6 Dec 2019

COP25: 'For the sake of the region...we have to keep fighting'

12:59 pm on 6 December 2019

The entire UN climate talk process might have to be reviewed if nothing is achieved this year, a Niue government minister says.

Niue government minister, Dalton Tagelagi.

Niue government minister, Dalton Tagelagi. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Jamie Tahana

Dalton Tagelagi is representing the island at the latest talks in Madrid, where leaders are thrashing out the final rules to the Paris Agreement, under which more than 200 countries have to restrict their emissions.

But contentious issues remain - chief among them compensation for loss and damage and climate financing.

Those issues were kicked down the road after they couldn't be resolved at last year's meeting in Poland because of opposition from countries like the US, Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Mr Tagelagi said the process could be frustrating.

"Well, it's got to be this year or nothing. It's as simple as that. If it doesn't happen then we have to [review]...and that's where our leaders can take to the UN and say 'look, we've had enough, we're not making any progress'.

"But for the sake of the region, and all other small islands states, we have to keep fighting."

Preparations ahead of the UNFCCC COP25 climate conference on December 1, 2019 in Madrid, Spain.

Photo: AFP

Big emitters needed to accept the findings of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he said.

"We're here for the world to know that the Pacific is suffering because of the consequences of big emitters around the world...

"We're here because we care about our people, we care about our countries, we care about the Pacific, and of course we care about the world and this planet."

*Jamie Tahana travelled to the COP25 in Madrid, Spain with the assistance of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

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