PICAN Regional Coordinator, Lavetanalagi Seru

By Pita Ligaiula at COP28 in Dubai, UAE

The Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN) Regional Coordinator, Lavetanalagi Seru has delivered a straightforward message in Dubai on the priorities of Pacific civil society at COP28.

“Over the next two weeks, we’ll be building pressure both inside and outside of the negotiations to ensure that our leaders and representatives at COP are able to secure some of the goals, securing the 1.5 that’s critical for the Pacific, ensuring that the Loss and Damage Fund responds to the urgency and the scale and the needs of our Pacific Islander communities,” Seru said.

Seru stressed the need for COP28 to yield pledges for climate finance, specifically in the form of grants that are accessible and simplified, benefiting the most vulnerable communities on the frontline of climate change.

He also advocated for the Pacific Resilience Facility (PRF) to ensure direct access to climate finance for communities facing the immediate impacts of climate change.

During the two weeks, PICAN plans to conduct sideline sessions and discussions with various umbrella groups, supporting Pacific Island countries in the negotiations.

Highlighting key outcomes desired from COP28, Seru emphasised the need for strong language around fossil fuel phase-out, the tripling of renewable energy, doubling energy efficiency, and a robust mitigation work programme.

This year, as a critical moment for global reflection through the Global Stocktake, he hoped governments would use the opportunity to elevate climate ambition and action.

When questioned about the adequacy of the language around fossil fuel phase-down, given the severity of the situation, Seru was unequivocal.

“No, from civil society, we don’t think the language around fossil fuel phase-down is strong enough,” he stressed.

Given the real impacts on communities, including death, food shortages, water insecurity, and health concerns, he stressed the need for stronger language reflecting the urgency of the situation.

As PICAN’s representatives engage in discussions and negotiations over the next two weeks, their message remains clear: the Pacific demands ambitious, actionable outcomes that address the immediate threats faced by its people and the broader global community.