclude and finalise Article 6 of the negotiations that delivers substantial overall mitigation in global emissions, as well as substantial financial resources to assist vulnerable developing countries in meeting the costs of adaptation,” he explained. He said for atoll nations, the ravages of sea level rise will defeat all of their efforts and development gains with regard to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. “Current global mitigation commitments and promises will not save us. “For atoll nations like Tuvalu, we urgently require the means to build raised reclamation land to save ourselves. All other adaptation measures are secondary and should come only after we have secured the continued physical existence of our land territory despite the effects of sea level rise,” he said. He said Loss and Damage is not an adaptation and they should be treated separately. “We cannot allow the reallocation of adaptation funding to address loss and damage. We require stronger guidance on loss and damage financing, and we must develop new financing mechanisms or funding windows for loss and damage “This would include consideration of the impacts of climate change on fisheries as part of loss and damage under slow onset events,” PM Natano said…

Disappearing islands force Tuvalu to demand compensation from world polluters

Tuvalu’s Minister of Finance and Climate Change, Seve Paeniu By Pita Ligaiula in Glasgow Glasgow, SCOTLAND - November 3, 2021: 11.55am (PACNEWS): Tuvalu’s disappearing islands has led to the tiny Pacific nation to sue major developed nations for the severe damage caused by climate change. Tuvalu and Antigua and Barbuda signed a pact Sunday to hold large nations accountable for climate change damage. The development comes as world leaders are meeting in Glasgow for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). Tuvalu’s Minister of Finance and Climate Change, Seve Paeniu in an interview with PACNEWS said the issue of Loss and Damage is very important for his island nation. “We are all here for one purpose and that is to raise climate ambition. Tuvalu and small island states in the Pacific are living the reality of the impact of climate change. “Our islands are sinking and therefore we would like the international community to support us to save our livelihoods, our culture and our people. “The islands are disappearing in Tuvalu, so the issue of loss and damage is very critical and very important for us and we wish the international community and industrialised world in particular to compensate for the loss and disappearing in the sinking of our lands,” Paeniu told PACNEWS. Hon. Kausea Natano, Prime Minister of Tuvalu (left), HonFatumanava-O-Upolu III Pa’olelei Luteru, Seve Paeniu Minister of Finance of Tuvalu with Mr Fatumanava-O-Upolu III Pa’olelei Luteru, Samoa's Ambassador to the UN at the COP26 meting in Glasgow. Photo: Lisa Williams/PIFS/SPREP Paeniu said the agreement establishes a Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law that will be tasked with developing and implementing fair and just global environmental norms and practices. “We also are working on a new initiative that aims to get the polluter to compensate and pay the Pacific Island nations that are being affected due to sea level rise in particular. It is an initiative co- sponsored jointly by Antigua Barbuda and Tuvalu. “To establish a commission on SIS on climate change and international law, our objective and our aim is to set a precedence in law where emitting countries would be responsible to compensate for the loss and damage that are inflicted on Small Island States such as Tuvalu. “That initiative only requires two countries to sign an agreement or declaration and that would be than recognised under the international tribunal on the Law of the Sea and eventually that we aim to raise that as a platform for the International Court of Justice to advocate for the plight of the sinking islands,” said Paeniu. Paeniu, who is also the Pacific Islands Forum political champion for Loss and Damage, is advocating the region’s priorities and influence decision-making in calling for urgent climate action. PACNEWS coverage from Glasgow is possible with the assistance of the Pacific Islands Forum through the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner (OPOC).

Empty promises not enough, Fiji PM tells COP26

By Pita Ligaiula in Glasgow Glasgow, SCOTLAND - November 3, 2021: 11.50am (PACNEWS): Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama took to the podium at the COP26 opening in Glasgow with another brusque and no-nonsense attack against leaders who make pledges without plans, or those he said pursue a policy of appeasement. Bainimarama dropped no names in his fiery three-minutes address at the first part of the High Level Segment session for Heads of State and Government, which followed the opening ceremony where the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles and the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres were among the guest speakers, but it was easy to see who or which countries he was referring to. “We cannot let them write out the urgency of accelerating action. Clean coal, responsible natural gas, and ethical oil are all figments of the selfish mind. No matter what they call them, carbon emissions are wrecking the climate. There’s nothing clean, natural or ethical about it,” said the Fijian leader. “Other leaders pursue a policy of appeasement. They sit idly by as their high-emitting counterparts destroy our children’s futures. The science is clear, ladies and gentlemen, no city, no community, and no ecosystem will be spared from the reckoning that lies beyond 1.5 degrees of warming, including our oceans, the lungs of the planet.” Bainimarama spoke soon after Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, being one of only three Pacific leaders that are attending COP26 in Scotland this week. The other two, Prime Minister Kausea Natano of Tuvalu and President Surangel Whipps Jr of Palau will speak later in the week. “We have fallen so far off course that only bold and courageous action will suffice. 2060 is too late. Empty promises of mid-century ambition are not enough. “All high-emitting countries must halve global emissions by 2030. The G20 nations who are prepared to make those commitments must demand the same from others. “We have moral authority, you have a moral obligation. Together, our coalition of the willing can keep 1.5 alive, keep low-lying island nations above water, keep erratic and severe weather from devastating us all, and keep the trust between nations so that we can keep faith that our children and grandchildren will have a future. “That includes making good on the promise of $100 billion in climate finance.” Pacific nations like his Bainimarama told world leaders did not travel to the other end of the world to watch their future “sacrificed at the altar of appeasement of the world’s worst emitters.” Existence of our low-lying neighbours is the Pacific is not negotiable either, he declared. “1.5 is alive. It is possible. Humanity does not lack the resources, technology, projects, or innovative potential to achieve it. “All that is missing is the courage to act –– the courage to choose our grandchildren’s future over shareholder greed and corporate carbon-driven interests. “What more fitting place than the United Kingdom –– the birthplace of the industrial age –– to summon the will to secure the commitments that begin a cleaner, greener and bluer revolution, said Bainimarama. PACNEWS coverage from Glasgow is possible with the assistance of the Pacific Islands Forum through the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner (OPOC).

Athletes call on world leaders to deliver on climate action at COP26 summit

By MAKERETA KOMAI Suva, FIJI - November 3, 2021: 11.45am (PACNEWS): A group of more than 50 Olympians and Paralympians have called on world leaders to deliver on climate action during the COP26 summit in Glasgow in a video backed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The athletes, including Kenyan marathon star Eliud Kipchoge and retired Spanish basketball legend Pau Gasol, warn of the impact of climate change on sport and the threat it poses to their futures. A group of more than 50 Olympians and Paralympians have called on world leaders to deliver on climate action during the COP26 summit in Glasgow in a video backed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The athletes, including Kenyan marathon star Eliud Kipchoge and retired Spanish basketball legend Pau Gasol, warn of the impact of climate change on sport and the threat it poses to their futures. The video, initiated by British double Olympic sailing champion Hannah Mills and Olympic rower Melissa Wilson, was released to coincide with the start of the summit in the Scottish city, considered one of the most important climate change conferences ever held. They called COP26 “the Olympics of climate summits”. Leaders attending the conference are expected to outline their climate commitments at the event, due to run until 12 November. “Tokyo and the people of Japan delivered, when many thought it impossible,” the athletes say in the video. “Each Games seeks to deliver a lasting legacy. “But how do we pass on that legacy, if there isn’t a safe and healthy planet to experience it? “Heat, humidity and extreme weather conditions mean many of our sports are already under threat. “And sport is just one part of a much greater global picture. “We did our utmost this summer, and we know that when we strive to achieve our best, others come with us. “Now, it is your chance to deliver.” Mills – who in 2019 launched the Big Plastic Pledge, an athlete-driven movement to eliminate the use of single-use plastic within and beyond sport – claimed athletes “are counting on world leaders to take accelerated climate action at COP26”. “This is the race we need to win, and the speed of the race is determined by each of the participants in it,” the athletes in the video added. “At COP26, the Olympics of climate summits, we need you to lead us. “To show real ambition and courage. “Working together to secure the future that we all depend on. “Anything less won’t win this race. “Over the next fortnight, we will be looking to you, and supporting you, to forge the ultimate legacy: a healthy, safe earth for all.” IOC President Thomas Bach last week called for more cooperation from Governments to combat climate change, warning the world was “in a race against time which nobody can win alone”. The IOC has committed to reducing its direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2030. Its action plan includes reducing emissions in the areas of travel, energy use and procurement. In March last year, the IOC took the decision to make the Olympic Games climate positive. From 2030 onwards, each Organising Committee for the Olympics will be contractually obliged to minimise and compensate its direct and indirect carbon emissions and implement lasting zero-carbon solutions for the Games and beyond. All upcoming Olympic Games have committed to carbon neutrality, with Paris 2024 aiming to become the first climate-positive Games even before the 2030 deadline. “The IOC is delighted to support this initiative, and help Olympic athletes use their powerful voices to create a more sustainable future for everyone,” said Bach. “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges humanity has ever faced, and the IOC is proud to be leading the Olympic Movement’s response to this crisis. “Our recent commitment to reduce our carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and our support for this initiative are part of this effort. “Sport has the power to make the world a better place, and today we have an opportunity to use this power in the face of climate change, said Bach. SOURCE: INSIDE THE GAMES/PACNEWS

Scientific advisers urge detailed plans from COP26, not just climate pledges

Edinburgh, SCOTLAND - October 28, 2021: 5.35pm (Reuters): Thirty eight scientific advisers to governments have urged leaders at the upcoming COP26 climate conference to focus on detailed action plans, not just pledges, on how to keep a 1.5 Celsius temperature limit within reach. In four days' time, governments will meet in Glasgow, Scotland, to meet a deadline of this year to commit to more ambitious emissions cut pledges, in what could be the last chance to put the world on track to keeping warming to below 2C above pre-industrial levels and ideally 1.5C (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). This week, a United Nations report said current pledges put the world on track for an average 2.7C temperature rise and a separate report in August warned that global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions could breach 1.5C in the next two decades. In a statement published on Thursday, senior scientific advisers in countries including Argentina, Australia, Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, India, Mauritius, Mexico and Morocco, said it was still possible to limit global warming to 1.5C by the end of the century. However, significant behavioural, technological and socio-economic transformations are needed to achieve a steep reduction in emissions by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050. The advisers said governments must develop long-term strategies based on scientific evidence to scale up ways to decarbonise economies over the next decade, have clear and detailed policies and regular reviews of emissions reduction plans. 'More than just a pledge' "The 1.5C (limit) is achievable provided action is taken. Action needs to be more than just a pledge; it needs to be backed up by clear plans and those plans need to be monitored," Patrick Vallance, the UK government's chief scientific adviser, told journalists. The advisers said a range of existing and new technological solutions need to be scaled up rapidly and deployed across all sectors of the global economy. There should be much more international collaboration to accelerate research, development, demonstration and deployment of effective ways to reduce emissions and solutions to adapt to climate change. Many scientists have long called for rapid and drastic changes across society to help limit global warming, including less consumption of meat, less travel by aeroplane and internal combustion engine cars. "I think those are things which need to happen," Vallance said. "There are behavioural changes which are needed from all of us. A series of small changes are important when they are aggregated over millions and millions of people." How that might be achieved is a decision for governments, not scientists, but the world should not rely on a "magic technology" to save it, he said. "The 'green' choice needs to be the easy choice. If there is too much of a barrier there won't be much change. At the moment, some of these choices are expensive. The cost premium needs to be brought down," Vallance added. Australia will not back EU, US-led pledge to cut methane emissions Australia will not back a pledge, led by the European Union and the United States, to cut methane emissions by 30 percent amid concerns about the impact on farming, coal and gas operations, a spokesperson for Energy Minister Angus Taylor confirmed on Thursday. The United States and EU in September announced the effort in September aiming to rally rapid climate action before the start of UN climate talks in Glasgow, which start on Sunday. Australia's decision was first reported in The Australian newspaper. - Reuters

$US1.98 billion needed for Fiji's NDC targets

By ELENOA TURAGAIVIU Labasa, FIJI - October 28, 2021: 5.15pm (FBC News): Fiji will need a $US1.98 billion investment to achieve its enhanced National Determined Contributions. Fiji’s NDC Investment Plan and Project Pipeline indicates 20 primary mitigation opportunities in the transport and energy efficient sector that need to be implemented to achieve the target of 30 percent emission reduction by 2030. The recent GIZ Pacific NDC Hub Media Dialogue heard that if implemented, Fiji has the potential of abating 2.722 million tonnes of greenhous gases by 2030. Fiji’s Climate Change Mitigation Specialist Jeanette Mani says NDC Investment planning acts as a strategy to secure funding for priority actions and having project pipelines and concepts makes it more effective to market the strategy to donor parties to secure funding. According to the Regional NDC Hub, of the 20 primary mitigation opportunities identified, 11 are in the transport sector and nine in the energy efficiency sector. In addition to this, 11 secondary mitigation opportunities have also been identified. Mani says the NDC investment planning process has created awareness amongst stakeholders and provided the policy direction that is necessary to enhance the uptake of low carbon technology. She adds, that while it has helped to formulate specific projects aligned to low carbon transitioning, it has also provided the direction on how to create certain incentives that will enable this transitioning. Fiji’s Investment Plan and Project pipeline is awaiting final endorsement from Government.

Sogavare launches strategy to revitalise agriculture sector

Honiara, SOLOMONS - October 26, 2021: 11.50am (SOL GOVT/MAL): A 10-year strategy targeted at revitalising, modernising and commercialising the country’s agriculture sector was launched on Tuesday 19 October 2021. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare officially launched the roadmap which also coincided with the World Food Day agriculture show celebrations staged at the Justice Ground at Town-Ground in Honiara from 19-21 October under the theme “Our actions are our future - Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life.” Dubbed as the first ever Solomon Islands agriculture blueprint, the strategy is called Agriculture Sector Growth Strategy and Investment Plan (ASGSIP) 2021-2030. “This is an ambitious roadmap aimed at revitalising, modernizing and commercialising the agricultural sector to contribute to the well-being and prosperity of all Solomon Islanders, ensuring food and nutrition security and increased economic growth,” PM Sogavare said. He said it is designed to make our farmers the most competitive and successful people in the country and in so doing transform agriculture sector to one of the best in the region. “It was developed with substantial input from farmers, exporters, regulators, government officials and policy experts, including a team from the Food and Agriculture Organisation and International Fund for Agriculture Development of the United Nations.” He said the strategy incorporates hard-learned lessons from the past and experiences from other developing countries around the world, focuses on new technology, and offers creative incentives to our local farmers as well as larger agro-processors. PM Sogavare said the strategy is designed to launch the industry into the next generation and beyond. “It is imperative that we have big dreams for this sector and I am convinced that the agriculture sector alone provides the answers to the many national challenges we face today, including unemployment, poor health, weak and vulnerable economy and poverty. This strategy is intended to usher in a whole transformation in the way we do agriculture to make it a more competitive and modern industry.” He said it is important farmers are introduced to the knowledge and new technologies in the agriculture industry to enable them to thrive. “Government is fully aware of the importance of this sector thus we all have a role to play in this sector. Be rest assured this government is fully committed to progressively increase our investment in the agriculture sector. This strategy proposes to reform and restructure the ministry so it can deliver effectively, especially the extension services through rebuilding of extension service infrastructures like field experimental stations. Our goal is to grow our subsistence smallholder farmers to become commercial farmers. “Our Strategy is designed to facilitate sector-wide implementation approach involving both the public and private sector including farmers, their organisations and NGOs supporting farmers. Other crucial implementation partners are our international development partners, national and international non-government organisation, civil societies and religious groups.” The Prime Minister also acknowledged all development partners that have supported the agriculture sector throughout the years. A development partner working group is currently being setup to support the implementation of the 10-year strategy. Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture(MAL) Ethel Tebengi Frances said ASGSIP 2021-2030 is the first ever Solomon Islands Agriculture roadmap that will guide the country in development of the sector in the next ten years. “It is the first time we have a longer term plan to capture the nature of agriculture investment. The country’s vision for agriculture sector as presented in this strategy is for our nation to have “A sustainable, competitive and profitable agricultural sector that enhances economic growth, food sovereignty and prosperity for all Solomon Islanders”. It identifies strategic opportunities and outlines ambitious pathways to revitalise the sector.” The overall goals of the strategy are: •To increase agriculture sector contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) •Increased self-sufficiency through local food supply chains •Decreased levels of stunting in children under 5 years •Increased agricultural productivity and value addition •Increased profitability for all value chain actors •Decreased levels of people living below the poverty line At the same time Frances calls on the nation to take pride of the strategy and urge everyone’s support in the implementation of it. “My comfort is in the untiring commitment of our farmers to this sector. As the government we will do our part and you do your part as a business farmer, processors or exporters. It is team work. We can deliver the aspirations in this plan but needs commitment. “Now that the strategy is launched, MAL now looking forward to support the government by implementing it to improve the livelihood of our people, create economic activities and build our country and so I am confident this 10-year roadmap is a conduit where we can better facilitate collaborative efforts by all players in the agriculture sector,” Frances said. Frances thanked International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and Food and Agriculture Organisations (FAO) of the United Nation and the Solomon Islands Government support and individuals who contributed toward the formulation of the strategy. Meanwhile, Chairman for Northwest Guadalcanal Noni Farmers Association (NWGNFA) Bernard Garo while congratulating the government for the successful launch of the ASGSIP 2021-2030, acknowledged MAL for the vision in making the strategy that will definitely help guide the ministry, farmers and stakeholders in the development of the agriculture sector. “It’s a historic strategy. The first ever in Solomon Islands history especially in the agriculture sector. This is a step in the right direction because the plan will guide the country in development of the sector in the next ten years. The launch of the strategy demonstrated government’s commitment toward the development of the sector. Therefore, I must applaud the government for it and for its unwavering support towards the sector through the years.” Garo said he is looking forward to working closing with the government through MAL in the implementation of the strategy over the next ten years. Wilson Leta, Small Livestock Officer from Kastom Garden Association (KGA) while sharing similar sentiments thanked government through MAL for the strategy (ASGSIP 2021-2030). He said having a roadmap to guide the country in development of the sector is paramount. Over 80 per cent of our rural population involved heavily in agriculture therefore having a plan that will guide us in the development of the sector is important to improve the livelihood of our people and create economic opportunities.” Leta said KGA is looking forward to working closing with the government through MAL in the implementation of the strategy. The formulation of the strategy was supported by the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and Food and Agriculture Organisations (FAO) of the United Nation and the Solomon Islands Government through Ministry of Agriculture....PACNEWS

What’s in a Name? SIDS or BOSS?

The call that began years ago is to change from SIDS to Big Ocean Sovereign State or BOSS. “BOSS is not my term; I am borrowing it for others.” By Rosi Doviverata SUVA, Fiji - October 26, 2021: 11.32am (FIJI SUN): Redefining what or how we call ourselves in Oceania has been an ongoing topic of conversation among Pacific Island leaders – but more so among those who work in regional organisations and the civil society space. In preparation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP26 that gets underway this Sunday, the call to redefine ourselves has come up yet again. This time from Palau. During a session with regional media organisations, Tutti Chilton, the Steering Committee Chair, Regional Pacific NDC Hub said it’s time that we started redefining who we are in Oceania rather than just letting others do it. He was referring to the categorisation of most Pacific island countries as Small Island Developing States (SIDS) under the United Nations umbrella. SIDS are a distinct group of 38 UN Member States and 20 Non-UN Members/Associate Members of United Nations regional commissions that face unique social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities. Change from SIDS to Big Ocean Sovereign State or BOSS The call that began years ago is to change from SIDS to Big Ocean Sovereign State or BOSS. “BOSS is not my term, I am borrowing it for others.” Chilton noted that the earliest use of the term was found in a WWF Monitoring, Control and Surveil- lance (MCS) Emerging Technologies workshop report in 2014. “I am sure with more research we can find earlier use but I found it appropriate that when describing Oceania, we are always SIDS and that is only because of others saying we need land to be defined. Our Oceans define us and we should not allow others to define us in a Small Island Develop- ing State (SIDS) box. While there are likely protocols to follow to have a name change, Chilton remained adamant. “I am not sure but I do not need permission from others to use the term to describe what I see in Oceania or Pacific or the region you are from. Again, protocol and local situations will define what you can and cannot use, but because I have the opportunity to work with the NDC Hub I can at least help shape the dialogue going forward in how we describe our situations and how we want to move for- ward to address it. Chilton is the Executive Director of the Palau Energy Administration. But he is an educator and taught for 15 years at the Palau Community College and two years as the Dean of Academic Affairs. He also holds a strong background is social work and political science, specifically the Future Studies pro- gramme at the Political Science Department at University of Hawaii, Manoa. “I am a firm believer in planting seeds and waiting for them to grow. Media So, this platform with journalist, BOSS and Climate Crisis seems like a good use in hopes that it will be used in your stories, questions, articles and research. The media is the 4th branch of government along with the Executive, Legislative and Judicial to keep the government honest, trans- parent and working for the needs of the people.” Chilton also encouraged the media to start using ‘climate crisis’ in references associated with climate change. “Yes, there are ‘protocols’, there are our national governments and our leaders. But sometimes we need to question them and ourselves. “This is where we need to remind everyone of our climate crisis, it is no longer a change that we need to pre- pare for but a crisis that we need to deal with everyday especially, on our islands. “Therefore, I want to start using the word ‘crisis’ to highlight not just is- land vulnerabilities but also our ability to plan and adapt to our changing environment towards food, water and energy security.” Expectation at COP26 Chilton is hopeful that Oceania will present its case and also finds financial support to really move us to- wards a fossil fuel free Oceania. “At the same time to realise we need true partners who are willing to help us because we can not do it on our own as well as find strength and sup- port from each other and not be put in the middle of other people’s politics. “Finally, I hope that Oceania realises that no matter the moral leadership, that some people have no morals at all so we need to focus on ourselves and prepare for the future with adaptation policies and practices and with the support and help of the Pacific NDC Hub, I think we have a good chance of moving forward.” The Regional Pacific Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Hub supports 14 Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) in implementing, enhancing and financing their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to meet their commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement. Last week the Hub held a three-day workshop for regional media representatives with the aim to engage and keep them informed through robust communication and participation.... PACNEWS

Meet the young climate official championing Fiji’s oceans

SUVA/LONDON - October 26, 2021: 11.22am (COMSEC): Kushaal Raj is the Acting Manager for Climate Change and the Ocean Specialist for the Ministry of Economy, Government of Fiji, where he develops ocean policy and provides technical expertise for international negotiations on ocean-related climate challenges. He is also responsible for updating Fiji’s progress on oceans within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – so is currently immersed in preparations for the global COP26 climate talks which take place next month. Here, Commonwealth Correspondent Chimaobi Omeye interviews Kushaal Raj during the busy lead up to COP26, about his journey as a Fijian climate official for one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world, during the most critical time in history for climate action. What led you to become a climate change champion? I started my career as an academic at the University of the South Pacific with a focus on renewable energy, after studying biology and chemistry. My academic research group discovered the critical links between climate change and the renewable energy sector in Fiji. The University then championed further exploration of this link by developing the first programme in Fiji on Renewable Energy Management. The passion I developed for climate change began there and took me towards a change in my career pathway. I diversified my knowledge through training and began aspiring to join climate change and oceans advocacy movements. Kushaal Raj, Acting Manager for Climate Change and the Ocean Specialist for the Ministry of Economy, Government of Fiji Why and how is Fiji prone to climate change and ocean disasters? As a large ocean state and developing Island Nation, Fiji – like the rest of the Pacific – is not immune to climate change. We are vulnerable not only due to our small economies and inability to secure and adapt to climate-ready infrastructure, but the ‘doubled’ threat we face from multiple climate scenarios: sea level rise, coral bleaching, coastal inundation, intense and frequent cyclones, droughts, and others. Fiji alone does not have the financial resources nor the technical capacity to address climate challenges, yet it trail-blazes efforts towards ensuring and increasing climate resilience through innovative policy interventions, coupling adaptation and mitigation co-benefits through nature-based solutions and integrated disaster risk reduction systems. In what ways has Fiji been successful in rising above the challenges? Fiji has always led through implementation; whether it was on mitigation through our Low Emissions Development Strategy, adaptation through our National Adaptation Plan or more recently on oceans through the National Ocean Policy. Robust policy requires concise and effective implementation – which is what we are currently doing – through dialogue with mandated ministries and development partners, as well as the public through consultation on progress of actions within the ocean space. This helps create greater awareness on the threats of natural disasters and what communities can do to assist in mitigating damage. Climate policies Apart from those stated, other notable policies include: *Fiji’s Five year and 20-year National Development Plan *The Third National Communication *The Planned Relocation Guidelines *The National Climate Change Policy * The Displacement Guidelines * Fiji’s Updated Nationally Determined Contributions and Fiji has also complemented the Paris Agreement through its updated Nationally Determined Contribution, through which Fiji reaffirms its: *2030 target under Article 4.11 of the Paris Agreement *Commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by the year 2050 *Commitment to enact its Climate Change Bill by 2021; and *To operationalise its National Adaptation Plan. The Climate Change Bill, once endorsed, will be the legislative force which will ensure the implementation of numerous climate projects assist in Fiji ambitions to become carbon neutral. In July 2019, Fiji successfully compiled its first Voluntary National Review (VNR) and presented it at the High-Level Political Forum in New York. Fiji has learnt from its first progress report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is now undertaking preparatory works for the compilation of its second VNR for presentation in 2022. Fiji is also working jointly with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in strengthening advocacy, awareness and institutional readiness for the implementation of the SDGs across all sectors. Ocean action How does your work influence the attainment of SDG 14: Life Below Water? Our work consists of collating information and reporting on ocean actions and activities within Fiji to Government, development partners and the international community. As the oceans unit, our work automatically creates synergies with SDG14: Life Below Water, however our work is holistic and spreads across multiple Ministries, such as Fisheries, Foreign Affairs and Environment, due to the diverse nature of the ocean. Fiji has already taken steps to expedite work within the area of SDG 14 specifically through the SDG unit of the Climate Change and International Cooperation Division of the Ministry of Economy, which will report on all SDGs and initiate a streamlined and directed approach towards collecting data on SDG 14, among others. How do you work with communities? Earlier this year we held a creek clean-up in Nabukalou. This was done in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and numerous civil-society organisations and was the first of many clean-up campaigns and events organised to raise awareness of pollution management, while we continue to improve other means of waste collection to protect the marine space. The turnout was quite significant for the creek clean-up, particularly from young people – more than 100 people attended from registered community groups, faith-based organisations and the public. Businesses have also taken initiatives to decrease their plastic pollution, which has been further assisted by the ban on single-use plastic bags in Fiji, which came into force on 01 January 2020. Challenges How has Covid-19 and cyclone Ana impacted your work? I believe the paradigm shift to virtual meetings due to COVID-19 has been the biggest change. Although avoiding the long transits to attend meetings has been a respite, the lack of first-person contact has been a hurdle for many to counter, especially during negotiations and high-level meetings. We were fortunate that the cyclone did not cause as much damage to the capital city of Suva (our place of business) as it did in the northern areas of Fiji and as a result, much of our work was unaffected. However, there have been numerous challenges posed on our economy and climate aspirations, which is constant with frequent cyclones in Fiji. An area we are currently lacking in is advocacy, but although our work is updated and regularly reported on the international and global stage, we have only recently started campaigning more widely on climate change issues domestically. Our hope is to align our work with the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). The team is in the process of operationalising the National Ocean Policy, as although the Policy is robust, its implementation will require multi-stakeholder input. Similarly, as Fiji was devastated by the recent tropical cyclones Yasa and Ana, a pilot project called the Savusavu Blue Town Model is being developed to assist in rehabilitation in the northern division and as a foundation to improve economic resilience through investment in ecological resilience. Advice for young people Climate ambition without climate action is ineffective. Your passion about climate change should not end at advocacy, but if you have the capacity, should also diversify into assisting the community in curbing climate and oceans issues. This could be done through clean up and community-led programmes, pilot projects on innovative climate solutions and advocacy of these issues within communities – this will also help the drive towards resilience. Do you believe young people are given opportunities in Fiji and globally? Youth participation has always been key for climate action in Fiji and the world. Greta Thunberg is an excellent example of how youths can make a difference. For Fiji, Timoci Naulusala is a similar figure in the context of climate change and international youth leadership, who at the age of 12 gave the opening speech of COP23 in Bonn, Germany. He captivated world leaders on the impacts of climate change and remarked that the ‘blaming and waiting game’ was over and it’s now time for action. Together for change A national climate youth summit with a focus on climate change was recently organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in partnership with non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations and the Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Economy, to inform youths on the importance of their roles in society as first responders and advocates for climate action. They were also consulted on Fiji’s upcoming Climate Change Bill. It is an avenue to renew commitment towards youth-led community activities that address climate change and enable youth to better communicate and network on this issue with government ministries and development partners. This youth leadership and collaboration is critical in addressing climate change. We must all work together for real change.... PACNEWS You can learn more about the Government of Fiji's climate change work on its Ministry of Economy website. This Commonwealth Secretariat blog is the second in a series launched during Youth4Climate and continuing in the lead up to COP26 and beyond, featuring young people from across the Commonwealth who are leading the way on local climate action.

‘No time to lose’ curbing greenhouse gases: WMO

GENEVA - October 26, 2021: 11.20am (UN NEWS CENTRE): Last year, heat-trapping greenhouse gases reached a new record, surging above the planet's 2011-2020 average, and has continued in 2021, according to a new report published on Monday by the UN weather agency. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Greenhouse Gas Bulletin contains a “stark, scientific message” for climate change negotiations at the upcoming UN climate conference, known as COP26, in Glasgow, said Petteri Taalas, head of the UN agency. “At the current rate of increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, we will see a temperature increase by the end of this century far in excess of the Paris Agreement targets of 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels”, he explained. “We are way off track.” Concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2020 was 149 per cent above the pre-industrial level; methane, 262 per cent; and nitrous oxide, 123 per cent, compared to the point when human activitity began to be a destabilising factor. And although the coronavirus-driven economic slowdown sparked a temporary decline in new emissions, it has had no discernible impact on the atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases or their growth rates. As emissions continue, so too will rising global temperatures, the report maintained. Moreover, given the long life of CO2, the current temperature level will persist for decades, even if emissions are rapidly reduced to net zero. From intense heat and rainfall to sea-level rise and ocean acidification, rising temperatures will be accompanied by more weather extremes – all with far-reaching socioeconomic impacts. “The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was three to five million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now”, stated the WMO chief. “But there weren’t 7.8 billion people then”, he reminded. Roughly half of today’s human-emitted CO2 remains in the atmosphere and the other half is absorbed by oceans and land ecosystems, the Bulletin flagged. At the same time, the capacity of land ecosystems and oceans to absorb emissions may become a less effective buffer against temperature increases in the future. Meanwhile, many countries are currently setting carbon neutral targets amidst the hope that COP26 will see a dramatic increase in commitments. “We need to transform our commitment into action that will have an impact of the gases that drive climate change. We need to revisit our industrial, energy and transport systems and whole way of life”, said the WMO official. “The needed changes are economically affordable and technically possible", he assured. “There is no time to lose”. CO2 is the single most important greenhouse gas and has “major negative repercussions for our daily lives and well-being, for the state of our planet and for the future of our children and grandchildren”, argued the WMO chief. Carbon sinks are vital regulators of climate change because they remove one-quarter of the CO2 that humans release into the atmosphere. Nitrous Oxide is both a powerful greenhouse gas and ozone depleting chemical that is emitted into the atmosphere from both natural and anthropogenic sources, including oceans, soils, biomass burning, fertilizer use and various industrial processes. Multiple co-benefits of reducing methane, whose gas remains in the atmosphere for about a decade, could support the Paris Agreement and help to reach many Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said the Bulletin.... PACNEWS

UN chief promotes 'enormous' benefits of greener cities

World Habitat Day message from UN chief António Guterres NEW YORK, United States of America: October 5, 2021: 11.25am (UN NEWS CENTRE): For the UN Secretary-General, the benefits of making cities more environmentally friendly are “enormous”, and include reduced climate risk, more jobs, and better health and well-being. “City leadership in using green materials and constructing energy-efficient, resilient buildings powered by renewable energy, is essential to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050,” said António Guterres in his message for World Habitat Day, marked on Monday. The theme for this year’s celebration of cities and towns worldwide is Accelerating urban action for a carbon-free world. Cities are responsible for about 75 per cent of the world’s energy consumption and over 70 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Two crises Urban areas across the globe are facing the dual crises of COVID-19 and climate change, said the UN chief. Around 4.5 billion people live in cities today, but that population is projected to grow by almost 50 percent, by 2050. By mid-century, over 1.6 billion urban residents may have to survive through average summertime highs of 35 degrees Celsius. For Guterres, cities and towns are at the core of climate action to keep the 1.5 degrees goal within reach. “Three-quarters of the infrastructure that will exist in 2050 has yet to be built,” he said. “Economic recovery plans offer a generational opportunity to put climate action, renewable energy, and sustainable development at the heart of cities’ strategies and policies.” As populations grow in emerging economies, demand for transport, which accounts for nearly 20 per cent of global carbon emissions, is also multiplying. The UN Chief said cities are already working on this, trying to ensure that this demand is met by zero-emission vehicles and public transit. Guterres concluded asking for a global moratorium on internal combustion engines to underpin these efforts, saying it should happen by 2040 at the latest. Opportunity In a message for the day, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, said that, unless the world takes urgent action, “the greenhouse gases produced by ever expanding urban centres, will continue to push global air temperatures higher.” Sharif remembered that, this year, the day is celebrated only weeks before the UN climate change summit, COP26, happening in early November in Glasgow. For the UN-Habitat Chief, the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity for the world’s cities to put climate action on top of their agenda. “This is a chance to change how we generate our power, construct our buildings, heat, cool and light up our offices and homes, and travel around from home to work,” she said. Sharif asked for “well planned and well managed compact cities”, that allow for non-motorized transport and that reduce energy consumption from cooling and heating. “Cities are the incubators of innovation and new technology,” she said. “We must harness this strength for better climate change solutions.” For Sharif, “action will differ from city to city”, but “the green transition must benefit everyone, especially the most vulnerable, and create new jobs.” ....PACNEWS

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