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By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in Funafuti
A senior smaller island states (SIS) government official has defended the Tuvalu climate change declaration for survival of Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) saying it provides a strong position to take to the UN Climate Action Summit in New York in September and other global climate forums.
The official is aware of the draft climate change declaration that is proposed for Pacific Islands Forum Leaders discussion later this week.
“Since it is now endorsed by SIS Leaders, the text is not expected to change except a decision by the Forum Leaders to include it as part of the communique to be issued after the Retreat on Thursday, explained the official who wished not to be named.
For small island nations, we feel this is a strong expression of our interests and serves as a voice for Pacific peoples, impacted severely by climate change, said the official.
While Forum Leaders are not expected to issue two declarations on climate change, PACNEWS understands SIS leaders will ensure their strong concerns are reflected in the final outcome.
The Tuvalu Declaration makes 30 strong key climate change positions for Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS).
Amongst the key points is the concerns of Smaller Island States about the implication of climate change on tuna stocks in the region, which is expected to result in loss of revenue and threatening food security.
“We urgently call for more case studies, research modelling to inform decision making processes, especially in relation to a resource which provides revenue for Pacific economies.
Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) director general, Dr Manu Tupou Roosen agrees that climate change will have a great impact on the distribution and movement of tuna stock in the region.
“We will need a fisheries management regime to adapt and respond to impact of climate change on the movement of tuna and our rights as custodian of these resources.
“When tuna stocks move from Papua New Guinea, Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands and Nauru to the East, what happens to the West? Do we lock in their rights to have a share in that area,” explained Dr Manu at the Sautalaga dialogue on Monday.
Concerns have also been raised about the movement of fish stocks to high seas as a result of climate change.
“We need bold and decisive action – by seeking to close the high seas, if that is what it takes. Fish is central to our culture and our food security. We own 20 percent of the world’s tuna resources and we are the region with the greatest dependence on fisheries resources.
“Our major tuna stocks are biologically healthy while in other regions are overfished or over fishing is occurring, said Dr Manu.
The declaration calls for measures to provide compensation for Pacific Island Countries that have lost tuna stocks due to climate change.
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