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No Room For COVID Delays On Climate Action- Pacific Leaders

PIFS HQ, Suva-FIJI, December 10, 2020–Pacific Island Forum Leaders are meeting in a high–level event timed to mark five years of the Paris Agreement. Their intention is to ensure urgent climate change action, now, and that we limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The Kainaki II to COP 26 High Level Roundtable on Urgent Climate Change Action on Friday evening Fiji time will bring together Forum Leaders with their 18 international Forum Dialogue Partners including the United Kingdom’s COP 26 President Designate, Right Honourable Alok Sharma. It will feature an opening statement by UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, also attending the global Climate Ambition Summit this weekend.

“We are already facing the reality of climate change even at the current level of 1.2 degree Celsius. Greenhouse gas emissions have reached record levels and are rising. If we do not act now, many of our low-lying atoll islands will be uninhabitable within our lifetimes. We have no time to lose,” said Pacific Forum Chair, the Honourable Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Kausea Natano.

“As the Blue Pacific continent, the Kainaki II Declaration is our call on humanity to reset and take immediate and decisive climate change action,” said Prime Minister Natano.

Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor says Forum Leaders worked long and hard to reach consensus on the Kainaki II Declaration on Urgent Climate Change Action Now. The Declaration, named after the hall where the Leaders met and negotiated the final text, is the definitive and strongest Forum position ever on climate change.

“The commitment, ambition, and action called for by our Pacific Leaders, who hosted the UN Secretary-General in Fiji, Tuvalu and Vanuatu in 2019, has been consistent and clear. We have gone past the tipping point and the science is showing that urgent and decisive action is what we need to come back from the brink,” said Secretary General Taylor.

“In 2015, the Paris COP delivered a milestone agreement after decades of negotiations, setting the goal for limiting global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius. Today, we stand at 1.2 degrees Celsius. Time is running out fast. Our Forum Leaders intend to focus on solutions, actions, and big decisions towards COP26.”

Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor said the COVID-19 pandemic, despite its devastating impact on global lives and livelihoods, “must not be an excuse for inaction. Rather, the Pacific sees the pandemic as a catalyst for greater climate change ambition, more urgent action, and building back better. This generation of world leaders, of business leaders, of citizens, has the opportunity to make the necessary policy and behavioural change. The science is clear. Our Leaders are clear. We must all act, and act now.”

There are currently 18 Dialogue Partners to the Forum – Canada, People’s Republic of China, Cuba, European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States. The Dialogue Partners collectively account for 67% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Pacific Small Island Developing States emissions are only a fraction of a percentage point

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