Posted inStory / Samoa

Samoa Prime Minister Tells COP26 – “There Are No Trade-offs, We Are Negotiating the Survival of Our Islands.”

Samoa’s PM says the Blue Pacific needs to inject urgency and ambitious actions to deliver the needed climate action

As the Pacific awaits the outcomes of the world’s largest climate change conference in Glasgow, Samoa calls for world leaders to act with the same urgency as that applied for the global COVID-19 vaccination programme.

To do so, the world needs to implement ambitious emission cuts by 2030 to implement commitments of the Paris Agreement – commitments of the 1.5-celsius scenario achieving net-zero global emissions by 2050.

“We recognise the double burden of addressing the parallel crises of climate change and the pandemic, but we stand to lose a lot more if we remain in a state of inaction. The COVID-19 pandemic should not delay ambitious climate action.  Instead, sustainable economic recovery should be catalysed through investments that are clean, climate-smart and in line with net-zero emissions by 2050,” said Hon Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Prime Minister of Samoa.

Prime Minister Mata’afa is not attending COP26 in Glasgow this year, however addressed world leaders through a video message.  Samoa, as Chair of the Pacific Islands Small Islands Developing States, is represented at COP26 by H.E Fatumanava Pa’o Luteru, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Independent State of Samoa to the United Nations, New York.

“The development of COVID-19 vaccines was the fastest in history.  Its rollout around the world at large scale required a massive global coordinated effort.  I often ponder on how we can push for this historical, united, urgent global response at the same massive scale to help us reach the 1.5 degrees’ Celsius promise of the Paris Agreement.”

“For us as the Blue Pacific, we need to inject some of that urgency and ambitious actions, like what we achieved with the COVID19 vaccinations, to deliver the needed climate action.”

Prime Minister Mata’afa told world leaders that nature-based solutions should take precedence in our sustainable development efforts, stating the phasing out of coal plants and all fossil fuel subsidies and investments, is critical. 

“We continue to stress the importance of delivery of the USD 100 Billion goal to ensuring the implementation of ambitious mitigation commitments.  However, funding for the root causes of climate change is exponentially greater than funding for the response to climate change.  This must change”

“We need to ensure a new scaled-up climate finance goal that builds on the USD 100 billion floor.  We must guarantee a balanced allocation of climate finance between mitigation and adaptation.  Climate finance made available to SIDS are still insufficient and mainly in the form of loans.”

The Prime Minister called on Small Islands Developing States to receive scaled up adequate predictable and long-term support from the international community to adapt.

“Loss and Damage needs dedicated funding.  COP26 must address the long-term and permanent consequences of insufficient climate action.  While we urge for COP26 to conclude negotiations on the Paris Rulebook it is important that it adopts a Markets mechanism which delivers meaningful global emissions reductions,” said Prime Minister Mata’afa. 

“We must ensure that we continue to uphold the principle of environmental integrity and keep the Paris Agreement promise.  This is critical when finalising COP26 outcomes.”

Stressing that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change must feature more of our ocean in its work, Prime Minister Mata’afa noted the importance of our ocean in playing a central role in regulating the earth’s climate and absorbing nearly a quarter of our global carbon dioxide emissions on an annual basis.

“Slow and onset events such as sea-level rise due to climate change threatens the security of our maritime zones. This is why the Pacific Leaders have endorsed the Declaration on Preserving Maritime Zones in the face of Climate Change Related Sea-Level Rise, the Declaration states very clearly our regions collective position and commitment to maintaining our maritime zones without reduction in the face of climate change-related sea-level rise.”

The Samoan Prime Minister ended her statement, reminding world leaders that we are negotiating for everything we have in the Pacific islands; we are negotiating for our survival.

“Your Excellencies, climate change is at the heart of our vulnerabilities as nations and peoples.  While we may be the worst affected, the real solution is not in our hands especially when it comes to global emission reductions.  However, through the COP26 negotiations and the multilateral process, we hope to shape the solutions to save our planet.

There are no trade-offs, we are negotiating the survival of our islands, said PM Mata’afa.

This story was produced by Nanette, published at SPREP on 05 November 2021, reposted via PACNEWS.

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