28 Nov 2022

It's increasingly difficult to counter impacts of sea level rise says PNG environmentalist

6:55 am on 28 November 2022
Climate change activist Ursula Rakova.

Tulele Peisa's Ursula Rakova Photo: Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand

A woman who has been leading efforts to move people from the frequently inundated Carteret Atolls off Papua New Guinea's Bougainville says it is becoming increasingly difficult to counter the impacts of sea level rise.

Tulele Peisa's Ursula Rakova is leading a campaign to move Carteret Islanders to safety from their frequently flooding home to the Bougainville mainland.

She said life is tough for the several hundred families still on the Carterets with increasing concerns about food security.

"When it's a king tide salt water seeps into the island and it's very very difficult to drain out.

Even the trees that we plant to safeguard the sea from further intrusion they have been uprooted. And it's very difficult for us to continue to maintain the island," she said.

Rakova said they are still to fully secure the land for settlement near Tinputz and need financial support to both do this and to provide infrastructure for the transplanted community.

A woman in a red dress holds a younger girl in a hug. They smile at each other.

Ursula Rakova and her granddaughter. Photo: Supplied / Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand

Let down at COP27

Rakova attended the COP27 meeting and castigated those industrialised nations that still refuse to limit fossil fuel use.

She said she felt let down by the lack of commitment to ending mining fossil fuels.

She said welcomed the agreement reached at COP27 on loss and damage funding but said this is undermined when countries fail to make a commitment to end mining.

"I am not confident when countries, the industrialised nations, will want to give money to loss and damage while at the same time they are continuing to extract fossil fuels.

"Because if they really want to save the earth, especially these smaller islands in the Pacific and around the globe, they will have to walk their talk," she said.