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Mana Moana Pacific Voices at COP26

‘Mana Moana – Pacific Voices’- a powerful collection of 11 poems to amplify and support the Pacific call to drive global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

“We will not come to speak numbers.

We will not be stuck in the small cages of spreadsheets.

We come accounting for generations to come:

knowing our blue bonds are to the ocean, earth and sky.”

–  Our Ancestors Speak, by Karlo ’Ulu’ave Mila

A compelling artistic work is harnessing the oratory skills of the Pacific to bring the heart-breaking reality of climate change from the islands to COP26.  ‘Mana Moana – Pacific Voices’ is a collection of emotive and artistic video works created to amplify and support our Pacific call to drive global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

The powerful collection of 11 poems was launched on 01 November 2021 at the UN climate change conference in Glasgow.  The Twenty-Sixth Conference of the Parties to the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change is reported to bring together 25,000 people for the global negotiations. A particular focus is completing the UNFCCC rulebook for implementation of the Paris Agreement. 

The Mana Moana – Pacific Voices is one way the Pacific are amplifying their voice at the event.

“Pacific Islanders are gifted in telling our story, our oratory nature is in our cultural make up as we have had to tell our story through the years, sharing our history through our lineage,” said Kosi Latu, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

“This project gives voice to our climate change challenges, in a way that we know how.  It allows us to share our voice beyond the science, statistics and policy speak, to reach people beyond their roles at these climate negotiations so they can feel our climate change stories.”.

Supported by Aotearoa New Zealand, SPREP has worked with Mana Moana, a collection of artists, to amplify the Pacific voice at COP26 through the Mana Moana – Pacific Voices.

The Mana Moana – Pacific Voices spans Our Ancestors Speak, a powerful work that is a call to arms for peoples across the Pacific and globally.  It was filmed in multiple locations featuring real people and voices from Aotearoa, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Guam, Hawaii, Kiribati, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Torres Strait Islands and Tuvalu.

Our Islands Speak, another part of Mana Moana – Pacific Voices, culminates 10 different poems from 10 different Pacific Island poets merging with indigenous artists to create a visual, moving, digitally enhanced offering in the series of poems hand-picked by special curator Dr Karlo Mila.

“These works have been designed to take tupuna – ancestors – and our Oceanic experiences – across the digital and pandemic divides – to arrive at COP26.” Said Dr Karlo ’Ulu’ave Mila Poet and Mana Moana special curator.

“We navigate vast distances as we always have, harnessing the technology at our fingertips, resourcefully, to strengthen the call from the Pacific at COP26 for a 1.5-degree Celsius world.” 

The Pacific islands region is amongst the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change despite contributing to less than 0.06% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The Paris Agreement commits to limiting global warming to well below 2, preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

The Paris Rulebook will be the mechanism that details how countries are to action the Paris Agreement to achieve a 1.5-degree Celsius world. For the Pacific Islands, this legally binding agreement is a promise of survival as the impacts of climate change reach across many different levels. 

The Mana Moana – Pacific Voices collection will be showcased throughout the COP26 at different events and platforms, including the Moana Blue Pacific events to help amplify the Pacific voice.

“We are pleased to welcome the support of our Pacific Island poets in telling our climate change stories,” said Latu.

“We hope this is the start of even greater opportunities to amplify our voice through our Pacific artists.”

The initiative is supported by Aotearoa New Zealand and coordinated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme with support from many Pacific islands people, organisations and communities.

These videos have been developed to be screened during the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) COP26 and other relevant climate change events.

This story was produced by Nanette, published at SPREP on 2 November 2021, reposted via PACNEWS.

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