Pacific Islands Leaders Call for Climate Leadership
7 September 2013: In the context of calls for concrete action to ensure the survival of small island developing States (SIDS), the 44th Pacific Islands Forum convened under the theme 'Marshalling the Pacific Response to the Climate Challenge.' The meeting concluded with the adoption of the Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership, underlining the need for urgent action at all levels to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The meeting, which took place from 3-6 September 2013, in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands, was opened by Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Secretary General, who stressed that climate change is "a real and most serious threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific."
Addressing the Forum, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres highlighted examples in the Pacific States where the transformation towards low carbon and high resilience action in the private sector, national policies and international collaboration is taking place, welcoming leadership on climate change. She encouraged Pacific States to continue moving from a "you-go-first" stance to a "let-me-lead" approach on climate change, for the national benefit of the islands.
The Majuro Declaration reflects the view of Pacific Islands' representatives, confirming the responsibility "of all" to act, which "falls to every government, every company, every organization and every person with the capacity to do so, both individually and collectively" and be "climate leaders." In the Declaration, Pacific leaders welcome “the significant benefits that come with our transition to renewable, clean and sustainable energy sources.” In addition to signing the Declaration, 15 countries and territories across the Pacific made commitments to specific renewable energy targets in their energy policies.
In a message delivered by Gyan Chandra Acharya, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries and SIDS, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the particular vulnerability of the region to climate change. He noted that the upcoming Climate Change Summit in New York, US, to be held in 2014 with the participation of world's leaders to catalyze ambitious action and mobilizing political will for a "universal and comprehensive agreement in 2015." He also underscored next year's Third International Conference on SIDS as a unique opportunity to inform the run-up to the 2015 agreement. [Address by Christiana Figueres] [Ban Ki-moon's Message] [Pacific Islands Forum Website] [Majuro Declaration] [IRENA Press Release] [Slade's Statement]