Dear Prime Minister, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address the Pacific Islands Forum again.
Your nations are facing a dual crisis of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both threaten the life and livelihoods of the Pacific.
If we follow the current course, the consequences of climate change for the prosperity, well-being and very survival of Pacific communities will be severe.
I witnessed the impacts firsthand during my visit two years ago.
You have sounded the alarm and your voice must be heard loud and clear in the preparation for COP26 in Glasgow.
We need more ambition from each country.
More ambition on mitigation.
We need a 45% reduction in emissions by 2030 to achieve carbon neutrality by mid-century.
Yet the nationally determined contributions that currently exist would result in a 16% increase in emissions by 2030, putting us on a catastrophic 2.7 degree global warming trajectory.
It must stop. It must be reversed.
We also need more ambition when it comes to funding.
Developed countries must keep their pledge to mobilize $ 100 billion a year for climate action in developing countries.
As recently as last week, the OECD reported a gap of at least US $ 20 billion.
And – as you know too well – we need more ambition when it comes to adaptation.
Developing countries received just $ 16.8 billion in 2018, against adaptation costs of some $ 70 billion.
Developed countries and multilateral development banks urgently need to increase the adaptation share to 50% of climate finance and provide credible support for building resilience to climate impacts.
And we also need to integrate the oceans more into discussions on climate change.
The ocean absorbs nearly a quarter of annual CO2 emissions and ocean warming is now observed at a depth of 1000 meters.
The Second United Nations Oceans Conference in 2022 will provide an opportunity to accelerate ocean action towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 14. I also welcome the recent launch of the United Nations Decade for Science. oceanic systems for sustainable development.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world, small island developing states are disproportionately bearing the brunt of its impacts.
Your tourism industry, your supply chains and your aviation industries have been significantly affected.
Your solidarity and regional cooperation complement the massive efforts you are undertaking at the national level to fight the pandemic.
And despite many challenges, I welcome your commitment to making the vaccination campaign a top priority.
But we need a global immunization plan. It’s essential. I have asked for it over and over again.
A plan that could be implemented by an emergency working group, including vaccine producing countries and vaccine producing countries, the World Health Organization (WHO), ACT-Accelerator partners, international financial institutions and working with pharmaceutical companies.
A plan that would ensure vaccines reach seventy percent of the world’s population in the first half of 2022, as requested by the WHO. This means at least doubling current production and ensuring fair global distribution.
The recovery from the pandemic offers us a rare opportunity to change course. As huge sums are being mobilized to revitalize economies, we must ensure that these investments reach your countries and put the world on a more sustainable path – with Agenda 2030 as the road map.
Inclusive policies based on universal human rights, gender equality, health and education remain the best basis for long-term peace, prosperity and well-being.
I applaud the creation of an integrated cooperation framework for the Pacific, well linked to global and regional review processes.
However, we are not on the right track.
Recognizing multidimensional vulnerabilities is crucial.
No state should have to choose between rebuilding its economy and servicing its debt.
The Debt Service Suspension Initiative should be extended to vulnerable developing countries and middle-income countries that so request.
And special drawing rights should go where they are needed most, regardless of the classification of pre-crisis income Today, the distribution is skewed in favor of the richer nations, but the money should be distributed in according to the needs of nations and peoples.
I recognize the leadership of the Pacific in the development of the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index under the SAMOA pathway and the index is now submitted to the General Assembly.
Finally, we must follow today’s Food Systems Summit with a strong commitment to national pathways to build resilience, improve nutrition, tackle noncommunicable diseases, and promote sustainable ocean food systems.
I am very grateful for your contributions and your commitment to a strong and ambitious United Nations. Our reforms have yielded results, but we will not rest until we achieve our goal of an Organization that effectively delivers on its mandates and serves those who need us most. This is also the spirit of the Our Common Agenda report. I am pleased that the North Pacific Cluster Office is becoming operational and would like to thank the Governments of Fiji and Samoa for hosting the other two Cluster Offices.
As we face today’s global crises together, you can count on our solidarity and support. We are by your side and I thank you.