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Pacific Leaders Call for Regional Solidarity in Addressing Climate Challenges in Post-2015 Framework

26 February 2013: Representatives of Pacific island states called for regional solidarity in addressing climate challenges at a one-day consultation on post-2015 development, held in Dili, Timor-Leste, on 26 February 2013.

The consultation took place immediately before the International Development for All Conference in Dili, and was hosted by the Government of Timor-Leste and supported by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), involving delegates, heads of state and ministers from 47 countries. The outcome will feed into the report of the UN High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP) to the UN Secretary-General.

Opening the Pacific consultation, ESCAP Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer noted the current review of the Pacific Plan being coordinated through the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). She affirmed Pacific island states' leadership on sustainable development initiatives, including their investigations of alternative well-being criteria, and their engagement in national and regional green economy dialogues and action. Heyzer highlighted a forthcoming UN project to enable climate-affected people in the Pacific to migrate with dignity, organized by ESCAP, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and supported by the EU. She applauded the leadership shown by some Pacific island states in making renewable energy commitments, acquiring land overseas, and introducing environmental and resource taxes. She looked forward to the consultation outcomes being incorporated in preparations towards the 2014 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Global Conference, to be held in Samoa.

According to the Government of Fiji, Pacific delegates identified five crucial issues: economic growth; environmental and natural resource management, including climate change issues; state effectiveness; peace and justice; and improving social services. On climate change, delegates considered its impacts, in particular for Tuvalu, Kiribati and other low-lying island states, calling for regional solidarity in addressing climate change to ensure that Pacific voices are heard. On social services, they agreed that improvements in health and education services would be needed, and that women, youth, children, persons with disabilities and the elderly should be included in discussions of national interest. [Statement of Noeleen Heyzer] [Government of Fiji Press Release] [Website of Pacific Plan Review] [IISD RS Story on International Conference on Development for All]