Greenpeace is in Tuvalu to listen and learn how they can best support and elevate their demands to protect their Pacific friends homes and futures

Greenpeace vessel the Rainbow Warrior arrived in Funafuti, Tuvalu – the second stop on its Pacific Ship Tour.

Traditional paopao (canoes) escorted the arriving ship to shore, where those aboard were welcomed by the community of Tuvalu, civil society groups, and addressed by Representatives from the Government of Tuvalu including Prime Minister Kausea Natano and Minister for Finance and Climate Change Seve Paeniu.

Tuvalu is one of the most climate-vulnerable nations in the world. With much of the country sitting at less than three metres in elevation, sea level rise and storm surges are not only leading to tidal inundation, food insecurity and cultural loss, but present an immediate threat to Tuvalu’s survival.

During the visit, Greenpeace campaigners met with community and government leaders to listen and engaged in discussion, and to learn how best to support Pacific climate demands. Greenpeace experts will continue gathering testimonies of climate harm to present to the world’s highest court as part of the historic, Pacific-led campaign for an advisory opinion at the International Court of Justice.

Greenpeace Senior Campaigner Sepesa Rasili said Greenpeace’s Pacific ship tour is centred on listening to climate-impacted communities across the region.

“We’re filled with deep gratitude to be welcomed so warmly to Tuvalu, a country of rich cultural heritage and unique traditions which are under threat from climate change,” he said.

“In the face of accelerating climate impacts, the people and leaders of Tuvalu have shown great courage, strength and leadership on the global stage, holding world leaders to account and driving solutions to the climate crisis.

“Greenpeace is here in Tuvalu to listen to our Pacific friends and to learn how we can best support and elevate their demands to protect their homes and their futures.”

Tuvalu made global headlines in 2021 at COP26 when Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Kofe addressed the UN conference while standing in knee-deep water – a stark reminder of the existential threat his country faces due to global failure to curb emissions.

Tuvalu is also looking to create a digital ‘twin’ of itself in the metaverse, a way to preserve the country’s unique culture, artefacts and identity in a virtual world before they are lost.

The third largest fossil fuel exporter in the world, Australia has vowed to ‘reset’ its relationship with the Pacific – something at odds with the vocal demands of Pacific nation leaders who are calling for an end to new fossil fuel projects.

Greenpeace Senior Campaigner Steph Hodgins-May said the Australian government must put forward strong submissions to the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion.

“Pacific nations have repeatedly affirmed climate change as the single greatest threat to the region,” she said.

“New coal and gas projects are not compatible with a future for low lying communities in the Pacific, and in its submission to the International Court of Justice, the Australian Government must rule out any new fossil fuel projects and commit to paying its fair share of Loss and Damage compensation,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano, Tuvalu is at the frontline of the climate crisis and is fighting for its culture, language, land and mostly its people and the arrival of the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior vessel is timely because it is an opportunity for it to carry and share the most powerful stories from Tuvalu to the rest of the world.

“Government is grateful to Greenpeace for its solidarity and unity in fighting and especially in gathering stories as evidence to support our submission to the world’s most highest court, the International Court of Justice for climate justice.

“Tuvalu continues to join this fight for a just and fair world where we can live peacefully and harmony without fear,” the PM said.

This story was originally published at Greenpeace/Tuvalu TV on 22 July 2023, reposted via PACNEWS.

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