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Rudd, Clark must act on climate displacement

Media Release
Embargo : 5am Sunday August 17, 2008

Rudd and Clark must act on Pacific climate displacement

Over 100 representatives of non-government organisations from across the Asia-Pacific - including the main Pacific peak bodies and NGOs - have made an urgent call for Australian PM Kevin Rudd and NZ PM Helen Clark to do more to help the Pacific with climate change, in particular increased immigration and resettlement.

The groups, including church, environment, aid, union and community organisations, have released an Open Letter ahead of next Tuesday's Pacific Islands Leadership Forum to be held in Niue. Kevin Rudd and Helen Clark will also meet to discuss climate change on Monday

The organisations warn that climate change is already hurting the Pacific and that large scale displacement of Pacific Islanders must be addressed.

The letter sets out a six point action plan including assistance for resettlement within the Pacific and an increase in permanent migration from the Pacific region to Australia and New Zealand. Australia will announce a guest worker program with the Pacific at the forum.

"The recently released Draft Report of the Garnaut Review warned that the world will see large numbers of climate change refugees, particularly in the Pacific”, Damien Lawson, Friends of the Earth Australia said.

"Low lying island nations such as Tuvalu and Kiribati are already facing rising seas, storms and king tides that are having a terrible impact. We could see sea level rises of several metres this century. For Tuvalu, which has an average height of less than two metres, that is a disaster."

"Professor Garnaut also said that there is an expectation by the international community and Pacific countries that Australia and New Zealand should provide assistance with this displacement."

"There needs to be substantial resources allocated to assist with resettlement within the Pacific, but central to any solution will also be increased migration to Australia and New Zealand."

"Plans for increased labor mobility such as guest worker programs are not enough. Permanent migration can build stability and resources that will assist with adaption and building resilience in the Pacific."

"The Pacific Island Leadership Forum is an opportunity to work with Pacific Island countries on a plan to assist with large scale displacement. Australia and New Zealand can not sit on its hands and wait for the disaster to come. Now is the time for action.”

--

NB: Open letter to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and New Zealand-Aotearoa Prime Minister Helen Clark follows


An Open letter to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and
New Zealand-Aotearoa Prime Minister Helen Clark

Dear Prime Ministers,

Your action needed on climate change in the Pacific

We represent a range of communities and non-government organisations in the Asia-Pacific, Australia and New Zealand-Aotearoa. Without immediate action, hundreds of thousands of people will be displaced by climate change in the coming decades. Pacific Islanders are already affected, with their islands very vulnerable to sea level rises, storm surge and loss of food security and water supplies.
The Pacific Islands Forum next week is an opportunity to define a more concrete program of action to assist Pacific Islanders.
We welcome past acknowledgment of the problem the Pacific faces and expressions of a willingness to help, but now is the time for action. Therefore we call on the Australian and New Zealand Governments to recognise the urgency of climate change and the particular threat it poses to the peoples of the Pacific.
The Australia and New Zealand governments must begin a real process of partnership with Pacific Island countries in finding ways to prepare for and assist with the resettlement of Pacific Island people who will be displaced by global warming.
In particular the follow actions must be taken:
• substantial and urgent mitigation efforts by Australia and New Zealand;
• strong advocacy internationally for urgent action by developed countries to reduce greenhouse pollution and de-carbonise their economies;

• a commitment of substantial resources, in addition to existing aid programs, to adaptation projects and funding for evacuation and resettlement within and between Pacific Island countries;

• a substantial increase in permanent migration from Pacific Island countries to Australia and New Zealand to help build relationships with Australia and New Zealand and to build resilience and independent resources in Pacific Island countries;

• the establishment of a special humanitarian stream within the immigration program for climate affected people;

• strong advocacy internationally for an international legal framework for assisting people displaced by climate change.

Words are not enough and waiting for the catastrophic sea level rises is not acceptable. Australia and New Zealand have the responsibility and capacity to act now. They should begin to do so.
Anything less will be seen as a betrayal of the people most affected by climate change but least responsible for it.

Yours Sincerely

Signatories follow

Australia
Damien Lawson, National Climate Justice Coordinator, Friends of the Earth Australia
Rev Jason Kioa, Moderator, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Uniting Church in Australia
Andrew Hewett, Executive Director, Oxfam Australia
Cate Faehrmann, Executive Director, Nature Conservation Council of NSW
Mark Wakeham, Campaigns Director, Environment Victoria
Stephen Campbell, Head of Campaigns, Greenpeace Australia Pacific
Thea Ormerod, Chair, Australian Religious Response to Climate Change
Jill Finnane Coordinator, Pacific Calling Partnership
Phil Glendenning, Director, Edmund Rice Centre
Fikau Teponga, Kaiga Tuvalu Victoria Inc
Fatima Hakaoro, Chairperson, Queensland Tuvalu Community
Adele Webb, National Coordinator, Jubilee Australia
Jeff Angel, Executive Director, Total Environment Centre, Australia
Nic Maclellan, Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific, Australia
Flint Duxfield, Director, AID/WATCH, Australia
Jacquie Svenson, Climate Action Coogee, Australia
Hammy Goonan, Australian Centre for Democracy and Justice, Australia
Judith Pembleton, Secretary, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Australia
Jack Smitt, Project SafeCom
Frank Ondrus, Coordinator, HOPE Australia
Steve Phillips, Rising Tide Australia
Janet Cavanaugh, Clarence Branch Secretary, Climate Change Australia
Jenny Curtis, Climate Change Balmain-Rozelle
Deborah Hart, Coordinator, LIVE (Locals Into Victoria’s Environment)
Gaetano Greco Chairperson, Darebin Ethnic Communities' Council

Pacific
Rajeshwar Singh, Chairman, South Pacific and Oceanic Council of Trade Unions (SPOCTU)
Annie Homasi, Co-ordinator, Tuvalu Association of Non-Government Organisations, (TANGO), Tuvalu
Celine Hoiore, General Secretary, Eglise Protestante Maohi, Tahiti, French Polynesia (Deputy Moderator, Pacific Conference of Churches)
Roko Timeon, Executive Director, Kiribati Association of Non Government Organisations (KANGO), Kiribati
Drew Havea, Chair, Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organisations (PIANGO), Tonga
Rex Horoi, Executive Director, Foundation of the People of the South Pacific International (FSPI), Fiji
Fiu Elisara, Executive Director, O Le Siosiomaga Society (OLSSI), Samoa
Tina Takashy, CEO, FSM Association of Non Government Organisations (FANGO), Federated States of Micronesia
Moale Vagi, Chair, Melanesian NGO Centre for Leadership (MNCL), Papua New Guinea
Margaret Sete, Executive Director, Melanesian NGO Centre for Leadership, (MNCL) Papua New Guinea
Sione Faka’osi, Director, Tonga Community Development Trust (TCDT), Kingdom of Tonga
Liliu Mailo, American Samoa Association of Non-Government Organisations (ASANGO), American Samoa.
Lorine Tevi, Fiji Council of Social Services (FCOSS), Fiji
Vereara Maeva Taripo, President, Cook Islands Association of NGOs (CIANGO), Cook Islands
Nooroa Rangi, Cook Islands Association of NGOs (CIANGO), Cook Islands
Fulai Nainoca, Program Co-ordinator, Partners in Community Development, Fiji
Kesaia Tabunakawai, Representative, WWF South Pacific, Fiji
Louise Heaps, Conservation Director, WWF South Pacific, Fiji
Rev. Tafua M Lusama, Chairman, Tuvalu Climate Action Network

Damien Ase, Executive Director, Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights, Papua New Guinea
Kenn Mondiai, Executive Director, Partners with Melanesians Inc, Papua New Guinea
Jacob Ramoi, Project Director, Managalas Development Foundation Inc, Papua New Guinea

Danny Kana, Board Chairman, Ona Keto Peoples Foundation Inc, Papua New Guinea

John Chitoa, Coordinator, Bismarck Ramu Group, Papua New Guinea

Ricardo Navarro, CESTA - Amigos de la Tierra, El Salvador

Isaac Rojas, Comunidades Ecologistas la Ceiba, Costa Rica
Thomas Parker, Executive Director, PNG Eco-forestry Forum , Papua New Guinea
Elizabeth Tonge, Executive Director, Widebay Conservation Association, Papua New Guinea
Arnold Tavatuna, Executive Director of East New Britain Social Ekson Inc, Papua New Guinea
John Ericho, Interim National Coordinator, Conservation Forum of Papua New Guinea
Ahohiva Levi, President, Niue Association of Non-Government Organisations (NIUANGO), Niue
Mike Ingpen, Secretary, South Pacific and Oceanic Council of Trade Unions (SPOCTU)
Tevita Koroi, President, Council of Pacific Education (COPE), Fiji
Alisi Dauvewa, Executive Director, Partners in Community Development, Fiji
Claire Cronin, Project Officer, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
Papiloa Bloomfield Foliaki, Vice Chair, Tonga Community Development Trust, Kingdom of Tonga
Emeli Esau, Project Co-ordinator, Tonga Community Development Trust, Kingdom of Tonga
Sereana Cokanasiga, Program Support Services Manager, FSPI, Fiji
Feofanaki Pocock, Matakau Vagahau, Niue
Victoria Gonchaova, Director, Marshall Islands Council of NGOs, Marshall Islands
Roina Vavatau, Chief Executive Officer, Samoa Umbrella of NGOs (SUNGO), Samoa
Gerida Tapati, Hiti Tau, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Edwina Kotoisuva, Deputy Director, Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC), Fiji
Emeline Siale Ilolahia, Executive Director, Civil Society Forum of Tonga (CSFT), Kingdom of Tonga
Finau Tutone, Board Member, Civil Society Forum of Tonga (CSFT), Kingdom of Tonga
Seni Nobou, Pacific Political Advisor, Greenpeace Pacific, Fiji
George L. Salas, Board member, Payuta, Guam

Aotearoa / New Zealand
Barry Coates, Executive Director, Oxfam New Zealand

Carmen Gravatt, Head of Campaigns, Greenpeace Aotearoa New Zealand
Justin Kemp, Program Officer, Council for International Development (CID) Aotearoa / New Zealand
Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition, Aotearoa / New Zealand
Betsan Martin, Director, Response, Aotearoa/New Zealand
Lo Aleke, President, Aupisa, Aotearoa / New Zealand
Maire Leadbetter, Spokesperson, Indonesia Human Rights Committee, Aotearoa / New Zealand
Edwina Hughes, Co-ordinator, Peace Movement Aotearoa
Joan Macdonald, Co-ordinator, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Aotearoa / New Zealand
Kevin McBride, Co-ordinator, Pax Christi, Aotearoa / New Zealand

Asia
Clemente Bautista, National Coordinator, Kalikasan-People's Network for the Environment, Philippines

Choony Kim, Korean Federation for Environmental Movement, South Korea
Maudesco/FoE Mauritius
Meenakshi Rameen, FOE-Malaysia
Geetha Lakmini Secretary, National Fisheries Solidarity Sri Lanka
Julia Schonharl,Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism, Thailand
Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao , Philippines

Max Tahu, La'o Hamutuk - Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis, Timor Leste

Ramananda Wangkheirakpam, North East Peoples Alliance on Trade Finance and Development, India
Campaign for Alternative Industry Network (CAIN), Thailand
Souparna Lahiri, National forum of Forest People & Forest Workers, India
Parshuram Tamang, International Centre for Indigenous Nationalities' Development, Nepal
Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum
Vince Cinches, Executive Director, FIDEC - Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center Inc, Philippines
Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum


ENDS

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