Responding to the call from our Pacific Islands as we battle climate change the greatest threat to our survival, the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable has made history as it reconvenes today for the first time since 2017.

Navigating its way forward, this PCCR event is focused on finalising a governance structure to direct the reinvigorated event, as well as an agreement on the ongoing role and objectives. Across the three-day meeting, the PCCR will also see Pacific Islands agree upon process for advancing agreed thematic priority areas and cement ongoing donor and partner engagement.

Our challenges brought to our Pacific homes from climate change is one that Pacific people consistently work toward adapting and mitigating.

Between 2010 to 2021, Pacific Islands received a total of USD$3.4 billion in climate finance predominantly as grants. Yet this is not enough, the problem is much larger than this.

The International Monetary Fund has estimated that Pacific islands countries each need between 6.5 percent and nine percent of Gross Domestic Product per year in financing on average for adaptation infrastructure. This equates to almost USD$1 billion per year.

The Pacific Climate Change Roundtable is just one option requested by Pacific Islands to help strengthen their ability to address this greatest threat to our survival.

“We are fully committed and dedicated to working with all designated Pacific Island Countries and Territories to respond to the climate change emergency as the first major threat to security, human wellbeing, and Pacific livelihoods,” said Veronique Roger-Lacan, French Ambassador for the Pacific and Permanent Representative to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Pacific Community as she addressed the PCCR through a video message.

“As such we deeply acknowledge and support the reconvening of the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable as a dedicated platform to enhance regional coordination and dialogue on climate change.”

From 2008-2017 the PCCR functioned as the premier climate change mechanism to coordinate and facilitate climate change dialogue and networking in the region and to link global and regional stakeholders with the national and community levels.

This was replaced by the Pacific Resilience Partnership through the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific that unites both the Pacific climate change and disaster risk management communities. While this continues, the PCCR is an additional vehicle to support our Pacific Islands.

Without a dedicated regional platform for exchange on climate change-specific issues over the last seven years, SPREP Members have increasingly raised the need for enhanced coordination on climate change, leading to an outcome at the 2023 SPREP meeting which endorsed the reconvening of the PCCR in 2024.

Going forward, the PCCR will be the regional platform that provides countries with the vehicle to highlight their adaptation, mitigation, finance, and other priorities amongst others for advancing national and regional responses to the adverse impacts of climate change.

It will also be the coordination mechanism that Members can use to amplify their national challenges and successes, advance regional aims and leverage regional opportunities, collectively.

“The responsibility of work falls on the shoulders of each individual attending today to build our adaptive capacity to increase and strengthen our resilience to the adverse impacts of climate change, to contribute towards the global mitigation movement by way of a just transition away from fossil fuel dependency, and minimise the associated loss and damage that is likely to occur within the borders of our countries,” stated Sefanaia Nawadra, Director General of SPREP.

“To accomplish this, it is imperative that we work together, as a collective because where there is unity there is strength, commitment, and the desire to overcome challenges that lay ahead.”

The Pacific Climate Change Roundtable is held from 8 – 10 May in Samoa. It is attended by the Governments of American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, New Zealand, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, and Vanuatu along with Council of the Regional Organisations of the Pacific partners – Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Pacific Community.