Pacific Gender Champion and Niue's Minister for Natural Resources, Mona Ainu’u

By Pita Ligaiula at COP28 in Dubai, UAE

Niue’s Minister for Natural Resources, Mona Ainu’u, has issued a powerful call to both the United States and Australia for stronger commitments in climate action and collaboration in the face of pressing challenges in the Pacific.

Minister Ainu’u, who extensively collaborates with the United States in the fishery sector and climate change strategy, issued a specific call to the U.S “If you’re going to pledge assistance to the Pacific, please make sure you commit to what is pledged,” she urged.

Acknowledging the relative scale of U.S contributions, she emphasised the importance of recognising the Pacific’s alignment with allies.

“I had a conversation with one of the United States Representatives that came to the Pacific, and I said, ‘Hey, for a while, you forgot about us. And now with the geopolitics going on, you come back.’ We’ve always aligned ourselves with our allies, always here to support, to pledge, and commit for the betterment of everyone, but you have to recognise that you have to do more,” Ainu’u stated.

Expressing concern over piecemeal support, Ainu’u called for sustained and meaningful engagement, urging the U.S to play a more active role in addressing the unique challenges faced by Pacific nations.

Turning her attention to Australia, Minister Ainu’u acknowledged the robust relationship but called for a deeper commitment to the Pacific.

“Australia is one of them. We have a very robust relationship, a good relationship with Australian just, as we do with New Zealand,” she affirmed. Stressing the importance of family harmony, Ainu’u urged Australia to consider the Pacific’s needs seriously.

“To live in harmony, the Pacific family must hear what the other is trying to say. We need Australia to reduce some of its ambitions and truly understand what is happening in the Pacific. It’s crucial for us to work together and ensure that the language used to identify Pacific issues is grounded in our reality,” Ainu’u explained.

Minister Ainu’u also called on Australia to step up efforts, especially in addressing environmental challenges and moving away from issues within its borders.

As the world looks toward COP28, the Pacific’s leaders continue to advocate for stronger partnerships, commitments, and collaboration to ensure the region’s sustainable and resilient future.

Minister Ainu’u’s remarks underscore the urgency for concrete actions to address the Pacific’s unique challenges and strengthen its ties with global allies.