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Pacific Island states occupy the top categories in the World Risk Index for natural hazards. For low-lying island states climate change poses an existential threat, and the region is increasingly recognised as the most immediately vulnerable region to potential mass migration and relocation due to climate change.
The Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN) as the largest network of civil society organisations in the Pacific is calling on 40 world leaders who will be attending the Biden summit on climate change to pressure the U.S to increase its commitment into the Green Climate Fund. Whilst Biden’s plan to give US$1.8 billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), while welcome, is not nearly enough to meet the crippling costs of climate adaptation and loss & damage in the Pacific Region. Insufficient investment in Pacific and developing country climate action is a major security risk for the United States. More finance for climate action now will reduce the unbelievable sums spent by the U.S on its military: US$753 billion.
Loss and Damage stemming from climate change, including the economic and non-economic costs, have overwhelmed the capacity of Pacific nations to fully function as sovereign nations, with accessible, predictable and grant-based finance an immediate need.
PICAN Climate Justice Project officer Lorenzo Raplili stated that “the Biden administration should give more funding to the GCF, especially as the U.S has wholly neglected it’s obligations to the Paris Agreement during four years of the Trump administration. 1.8 billion announced at the Biden Summit is not enough, especially since the GCF does not yet have a funding window specifically for Loss & Damage. We need to see compensation for loss and damage historically caused by the US, and now directly attributable to climate change. “
It is known the marginalisation of Loss and Damage has also been playing out within the UNFCCC secretariat and incoming presidency to the 2021 UN Climate Summit hosted by the UK. They are trying to hide Loss and Damage under a theme of Adaptation and Resilience; despite loss and damage being raised continuously by developing countries as a vital component in the effort to tackle climate change. It is necessary that Loss and Damage be reflected prominently, both as a theme for discussions and as a focus of action, in the lead up to, and beyond COP 26.
“Loss and damage must not be a hidden agenda at COP26. Pacific leaders who are not part of the Biden summit must ensure that the work on Loss and Damage under the UNFCCC must focus on addressing loss and damage in COP26, as it is essential to build the kind of global solidarity we need in ensuring that the vulnerable developing countries are supported” said Belyndar Rikimani, Vice-President of Pacific Islands Students Fighting for Climate Change.
Vanuatu Leader of the opposition MP Ralph Regenvanu said that it is high time for the UN Climate talks to deliver on finance for climate action, especially for addressing Loss and Damage. Vanuatu has participated in good faith for 26 long years of global talks, but now we have reached an inflection point, it is time to turn the rhetoric into real dollars for those who are suffering around the world from climate injustice, both in the U.S and in poor countries of the global South.
The Biden summit is an opportunity for the U.S to rejoin global efforts to address climate change after the Trump administration pulled the country from the Paris Climate accord and dismantled environment regulations. The U.S. is the world’s second biggest carbon emitter, behind China.
For more information about the PICAN climate justice programme, or about the campaign for an International Court of Justice opinion on climate change responsibility, contact email@example.com
Pacific Islands News Association
Who & What is PINA?
International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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