Pacific Islanders present historic declaration to leaders at COP27


Pacific island youth met with Australian and Pacific Island leaders at COP27 this week, to present their demands on decarbonisation, additional loss and damage commitments and accessible climate finance.

Speaking to the new Australian Ambassador for climate change, Kristin Tilley, Pacific civil society representatives shared the Kioa Climate Emergency Declaration, a historic document drafted on the shores of Kioa Island in Fiji.

Pacific island youth also presented the declaration to the Pacific Island Forum Leaders. Pacific Managing Director, Joseph Sikulu said,“Australia has historically been a big challenge for us, with their insistence on the expansion of coal, one of the leading causes of the climate crisis. It was encouraging to meet with Ambassador Tilley at COP27 and have her receive the Kioa Declaration with interest. With the recent change in government, we hope that Australia will step up their climate commitments. If Australia is truly a genuine neighbor to the Pacific, they will move beyond their addiction to coal and support the repair of communities impacted by the climate crisis with new and additional loss and damage finance.”

The launch of the declaration comes just as a number of nations announced pledges for loss and damage finance, with New Zealand committing $20million (US$11.9 million). However, wealthy nations have a responsibility to ensure that loss and damage funding is not only sufficient and additional, but is also accessible to the communities that most need it.

The Kioa Climate Emergency Declaration includes a commitment from Pacific civil societies to our people, in the form of the Kioa Pledge – a pledge to work together to run and sustain the development of a Kioa Finance Mechanism. The Kioa Finance Mechanism will be a platform that clears the pathway for communities to access funding and resources for the projects needed in their homes, villages and islands.

Brianna Fruean, Pacific Climate Warrior said,“The Pacific continues to show what true climate leadership looks like. From their key role in the Paris Agreement, to Tuvalu’s historic endorsement of the Fossil Fuel Treaty yesterday, to this Kioa Climate Emergency Declaration. We have fought tooth and nail for our people and our islands, and we are asking COP27 delegates to do the same.”

Selina Pulini Tikoibua, Pacific Coordinator for Loss and Damage Youth Coalition said, “Pacific Islanders are known to be resilient but our resilience cannot be taken advantage of. Actions need to be taken, big governments need to be held responsible for their actions and compensate for loss and damage faced by our fragile communities.”

Ulaiasi Tuikoro, Community Outreach Officer for Pacific Youth Council said, “This a voice of hope and transition for the youth of the Pacific. For years, we have tried to fight for policies to address climate change, but without enough action taking place. We hope leaders will hear us now that we have a declaration, not just from national leaders, but from representatives of our communities.”

Lavetanalagi Seru, Regional Policy Coordinator for the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network said, “The Kioa Declaration and its associated finance mechanism is one that is rooted in justice, equity and inclusion. Not only are Pacific communities at the frontlines being disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis, but they are also dealing with the challenges of accessing real time support, and resources to be able to deal with this existential threat. We hope that our neighbours, like Australia and New Zealand and the rest of the developed world are truly listening. We need to act now to save our region and the future of humanity.”.