Minister John M. Silk led a delegation at the Pacific Small Island Developing States High-Level Dialogue on Climate Change hosted by Fiji in Suva on August 21.
Against the backdrop of a warming world and a rapidly narrowing window to hold global average temperature to 1.5C, Pacific leaders, ministers and senior officials engaged in talanoa type discussions that touched on resilience-building efforts in the region, the gaps and challenges that hinder these efforts, and the political priorities of the Pacific in the lead up to the global climate summit, COP28, in Dubai.
At the Dialogue’s opening session, Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna, Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, COP28 Director General Majid Al Suwaidi, and the UNFCCC Director of Transparency Donald Cooper set the scene by encouraging Dialogue participants to articulate Pacific needs and priorities, and to use all opportunities to advocate for a strong response from global partners.
Roundtable discussions followed, with a range of thematic areas addressed. These included transitioning to a clean energy future, the need for timely and effective adaptation measures, Pacific expectations of the Loss and Damage Fund established at COP27, the state of climate finance more broadly, and the need to monitor progress and ensure accountability across all aspects of climate action, particularly through the Global Stocktake mechanism of the Paris Agreement. The Global Stocktake mechanism is like an inventory process for countries and stakeholders to see where they’ve collectively made progress towards meeting the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement – and where they have not.
Over two days of Dialogue, these roundtable discussions spurred a strong call from ministers for a unified Pacific voice on the actions necessary to ‘course correct’ and get back on track to delivering on the promises of the Paris Agreement. In the concluding session, ministers serving as Pacific Climate Champions shared a vision on key issues and considerations to take forward to COP28. As the Pacific Climate Champion for Adaptation, Minister Silk highlighted the opportunity afforded by the Global Stocktake to address not just the gaps but also the solutions that need to be taken in this critical decade.
Urging a call for action, he said, “We have heard many of those solutions voiced in this room – phasing out of fossil fuels and providing guidance for new nationally determined contributions (for reducing carbon emissions) aligned with 1.5, recognizing that loss and damage occurs today and the need for support, and addressing the crisis we face in climate finance, and the need to not only deliver on existing promises but also accelerate it and increase it, including through innovative sources.”
Climate Envoy Tina Stege and RMI climate advisor Rueanna Haynes also joined in the Suva Dialogue. RMI Ambassador Junior Aini and First Secretary Terry Keju joined the delegation and provided support on the ground.