This was exactly the case at the 2015 Pacific Climate Change Roundtable meeting which ended yesterday in Apia, Samoa.
Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, David Sheppard, said the PCCR was a bi-annual meeting of regional and national governments, organisations and donors involved in Climate Change activities in the Pacific region.
“It is a platform for such groups to share ideas on climate change and to ensure co-ordination in support of the Pacific Island Countries and Territories efforts in addressing Climate Change.
Part of the meeting included rallying the participants together ahead of negotiations for a new climate change agreement in France later this year.
Sheppard made the assurance that their voices and positions would be heard loud and ‘head loudly’ during the negotiations.
"Our leaders have reminded us that climate change is a matter of national security in our region and that the Parties in Paris must commit to the strongest legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“If we don't, then our peoples, and our future generations will suffer the consequences," he said.
Cook Islanders in attendance were William Tuivaga from Emergency Management, Paul Maoate from Infrastructure Cook Islands and from Foreign Affairs, Amelia Fukofuka and Budget and Economic Manager,Lavinia Tama.
All have yet to return to Rarotonga to share their views on the meeting and the Cook Islands’ stance on climate change.
Kevin Passfield, technical director at Te Ipukarea Society, noted that while non-government departments didn’t have the funding to attend the meeting as well, they still played a heavy role in climate change.
From an NGO perspective, he said there was a link between climate change and the work they did in biodiversity, particularly with birds and also raising awareness on marine biodiversity.
“The link to climate change is that by looking after our full range of biodiversity, and maintaining a balance within our ecosystems, we help build resilience to the impacts of climate change.”
Passfield said an ecosystem that is already struggling because of biodiversity and habitat loss was more likely to collapse under the added stress of climate change.
“Healthy well balanced ecosystems stand a much greater chance of being able to continue to provide the services we need from them, such as coastal protection, resources for our livelihood, helping to regulate our climate, and providing a nice place to live.”