According to reports, the PM made the comments during an exclusive interview with Chinese state broadcaster, Xinhua News Agency at the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Smaller Islands States (SIS) meeting in Majuro, Marshall Islands.
“It is no longer an issue to just talk about,” Puna told Xinhua. “It’s an issue that requires action now.”
“The sad truth is that countries here had nothing to do with bringing about climate change and yet they are the ones being made to pay for the rest of the world, and that is the reason for the disappointment and the despondency.”
The PM also praised the Asian country for its role in dealing with climate change.
“China, for example, is one that is coming out and taking a lead and one that is giving us a lot of comfort,” he said.
This week, Forum leaders are expected to finalise a “Majuro Declaration” on climate change, which “aims to reinvigorate global efforts to contain global warming,” according to reports.
In addition to climate change, leaders of the seven PIF small island states are discussing business and trade issues, tourism support and resourcing the SIS development fund.
Of particular interest will be discussion of the recommendations of the Pacific Plan Review.
The Pacific Plan - described as the master strategy for strengthening regional co-operation and integration in the Pacific - was endorsed by PIF Leaders at their annual meeting in Madang, PNG in October 2005.
Following an earlier review in 2009, regional leaders called for another “comprehensive” review to consider “how the strategic interests and priorities of smaller island states can be more effectively reflected in the approach to the Pacific Plan”.
“Smaller Island States have, in the past, voiced interest in the development of a focused strategy that addresses their special needs and priorities within the auspices of the Pacific Plan,” say sources with the Forum.
Membership of the Smaller Island States include the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau and Tuvalu.
On Wednesday – the official opening day for the Forum - all regional leaders will gather to discuss the review in a special closed session with the review’s chair, former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Mekere Morauta.