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By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in Rio de Janeiro
The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has used the opportunity at the Rio+20 conference in Rio de Janeiro to promote its Declaration of Environment and Climate, recently signed by MSG Leaders in Fiji.
Vanuatu Prime Minister, Meltek Sato Kilman Livtuvanu, who stood in for MSG chairman, Fiji’s Prime Minister, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said the declaration demonstrates the group’s commitment to fighting climate change, whose impacts are already being felt by communities in MSG countries.
The sub-regional group comprises Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the FLNKS of New Caledonia.
PM Kilman said a framework for green growth has been adopted by MSG Leaders as the basis for development.
“The MSG green growth framework will be focused on enhancing economic growth and development through the avoidance of loss of biodiversity and unsustainable use of natural resources, and the prevention of environmental degradation with a view to improve the livelihoods of its people.
He said MSG countries have the largest mangrove, sea grass and coastal swamp areas in the Pacific region.
In recognition of this, ‘we have called for a Melanesian Blue Carbon Initiative to inform decision makers in Melanesia on the scale and value of these areas and strategise on how to conserve and manage these resources.
In addition, the MSG will also establish Melanesian Terrestrial Commitment for the conservation, sustainable management and restoration of terrestrial environment and ecosystems.
“While richer nations can try to ‘buy’ protection in the form of engineered solutions, people in developing countries like us in Melanesia who are bearing the brunt of the impacts need a proven, accessible and affordable option,” said PM Kilman.
The MSG he said recognises that to achieve these commitments, climate financing is required.
To this end, MSG Leaders at their recent meeting in Fiji in March this year, resolved to set up Melanesia Green climate Fund to mobilise investments from potential donors to effectively address the adaptation needs of MSG communities.
PM Kilman used the Pacific Island side event, convened by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to urge potential donors and partners to support MSG’s climate change initiatives.
The MSG covers a land area greater than 500,000 square kilometres and includes almost 2,000 islands, the flora and fauna of the Pacific region. It is also one of the world’s most significant biodiversity areas – both terrestrial and marine.
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