Samoa
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PM Fiame Naomi Mataafa Calls for Global Urgency in Climate Change Action

18 November 2022, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt – Samoa’s Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mataafa has delivered a strong national statement urgently calling for Parties to place the same level of global urgency as seen for the Covid-19 pandemic to meeting the 1.5 degree pathway.

Speaking at COP 27 Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, she further urged for upscaled ambition on climate mitigation, adaptation responses, funding for loss and damage improved access to climate finance and placed emphasis on the climate-ocean nexus.

The COP27 had been coined as the ‘implementation’ COP and many had high hopes that it would build on the progress made through the Glasgow climate pact at COP26. However, little convergence has been witnessed in Sharm el-Sheikh on the key issues for small island states.

There have been intense negotiations amongst Parties particularly on issues relating to climate finance and funding arrangements for a Loss and Damage Response Fund for developing countries that are ravaged by natural disasters as a result of climate impacts.

“Loss and damage must remain firmly on the table as we continue to witness increasing occurrences and severity of climate change impacts everywhere.”

New Zealand donated $20m to the loss and damage fund and is one of only five countries that have committed to provide funding assistance for the loss and damage borne by the small island countries due to the impact of climate change.

But the delay in the implementation has been criticized by Oxfam Aotearoa’s Climate Justice Lead, that New Zealand’s decision to delay the funding until 2024, is slowing down progress to mitigate climate impact in the Pacific.

climate justice
climate justice

Pacific Islands activists demanding climate action and loss and damage reparations at COP27 in Egypt.

While he said there had been great efforts from NZ to support the region in the fight against climate change, there were no signs of solidarity at COP27.

He said there are lots of good examples of NZ standing with the Pacific in partnerships with governments in doing good work on climate adaptation in the Pacific, but unfortunately when it comes to the global level, like COPs27, New Zealand tends to fall back on siding with developed countries, rich country partners.

Australia has also been criticized by the Pacific NGOs at COPS27 so its actions and commitment need to speak louder than its words.

According to Joseph Sikulu of 350.org, “It doesn’t matter how much finance and how much we adapt. The best thing we can still do at the moment to preserve our way of life on islands is to mitigate and to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees.”

He explained that Australia still isn’t stepping up to where they need to be.

“We know that they have at least 20 new proposals for coal mines sitting on their desk waiting for approval. We know that Australia is the biggest exporter of coal in the whole entire world.”

However, Australia wants the Pacific to know they are back after a decade of inaction.

COPS 27 logo
COPS 27 logo

People walk at the green zone of the Sharm el-Sheikh International Convention Centre, during the COP27 climate conference in Egypt’s Red Sea resort city of the same name.

Australia’s Minister of international development in the Pacific, Pat Conroy said Australia’s main goals were to let the world know it wants to be a part of a global solution, to talk about the benefit of having a Pacific COP in 2026 and to rebuild relationships with the Pacific.

After his first bilateral meeting with Pacific Islands Forum secretary-general, Henry Puna he acknowledged the need for loss and damage climate financing which is the big-ticket item being talked about this year.

Puna said Conroy’s message is real and refreshing.

Samoa’s delegation to COPS27 was led by Prime Minister Fiame, and included the Minister for Natural Resources and Environment, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster and senior officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs & Trade; Natural Resources and Environment; Women Community & Social Development and Agriculture & Fisheries.