The 2020 Pacific Ocean, Pacific Climate Change Conference (POPCCC) commenced this afternoon.
The Hon. Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, and the Hon. Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape, welcomed over 300 attendees and opened the virtual conference.
The 2020 POPCCC is the third iteration of the biennially convened conference, and the first to be held virtually. It is being hosted by the Government of Samoa in collaboration with its partners the National University of Samoa, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.
The conference will be held over the course of four days, under the theme “Blue Pacific, Climate Action for Climate Resilience”, It features multiple presentations and panel discussions about the science, the impacts, and the solutions to climate change in the Pacific.
The Honourable Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Dr Lupesoli’ai Sailele Malielegaoi, delivered the welcoming address on behalf of the Government of Samoa.
“As many borders remain closed due to the current COVID situation, climate change respects no borders, and the devastation continues. We cannot ignore nor delay actions that threaten our livelihoods and the very existence of some of our Pacific islands,” PM Tuilaepa said.
“The solutions do not lie with a handful of people. It requires a sector-wide and whole of society approach,” he added. “Thus, I am pleased to note the diverse backgrounds and expertise that will gather virtually this week from across the Pacific and the world.”
PM Tuilaepa also stated that the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders will soon meet to discuss regional priorities, the highest of which are COVID-19, climate change, and oceans. The solutions and outcomes from that gathering will help the Blue Pacific to pursue its vision of a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity, so that all Pacific people can lead free, healthy, and productive lives.
“This is not possible if we do not address the adverse impacts of climate change and reverse the cycle of decline it has on our greatest resource, our ocean,” he concluded.
Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape, delivered the keynote address for the official opening, clearly articulating the real and imminent threat climate change poses to the Pacific region. “Climate change is real, and a threat to all of us. It is a serious concern to me and to us all,” PM Marape said.
“I am pleased to note that the theme of this conference is “Blue Pacific, Climate Action for Climate Resilience,” as it reaffirms the 50th
Pacific Islands Forum Leaders statement encapsulated in the Kainaki II declaration which I believe was our strongest statement recognising climate change as an imminent threat facing our Blue Pacific region,” he added.
Close to 200 participants joined the virtual opening ceremony this morning, kicking off what is promising to be a productive four days of discussion, with various climate change experts, academics and professional expected to speak throughout the week.