Fiji’s former Ambassador to the UN, Satyendra Prasad.

By Pita Ligaiula at COP28 in Dubai

Fiji’s former Ambassador to the UN, Satyendra Prasad, has stressed the critical role of oceans in the fight against climate change at COP negotiation.

Advocating for the integration of oceans into the main climate change agenda at COP, Ambassador Prasad emphasised the urgency of addressing the ocean and climate nexus.

“The ocean provides one of the largest greenhouse gas emissions reduction possibilities, around 35 percent.

“In the Pacific, we are focused on pushing for 1.5 degrees Celsius. Losing 1.5 is like saying let us gaslight the blue Pacific,” Ambassador explained.

He emphasised the dire consequences beyond 1.5 degrees, citing acidification, deoxygenation, warming, and the collapse of coral reefs.

Ambassador Prasad also acknowledged the significance of Pacific leaders and civil society attending the COP28 in Dubai.

“Leaders and civil society have not travelled to Dubai to bury 1.5 in the desert sand, and that’s a very important message,” he said.

Turning to the ocean space, Ambassador Prasad highlighted the lack of global efforts and called for all countries to prioritise oceans in their nationally determined contributions and climate strategies.

“Ocean states like ours should simply be doing that needs to be recognised,” he explained.

Ambassador Prasad proposed a concrete target, suggesting that all countries should double their blue component of the NDC within the next two to three years.

He called for global consensus on the ocean and climate nexus, urging for a dedicated percentage of resources from funds like the Green Climate Fund(GCF) and the Global Environment Fund(GEF) to be allocated to oceans.

“My message to Pacific leaders is to please allow the negotiating space to agree. When we lock this in, resources will begin to flow, action will begin to happen, and countries will be held accountable for the required actions,” said Ambassador Prasad.