By Pita Ligaiula in Glasgow
The world must rapidly cut global emissions and keep global warming to 1.5 degrees, says Forum Secretary General.
Speaking Tuesday at the launch of Results-Oriented Adaptation Research (ROAR) initiative Adaptation Research Alliance at COP26, Henry Puna said the Pacific region is experiencing first-hand the impacts of the climate change crisis.
“Indeed, climate change is an existential threat to our island homes with our very survival on the line.
“We must also have urgent scaled up climate change finance at this COP26, if we are to manage the existential impact we are already facing. Yet even if we achieve this, climate change impacts are here and will continue to impact us into the future. Currently, adaptation accounts for only five percent of climate finance flows. This is clearly not enough. We must rather achieve a 50-50 balance for adaptation and mitigation.
“With adaptation now critical for the protection of our Blue Pacific, let me welcome the Results-Oriented Adaptation Research (ROAR) initiative. Science, technology and innovation are a must if we are to invest in the most effective adaptation measures, designed specifically for Pacific Island contexts. We must embed traditional knowledge into the process. Only then can we respond to the needs of those most at risk,” said SG Puna.
Puna said in the Pacific region, the ROAR initiative can build on and invest in existing approaches for adaptation science and innovation, including those led by our key Pacific technical organisations, the Pacific Community and the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
“As a region, we’re not sitting idly by. Our Leaders recognise that to lead is to act. They have pursued bold and innovative regional solutions to secure a safe and prosperous future for our Pacific peoples.
“Our innovative regional solutions are based on our unique context. At the same time, they enable our people to manage the uncertainties that are part of the impacts of climate change. We are not only on the frontlines of climate change, but also at the forefront of climate solutions, that are beneficial to us.
“Our efforts in this regard are guided by the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific and its inclusive Pacific Resilience Partnership. This is an integrated approach to address climate change adaptation and disaster risk management,” he said.
Puna said the Kaimuki Lua Declaration, endorsed by Forum Leaders in 2018, stresses urgent climate change action now.
“It addresses the underlying causes of climate change and investing in regional adaptation and resilience building.
“Most recently, Forum Leaders have endorsed the landmark Declaration on Preserving Maritime Zones in the Face of Climate Change-related Sea Level Rise. Based on the spirit of the Convention of the Law of the Sea, the Declaration seeks to preserve our Blue Pacific home now, and into perpetuity.
“Looking to the future, Pacific Island Forum Members are developing the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific. The Strategy will be our collective regional vision and commitment to ensure the wellbeing and prosperity of our people. The strategy recognises climate change as a key driver of change requiring innovative approaches,” said SG Puna.
He said Forum Leaders have also endorsed the establishment of the Pacific Resilience Facility for upfront investment in the region resilience and preparedness.
“It is our financial instrument that will also mobilise resources towards Pacific-led science and technology for adaptation.
“Let me emphasise the critical importance of adaptation science, knowledge and investment to prepare and protect our Blue Pacific. It is our home, and with your help, it must always remain so,” he said.