Fiji has strongly urged countries that are members of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States to continue to press for more action in response to the rising impacts of climate change.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Defense and National Security, Inia Seruiratu made this call to Ministers from the ACP region at the 2019 ACP Council of Ministers meeting held in Brussels yesterday.
Speaking on behalf of the Pacific States within the ACP, Seruiratu informs the Council that the Pacific Community is alarmed that their region and parts of the world are “now in the midst of a crisis that is endangering both our climate and the ocean,” he says.
He informs the Council that Pacific leaders recently met with the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, and informed him of the Pacific’s struggles when he visited Fiji last week. Pacific leaders also voiced their concerns on the need for more international efforts to address this issue.
“In order for us to properly respond to this climate and ocean crisis, all countries must move to decarbonise and build resilience now,” Seruiratu says.
“We need to plan for net zero emissions by 2050 and strengthen our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2020.
“It is vital for all to understand that at the moment, our collective NDCs are not on track for achieving the most ambitious of the Paris Agreement goals so crucial for the security and prosperity of our people.”
Whilst calling for more pressing cuts to carbon emissions, Seruiratu also reminds the Council that “we as the family of ACP member states must call on developed and major economies alike, to halve emissions by 2030, and call for the strengthening of climate finance, including immediate replenishment of the Adaptation and Green Climate Funds,” he says.
The 2019 ACP Council of Ministers meeting was an opportunity for the Fijian Minister, who is attending the Council for the first time as Fiji’s Foreign Minister.
Seruiratu thanked the ACP for their support to Fiji’s presidency of COP23, the largest on-going UN negotiations on climate change.
As the Climate Champion for the COP23 presidency, Seruiratu says that the role that both the ACP and the EU plays in climate discourse is important in urging all other parties to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
He uses the example of the support by both the ACP and the EU states to the ‘Koronivia Joint Work Program’ which addresses the severe impacts that climate change will pose on food security. This program is historic because for the first time in the history of the climate negotiations, countries have reached an agreement on having agriculture in the negotiation process.
Seruiratu also uses the occasion to commend the ACP for the important role they play in maximizing awareness on the impacts of climate change in ACP countries and how these same countries are pushing for more action.