23 Sep 2014

Call for climate change help for Pacific's affected

8:25 pm on 23 September 2014

The charity Caritas New Zealand says the world must pay more attention to the needs of vulnerable Pacific communities affected by climate change.

Its new report, "Small Yet Strong: Voices of Oceania", draws from interviews with people at grass roots levels across the region on the environmental challenges they are facing.

Its director, Julianne Hickey, says communities are dealing with rising sea levels, contamination of soil, fragile food and water resources and pests destroying crops as a result of warmer weather.

She says funding is not always reaching the communities who need it the most.

"We really need to listen more to those who have been affected, so that their voices can be heard and they can be part of creating that change. That needs to happen not just at the local level but at those highest levels like the UN climate change talks. We then need to make a comprehensive, ongoing plan that enables those communities to build their resilience in the face of what we see as an ongoing emergency."

Caritas New Zealand director, Julianne Hickey.

A seawall protecting a home from coastal erosion in Kiribati, climate change.

A seawall protecting a home from coastal erosion in Kiribati Photo: UNDP / Sheryl Ho