Leaders of Pacific countries are in Fiji for the climate resilience conference, as a platform to prepare Pacific nations for the upcoming COPS 21 summit in Paris next month.
The COPS 21 summit will see world leaders meet with the aim of reaching a consensus on a new international agreement addressing climate change.
Pacific leaders have expressed their concerns over the effects of climate change on the region; especially on low-lying islands that are faced with rising sea levels.
Fiji’s Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, made his fears of the plight of Pacific nations known at the conference. He said that Pacific countries would have to be stronger to stand up to bigger countries of the world.
Bainimarama said that industrial countries, which include Australia and New Zealand, were more likely to prioritise on economic growth at the expense of low-lying developing nations.
“I fear that our interests are about to be sacrificed, that might will triumph over reason, even though the argument of urgent and decisive action is unassailable all because of the inaction and gross irresponsiblity of what I unashamedly call the coalition of the selfish.”
Conference goers had the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of what their fellow Pacific islanders are going through; such as the looming threat of people’s displacement, food and water shortages due to severe drought experienced in PNG, and other climate change related outcomes.
Health ministers from around the Pacific who are in attendance at the climate resilience conference in Fiji are working on a document detailing climate change implications on the health and wellbeing of women, adolescents and children.
The document will support the positioning of Pacific nations at key international forums – the first being the COP21 meeting in Paris.