Environmental activists gather in Fiji ahead of Pacific Islands Forum

Pacific Islander youth and environmental campaigners have gathered in Fiji to escalate calls for action to enforce the Paris Agreement to limit global warming ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum next week.

Aboard the flotilla, activists from Pacific Island Students Fighting Climate Change, Greenpeace Australia Pacific and Amnesty International Australia said they were calling on countries to support legal advice on climate change adaptation and damages.

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In September 2021, Vanuatu sought legal advice from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on countries’ commitments to climate change.
An advisory opinion may be requested from a majority of the members of the UN General Assembly.
Vishal Prasad of Pacific Island Students Fighting Climate Change said that in the promised .
Climate activists hold a banner.

Climate activists in Fiji on the Saturday ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum kicking off Monday, July 11, 2022. Credit: Greenpeace

“The time for temporary solutions has passed. We see the effects of climate change on a daily basis – on our livelihoods, housing, food, water, sanitation, health care and the environment,” said Mr Prasad.

“This is a global problem and we need a global solution.”
He said that the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice could be a decisive factor.

“This would enable the peoples of the Pacific, who are experiencing the worst climate crisis, to influence broad and accelerated change. This 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 enforce the Paris Climate Agreement and also put human rights at the forefront of all responses to climate change.
Steph Hodgins-May of Greenpeace Australia Pacific said the advisory opinion would serve as a basis for Pacific island nations to have more say.

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

Amnesty International Australia campaigner Rose Kulak said there is an urgent need to limit the impact of climate change on the most vulnerable countries.

“All regional leaders have gathered at the forefront of the climate crisis, and we hope they will heed the calls of the people bearing the brunt of sea level rise and catastrophic weather events. A human rights crisis is brewing, but there is still time to play. “

Pacific Island elders, including Tuvalu’s Enele Sopoaga, PIF 2019 Chair, Kiribati’s Anote Tong, Marshall Islands’ Hilda Heine and Palau’s Tommy Remengesau, endorsed the new Australian Climate Council report published on Friday.
With current warming trends, the Pacific will face more destructive cyclones, coastal floods, the loss of 99 percent of its coral reefs, all of which will hit food and water security and an unsustainable economy.
“In order to gain the confidence of the rest of the region, Australia will need to show the Pacific nations that it is serious about climate change action, both by reducing emissions domestically and by working to achieve more global emissions reductions in this decade,” the statement said. .
UN Secretary General António Guterres to ensure that the goal of the Paris deal to limit global warming to 1.5-2 degrees Celsius is achieved.
An analysis of the current national climate plans submitted under the Paris Agreement shows that commitments will lead to a significant increase global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 2010 levels.

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

The global climate rallies culminated in the biggest protest in Glasgow during COP26.

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said she would attend the Pacific Islands Forum to support the region’s call for more climate action.
“A strong, united Forum is critical to safeguarding our common interests 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 family partners in the Pacific on our common challenges and common goals.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Friday he would attend the forum to advocate for Australia and the Pacific to host a joint UN climate summit.
He said there was room for Australia to improve on its emissions target, adding that the new target of 43 percent of 2005 levels by 2030 was a “minimum”.

Additional reporting: AAP