Just days after the 27th Climate Change Conference (COP27) started in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, the Solomon Islands was hit by a three-day heavy downpour associated with a trough.
The capital city, Honiara, was flooded and a bridge was damaged following what the meteorology office said was a ‘trough’.
Speaking as a panelist during the Tok Stori on Pacific as Indigenous guardians of global climate and biodiversity commons at the Moana Pacific Pavilion, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM), Dr. Melchior Mataki said Solomon Islands has been on a costly road of recovery from disasters and crisis after crisis because of climate change.
Dr Mataki said COPs and those who are responsible for climate change need to show some urgency on the impacts of climate change and to countries that were badly affected.
“They need to show some urgency and also, we don’t need to agree with them. We have to show our discontentment with the progress.
“We are tired of discussing and negotiating. This process has been going on for so long.
A group photo of the panelists of the Tok Stori on Pacific as Indigenous guardians of global climate and biodiversity commons at the Moana Pacific Pavilion (Third from left is Dr Melchoir Mataki | Photo: MECDM
Discussions on the ocean could be the biggest contribution for Solomon Islands at the climate change talks not only from the adaptation perspective but also from the mitigation perspective.
“We are in the ocean, what is it that we need to do? That should be recognized, that should be capitalised, that is what our people could actually benefit from and be able to adapt to the changing climate that we have. That is our point of strength, the ocean that we have.”
“For us in the Pacific and for us in the Solomons, we cannot talk about the land without talking about the ocean, we cannot talk about climate change without talking about the ocean. The ocean will define how Pacific Islanders and the Solomon Islands will move into dealing with the impacts and providing the solutions to the global problem we have which is climate change.”
“To us Pacific Islanders, it’s not climate change, it’s ocean change. That change will affect us, that change can define what we are…”
The Minister of Development Planning and Aid Coordination, Rexon Ramofafia has announced his Ministry’s commitment to including the principles of indigenous guardianship of space, land and ocean in the national planning process as part of addressing the climate crisis.
However, this requires the efforts of everyone.
Among Solomon Islands agendas at COP27 are the establishment of a finance facility for loss and damage, bridging the mitigation gap towards limiting the global temperature rise to well below 1.5 degrees Celsius, provision of a high quality and scaled up finance flows to vulnerable countries, enhancement of efforts to implement adaptation measures on the ground and implement the Paris Rulebook to hold countries and non-state actors accountable.
Speaking at a virtual media briefing organized by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Sefanaia Nawadra said he is impressed by the level of negotiations from Pacific leaders at COP27.
He said it’s amazing, the level of maturity and content from leaders in discussing and negotiating on climate change issues in the Pacific.
By Fredrick Kusu
This story was produced as part of the 2022 Climate Change Media Partnership Virtual Reporting Fellowship, a journalism fellowship organized by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and supported by the Commonwealth Foundation