13 August 2019
A key topic at the Pacific Forum Meeting in Tuvalu will be developing countries are not doing enough to tackle the climate crisis and a call for a global end to coal production.
The Pacific Islands Forum meeting is taking place this week in the tiny island nation of Tuvalu and the leaders of Australia and New Zealand are likely to face tough questions over their respective stand on climate change action.
The Australian Prime Minister, one day ahead of the meeting, has announced that Australia will fund a big renewable energy, climate change package.
The package reportedly include plans to spend $US3.4 million - from existing aid funds - over the next five years on renewable energy, ensuring infrastructure withstands climate change, and ensuring health services respond to changing needs.
Mr Morrison said Australia recognised the climate challenges the region faces and is doing its bit to help.
He also said his government is doing its bit to cut emissions, something Pacific leaders are highly sceptical of.
The funding, while welcome, is unlikely to placate the region's leaders who want the region's biggest economy to do more to cut emissions - so adaptation won't be necessary.
New Zealand's Pacific minister has said he isn’t expecting any heat to be directed his way when he meets the region's leaders this week.
Aupito William Sio is in Tuvalu for the Pacific Islands Forum, ahead of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's arrival on Wednesday.
Pacific leaders - particularly the prime minister of Tuvalu, whose country is one of the most threatened by climate change - have been critical of the region's two largest economies, New Zealand and Australia, for their climate ambitions.
Aupito said his government will be telling the region it's firmly committed to action.
"They are quite clear on where we are in terms of our carbon free policy. We will continue working along that. The Pacific will keep pointing that out because New Zealand and Australia do have a responsibility to the Pacific region from a New Zealand perspective we are in and part of the Pacific. This is our home and so we have a responsibility to continue engaging," said Aupito William Sio.
In separate news, newly formed group of Pacific young people is pressing the Pacific Islands Forum to take its climate crisis concerns to the International Court of Justice.
The Pacific Island Students Fighting Climate Change group has received support from over twenty academics including leading professors in international and environmental law from universities such as Cambridge, Yale and Harvard.
It wants Forum leaders to act on its proposal for meaningful efforts to seek climate justice at the highest level globally.
The students want Forum backing for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on countries' obligations under international law to protect both present and future generations against the effects of climate change.
Students from eight Pacific countries studying at the University of the South Pacific got together in March this year and have since been joined by others from around the region.
News sources – Radio New Zealand.