Pacific Islands Forum Communiqué Addresses Climate Change

5 August 2010: The 41st meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum, which took place in Port Vila, Vanuatu, from 4-5 August 2010, concluded with the issuance of a Communiqué, which contains a section on climate change.

According to the Communiqué, climate change remains the greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific. Pacific leaders stress the need for a meaningful legally-binding agreement on emissions reduction to be reached urgently and without delay. In anticipation of significantly increased flows of resources to the region as a result of the commitments made at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in late 2009, Pacific leaders also underscore the need for strengthened country-led systems for the coordination of these resources with, where appropriate, support from their regional organizations and development partners, to enable Forum Island Countries to realize the full benefit of international financing commitments to support implementation of climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts, help build the resilience of vulnerable countries, and enhance the transparency of funding flows based on identified national and regional priorities.

In addition, Pacific leaders agree on a series of principles to guide Forum Island Countries and development partners in promoting more effective coordination and implementation of climate change adaptation and mitigation actions, such as: mobilizing sufficient and sustainable resources, based on existing and predicted impacts; ensuring that resources are timely, easily accessible, and commensurate with administrative and absorptive capacities of Pacific Island Countries and their systems; integrating climate change adaptation and mitigation into broader national development efforts; ensuring that adaptation and mitigation measures are country-led and supported in a coordinated way by development partners; and, as far as practicable, supporting these measures through Forum Island Country systems and processes including, where appropriate, regional systems.

Leaders further welcome: Kiribati's initiative to host the Tarawa Climate Change Conference in November 2010, gathering countries vulnerable to the impact of climate change and major economies ahead of the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the UNFCCC scheduled to take place in late 2010 in Cancun, Mexico; and New Zealand's offer to host the 2011 Pacific Islands Forum from 6-9 September 2011.

On 4 August, meeting participants heard a message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, delivered by Thomas Stelzer, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). In the message, Ban stressed the need for closer international cooperation to help Pacific island countries combat the impact of climate change. He encouraged Pacific nations to maintain “engagement at the highest level” with the UN High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, and pointed to the upcoming summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) scheduled for mid-September 2010. The Secretary-General also stated that the situation in the region is relevant to the entire international community because “resettling whole populations outside national boundaries is under consideration.”

The meeting was attended by Heads of State and Government of the Cook Islands, Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu, as well as representatives from Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, New Caledonia and French Polynesia, Timor-Leste, Tokelau, Wallis and Futuna, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Commonwealth Secretariat and the UN. [Ban's Message] [Forum Communiqué] [Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on the Opening of the Meeting]