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Samoa Calls on UN for urgent Action on Climate Change

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 28 SEPTEMBER 2022: Pacific leaders are very conscious of the real threat of climate change to the region hence their collective stance to address the issue at the United Nations 77th General Assembly session in New York last week.

Samoa’s first female Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mataafa during her inaugural speech at the General Assembly last week, called for a collective action against the impact of climate change.

The call corresponds well with the session’s theme “A Watershed Moment: Transformative Solutions to Interlocking Challenges.”

“As we take stock of the global challenges we face, we highlight the need for sustainable measures to address post-covid economic recovery, urge all nations to resolve and work towards peace and security, enhance resilience from climate change impacts, as well as achieving our Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the 2030 Agenda,” she said.

She is aware that these are critical times in the world due to “complex and interconnected crisis”, and she believes all can be achieved through the UN’s collective efforts and urgent actions.

“We need an effective United Nations to mobilize our collective efforts and to propel urgent actions to address these issues,” said Fiame

She pointed out that the driving force in achieving such a goal is through countries standing together to counter the challenge.

“Together we must elevate our actions with urgency to address the climate emergency, or our planet will be lost to us and to future generations,” said Fiame.

She emphasized that climate change remains Samoa’s and the Pacific number one priority.

For the Pacific communities, the main challenge is securing action for survival, and we all need to shoulder our responsibilities and play our part, she said.

“The big polluters and emitters have a moral obligation and responsibility to meet their commitments ahead of COP27. Why? Because they hold the key to our achieving the 1.5-degree promise of the Paris Agreement,” she said.

Although Samoa and the Pacific islands are miles away from the centres of conflict, the result of escalating fuel and food prices and threats of nuclear weapons use have reached their isolation.

“Yet no one empathizes with the war, climate is waging on atoll islanders watching their maritime boundaries disappear fast with sea level rise,” she said.

The global commitment to implement the Paris Agreement is critical and Fiame believes promoting recovery investments that are climate smart, resilient, and in line with net zero emissions by 2050 is a must.

“We call on all parties to commit to more ambitious NDCs to meet the Paris Agreement promise as we are all part of the solution.”

The Prime Minister pledged Samoa’s readiness to meet its obligations and commitments in achieving SDGs by strengthening capacity building at all levels, enhancing data and information collection and storage through national and regional climate change portals as well as invest in robust systems and processes, including reporting and verification, and knowledge brokerage.

“Improving resilience actions through learning and developing knowledge societies will enable adaptation and responsiveness to future crises,” she said.

The achievement of a 50/50 split between mitigation and adaptation funding is of paramount importance to Samoa and SIDS. We should not put out the flame for Loss and Damage, she said.

“While it is easy to point out what needs to be done, however it cannot be achieved without a solid financial support.

“We seek to further enable change through transformations in finance and economic systems; and by leveraging data and technology for the environment. Small island developing states like Samoa do not always have the requisite levels of capabilities and capacity to repurpose and redirect financial and economic systems towards sustainability, improve the effectiveness of legal frameworks, deliver science as the catalyst for action and be digitally connected.”