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Climate change expected to be top of US-Pacific Islands summit

Tuesday 27 September 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Regional

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Climate change expected to be top of US-Pacific Islands summit
Most islands in atoll nations, such as in this aerial view of Jaluit in the Marshall Islands, are as little as two meters above sea level and threatened by climate change. Photo: Giff Johnson

Climate Change is expected to be the main issue of discussion at the first US-Pacific Islands summit in Washington D.C. this week.

During the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Pacific leaders called on developed nations to urgently lower fossil fuel emissions and also to consider climate finance.

"More action is needed from developed nations," according to Tagaloa Cooper, Director of Climate Change Resilience at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

"The support of Pacific leaders financial climate finance so that they can adapt. We need support to implement our NDCs and our adaptation plans. There are things that have been requested to be done. It's just that we need accelerated support to meet the needs of the Pacific, and not meet the needs of partners."

The Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of these long-term goals. NDCs embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

In November, the next United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27 will take in the green city of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

In his address to the UN General Assembly, Fiji's prime minister Frank Bainimarama urged developed nations to deliver on the US$100-billion climate finance commitment at COP27 in Egypt this year.

"Only come if you plan to arrive true to your climate finance commitments. Only come to Sharm El-Sheikh if you are ready to agree to a loss and damage mechanism in addition to a post-2025 financing framework. This must be in the order of $750 billion, with at least 10 percent of climate finance destined for small island states," he said.

Fiji's prime minister is one of 12 Pacific leaders attending the summit.

According to Tagaloa, there's a sense of dissatisfaction among small island states.

"There has been some support but the Pacific needs so much more support and urgent support that meets their needs," she said.