Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Kausea Natano says as Pacific nations recover from the socio-economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, “we face the single greatest existential threat of climate change”.
For Tuvalu, the climate crisis is creating an increasingly uncertain future in our Blue Pacific, he said.
“In three words, we are sinking. Our people, in my generation or the next, will be unable to exist on the islands that have nurtured our ancestors for centuries.
We are raising ambition in climate action, but we also have to prepare for a worst case scenario,” said PM Natano while addressing the ESCAP CS79 High Level Plenary on Accelerating Climate action in Pacific.
PM Natano emphasised the need for countries to become more resilient to the impacts of climate change, and must be the front and centre of the region’s post-pandemic recovery.
“I commend ESCAP for highlighting the transformation required for enhanced climate ambition and action. Tuvalu supports regional frameworks and architecture on climate-smart trade and investment, climate finance, energy transition, low carbon transport and strengthening ofstatistical capacity. These areas of action are important policy strategies in the Pacific.
As a leader of one of the smallest islands nations of the Pacific if not the world, we must take these recommendations forward within the context of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent,” PM Natano stressed.
Tuvalu’s national development policies, including its Te Kete 2021–2030 vision, have identified policy priorities which are consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals, he said.
“Last year, with the launch of the Tuvalu National Trade Development Strategy (2022-2026) and our first ever Voluntary National Review, our government’s policies are very much aligned with the overall sustainability and climate-smart trade and digital policy options articulated in the Theme Study. We are doing our part, so I urge development partners and the international community to come and join forces in our journey.
Like other developing countries, least developed countries and small island developing States, Tuvalu needs predictable and adequate climate finance to mitigate and adapt to climate impact,” Natano said.
Natano said Pacific small island developing States face the largest economic losses due to the frequent occurrence of natural and biological hazards.
“The Theme Study recommends the creation of a regional fund to defray the costs of member States in preparing low-carbon-transition or energy-transition projects and encourages the adoption of green technologies, including preparing policies to decarbonise the transport sector.
This recommendation resonates very strongly with Tuvalu. We have been advocating for many years on the need to scale up financing as we confront limited fiscal space and growing debt vulnerabilities. In this regard, we step up our call for enhanced transparency of financial flows and facilitating access to developing countries, least developed countries and small island developing States. Let’s work together to turn commitments into action,” he said.
Natano said ESCAP’s proposed regional platform is essential to support climate related action.
“Aligned to this, I am pleased to see our progress in the development of the Pacific Regional Framework for Climate Mobility, a unique initiative of the UN, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and other regional partners together with Pacific nations. We know well that climate action requires inclusive multilateralism and regional cooperation in synergy with the 2030 Agenda, SAMOA Pathway and the Paris Agreement commitments.
“I count on the leadership and support of the ESCAP membership in accelerating climate action in the Pacific and beyond. We need to uphold the principles of regional cooperation and solidarity to achieve net-zero and keep global warming within 1.5°C,” said PM Natano.