1 april 2021

[4C Note: The following press release was sent to 4C in an email via the "Talk" list of the Climate Action Network.]

Press release

Pacific Youth Demand Urgent, Bold & Decisive Climate Action

For Immediate Release.

The Pacific Island Climate Action Network (PICAN), 1st April, Suva.

The climate crisis will continue to threaten the wellbeing and security of the current and future Pacific Islanders if the global community does not actively take bold and radical climate action to bring the global temperature levels to well below 1.5 degrees celsius.

Pacific youth are calling on the international community to raise their climate ambition, increase their climate finance commitments and urgently phase out coal and fossil fuel. The call was in response to the findings of the recently published National Determined Contributions Synthesis Report that showed that the climate plans submitted so far by countries do not put the world on a path to meet the Paris Agreement Goals. The interim report released by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change captured the submissions of 75 Parties until 31 December 2020, representing approximately 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. While some had increased their levels of ambition to reduce emissions, the combined impact puts it on a path of achieving less than 1% reduction. In contrast, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has indicated that emissions reduction to meet the Paris goals should be 45% lower.

“It is painfully clear that despite our world leaders’ talk and rhetoric’s of raising climate ambition, they have not yet demonstrated the type of urgent, decisive and bold climate leadership that young people across the world are demanding. Each day, Pacific island nations are grappling with the far-reaching impacts of the climate crisis, which not only has compounded the development challenges for the region but threatened every socio-economic and ecological fabric and way of life of the Pacific people'' stated Lavetanalagi Seru, the Climate Justice Project Officer for the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network.

The demand also comes ahead of the Leaders’ Summit on Climate convened by President Biden that is expected to take place virtually in April, and subsequently, the 26th Conference of Parties that is scheduled to take place in Glasgow, Scotland later this year.

Anfernee Nenol Kaminaga, a youth climate activist from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, stated, “that for the island country that sits only two meters above sea level, young people are seeing the unfolding of the climate crisis and which will continue throughout their lifetime. Access to technical and financial resources is key to addressing the impacts of the climate crisis, as well as building the resilience of young people”.
The Pacific Climate Warriors, a youth-led grassroots movement are working to defund the fossil fuel industry and are calling on financial institutions worldwide to rule out dirty energy infrastructure, stated Joseph Sikulu, the Interim Managing Director for 350.Org Pacific. “The main challenge we face is a blatant disregard for the climate crisis and the impacts it has on Pacific islanders as well as other frontline communities, and the fact that climate change is here and now, not in a far-flung future”. He added.

Krishneil Narayan, the Board of Directors Chair of Project Survival Pacific shared that they are working on strengthening the resilience of young people, “through the implementation of local-focused programs that address the current development challenges presented by COVID-19 but also building back better to become resilient from the climate change intensified extreme weather patterns that are being faced by our countries”.

“Over the next few months, PICAN will be working closely with young people led networks, organizations and both formal & informal groups to further capture the experiences, needs, challenges, priorities and opportunities in the context of youth and climate justice, and we hope to have this articulated in a policy brief, which can be used by a wide range of stakeholders to demand intergenerational climate justice” said Lavetanalagi Seru.

The Pacific Island Climate Action Network (PICAN) is the largest network of civil society organizations in the Pacific Islands working on climate change. Established in 2013, the Network brings together non-government actors from across the Pacific island countries, advocating for climate justice and environmental integrity, and more ambitious climate change policies and action at the national and regional level. PICAN is the Pacific arm of the global Climate Action Network which has over 1,100 members in 120 countries.

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