Climate change effects in Pacific deeply concerning - UN
UN Secretary-General expresses deep concern over effects of climate change in the Pacific.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, says he is deeply concerned about the effects of climate change in the Pacific.
Mr Ban is in Samoa for the third Small Islands Developing States conference, where political leaders are expected to announce over 200 concrete partnerships to help deal with rising sea levels, overfishing, poverty, health and energy infrastructure.
He told Mary Baines the Pacific and other small islands around the world need the full support of developed nations going forward.
BAN KI MOON: I am deeply concerned about the inherent vulnerabilities of Samoan people and small island people caused by climate change impact, rising sea-levels and because of the vastness of oceans they are separated in their transportation and in their daily lives. Therefore we must help these people to build their capacity building as well as promote their resilience. I'm deeply impressed by the resilience of these people, very impressed, but they need full support. That is why I'm convening a summit meeting on September 23rd, I'm asking them to come with bold ideas, yes.
MARY BAINES: Many developed countries, to a large extent, appear to be quite jaded by the issue of climate change. New Zealand, Australia, it's hardly at the front of our political agenda and both countries have gone back on promises that they had on climate change. What can be done about this? Does the UN have devices in place that can push for these developed countries to be more of a voice, take more action?
BKM: Even though there are some countries, some leaders, who are not yet still as committed as other world leaders, I believe that by this time, the whole world is very much concerned. And they know that climate change is happening and they know that they must take action. That is why I'm very much encouraged by the level of response by the world leaders to my climate change summit meeting. More than 100 heads of government and state are coming. I'm sure that maybe 120, then other countries will all be represented at ministerial or anyway at a very high level. I'm asking them to bring their very ambitious target how they can work together jointly to make this planet Earth environment sustainable. We have no time to lose. The economy has been impacted.
We are seeing many developing countries, particularly small island developing countries, who do not have much capacity to adapt and mitigate the impact of climate change. That is why we must provide all necessary technological support and financial support. I'm sure that we will have a very successful meeting but the meeting itself is not important. Our target is to have a global legal climate change agreement by December next year in Paris.
MB: A perennial complaint of small island states has been that there is not enough funding in climate change or it is not actually reaching them. What's your view on this?
BKM: Member states have commented that they will provide financial and technological support. As this climate change is a phenomenon impacted among by all the countries around the world, regardless whether you are coming from developing or developed world. But, if we consider the level of their capacity to mitigate and adapt then it's only natural that the developed world should provide the necessary support. There was an agreement in 2009 that the developed world would provide 100 billion dollars by 2020 then thereafter, every year 100 billion dollars. They have already created a green climate fund. My message for this coming summit meeting is that at least they should capitalise 10 to 15 billion dollars for this green climate fund so that this secretariat can actually activate their functions. We are also going to discuss the financing issues during this summit meeting.
MB: Some concern has been raised that this SIDs conference bypasses the issue of climate change refugees. What's your view on this? Is it likely in the future that climate change refugees will come under the UN refugee convention?
BKM: Rather than addressing this very specific area of climate refugees, in fact, because of the climate change phenomenon, a long spell of drought or extreme weather pattern driven out many people to become displaced people or refugees. So this is a part of a bigger climate change issue. That is why we have to address this in a more comprehensive way dealing with, of course this climate refugee issue, how we can raise the height of political ambitions. At this time, I think, political will by the world leaders is most important, why we are lacking these resources and capacities and particularly in the field of financing. When there is a strong political will demonstrated by the political leaders, particularly OECD members, then I think we can address this issue. We must have, first of all, meaningful global legal document on climate change which will provide big legal framework under which all the members, developing or developed world, will work together.
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