The outgoing Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Dame Meg Taylor says the Australian government’s stance on climate change and its support for fossil fuels is affecting the country’s standing in the region.
“I think people who are very concerned about the climate issues and what’s happening in terms of the impact, yes, people are concerned about the government of Australia’s position,” she said.
During a farewell media conference after six year in the job Dame Meg identified climate change as the most important issue for the Pacific region.
She said Australia’s position on climate change has prevented the region from speaking with a united voice at major international forums like the UN climate talks.
“We’re not on the same page and now that I’m not secretary general, that has been one of my major concerns,” Dame Meg said.
Though she did draw a distinction between the actions of the national government and others actors in Australia.
“Where I’m positive is in the state governments and the young people and communities in Australia that really understand what’s going on,” she said.
Dame Meg is the first woman to hold the position of secretary general at the Pacific Islands Forum.
She’s been widely praised for reforming the Forum’s secretariat, increasing the participation of civil society groups, and leading initiatives like the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19 which helped coordinate a regional response to the pandemic.