PACIFIC Island nations need to address the issue of climate change displaced communities as it affects livelihoods, culture and society, says Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga.
Speaking during a press conference at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) office in Suva yesterday, Mr Sopoaga said although it was a sensitive issue, island nations needed to work on a regional framework to determine resolutions on the issue.
“Maintaining sovereignty, self-determination, cultural identity and territorial rights are of primary concern to Pacific Islanders in any form. Forced displacement is a last option,” Mr Sopoaga said.
“In Tuvalu we are trying our utmost to protect and save our people so that we don’t have to move or be forced to leave our islands.
“The regional meeting on Climate Change and Migration in the Pacific last week has come out with a clear resolve to enhance and further develop work on a regional approach for people displaced by effects of climate change and the effects of labour mobility.
“There is a need to develop a regional framework, a regional understanding on those issues.”
Mr Sopoaga said these discussions were timely as the Paris Agreement had entered into force last month after meeting the required threshold.
“The loss and damage and the total disappearance of communities and their rights is important so this is the time for our region to make inputs based on our experiences from the islands.”