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NZ urged to heed Pacific calls for stronger climate action

NZ urged to heed Pacific calls for stronger climate action

Pacific leaders, including New Zealand and Australia, are set to come together in Papua New Guinea next week for the most important annual political meeting for the region.

Climate change will be high on the agenda at The Pacific Islands Leaders Forum which comes just six months after cyclone Pam brought devastation to the Pacific and less than three months before critical global climate change negotiations in Paris.

Rachael Le Mesurier, Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand, said: “Climate change remains the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of people in the Pacific. Despite contributing the least to global pollution, Pacific Islanders are being hit first and worst by it. They are watching as their land is swallowed by the sea, their homes are destroyed by extreme weather events and their water and food sources are wiped out by king tides.”

The Forum follows international condemnation of New Zealand and Australia’s recent poor commitments towards tackling climate change. And it falls amidst ever greater efforts by Pacific Island leaders and civil society to spur international action and cooperation against climate change ahead of critical talks at the UN climate meeting in Paris in November.

“Oxfam is calling for New Zealand and Australia to join Pacific Island leaders in making an ambitious political statement on efforts to tackle climate change in the lead up to the UN climate change conference in November. More importantly, New Zealand and Australia must increase their climate targets and take action consistent with their status as high-emitting, industrialised countries,” said Le Mesurier.

“Despite being one of the wealthiest Forum member countries, New Zealand has done as little as possible so as not to appear complacent on the issue of climate change. The recently announced emissions reduction target of 11% below 1990 levels by 2030 is a slap in the face to our Pacific neighbours, it’s time for the New Zealand government to step up and support a climate agreement that delivers for the world’s most vulnerable communities.

“The New Zealand and Australian governments need to fully recognise the dangers facing Pacific Island countries and territories, and work hand in hand at this years Pacific Island Forum, as a united Pacific towards solutions.” she said.


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