Disappearing islands force Tuvalu to demand compensation from world polluters


By Pita Ligaiula in Glasgow

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.

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).