The President of the Republic of Nauru, His Excellency Mr. Ludwig Scotty, delivered a statement at the Forum on climate change, emphasizing on the urgency for support and action.As released by the Forum Secretariat, speaking on behalf of the Pacific Forum, the President began by referring to the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's suggestion that "Climate change, and how we address it, will define us, our era and ultimately the global legacy we leave for future generations", saying that this was particularly relevant for the Small Island States of the Pacific and listing the following points:
- The 4th Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that it is unequivocal that global warming is an existing and worsening threat.
- Therefore business as usual is not an option for any of us.
- The time for action is now, we simply can't economically, environmentally or socially afford to wait until it is too late,
- Action on climate change represents one of "the great moral imperatives of our era". Not all regions are affected equally by climate change and the impacts it brings. Wealthy and highly industrialized nations which are mainly responsible for current global warming possess the know-how and resources to adapt while the most severe consequences are felt in poorer and more vulnerable countries.
The President then highlighted the progress and steps the region is making in its efforts to tackle climate change:
- In 2005 Forum Leaders endorsed the Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change (PIFACC) as an effective regional platform for deepening and broadening regional cooperation on addressing climate change. This is currently being translated into an Action Plan and the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable is being reinvigorated to guide its implementation and address gaps.
Other regional frameworks have also been endorsed by the region such as the Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Management Framework for Action.
- There are a number of major initiatives being undertaken by the region in partnership with international partners including the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The initiatives cover Greenhouse Gas Abatement, renewable energy, adaptation projects, and conserving the use of existing critical resources such as water, foods and our cultures.
The Forum leaders have also highlighted a number of priorities, mainly, the need to improve information assessing local and national vulnerability to climate change; including socio-economic vulnerability and traditional knowledge; to help better design and implement country specific adaptation strategies and to build resilience; as well as to mainstream climate change into national development planning and budgetary processes.
However, the major constraint of finance is always an issue and the leaders asked for assistance from both the region and international community in establishing sustainable financing options. One such major global fund is the Adaptation Fund set up under the Kyoto Protocol. The World Bank has estimated that between US$10 - 40 billion will be required by developing countries for adaptation and it is clear that the Adaptation Fund alone will not be sufficient. The President then called on the forum for support in the Adaptation Fund and for the replenishment of the Special Climate Change Fund under GEF.
The GEF is developing a new regional programmatic approach to assisting the region in its efforts towards sustainable development and environmental protection, the GEF Pacific Alliance for Sustainability, which proposes to allocate approximately US$100 over 4 years for the region. The programme is to be tabled in April 2008 and President Scotty once again called for regional support.
The forum also applauded the landmark decision at the recent G8 Summit in Germany, held in June, in which the most powerful governments of the world accepted responsibility to act on emission reductions and eventual cuts, and called for closure by 2009 on a global agreement, under the UNFCCC, to ensure that there is no gap between future approaches to climate change and the expiry of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.
The President concluded his statement by quoting the words of the Indonesian President at the High-Level Event on Climate Change in New York, "A global strategy would not work if it did not include pro-poor, pro-development measures. The spirit of partnership must guide the negotiation process."