Rio 20+ – Melanesian leaders speak out on climate change

Melanesian Leaders attending Rio 20+ have spoken out about the effect of climate change on their nations.

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has used the opportunity at the Rio+20 conference in Rio de Janeiro to promote its Declaration of Environment and Climate, recently signed by MSG Leaders in Fiji.

Prime Minister of Fiji Voreqe Bainimarama also addressed the conference on the matter of climate change.

The sub-regional group comprises Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the FLNKS of New Caledonia.

Speaking on behalf of the MSG, Vanuatu Prime Minister Meltek Sato Kilman Livtuvanu used the Pacific Island side event, convened by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to urge potential donors and partners to support MSG’s climate change initiatives.

The MSG covers a land area greater than 500,000 square kilometres and includes almost 2,000 islands, the flora and fauna of the Pacific region. It is also one of the world’s most significant biodiversity areas – both terrestrial and marine.

In his presentation Prime Minister of Fiji Voreqe Bainimarama highlighted the measures implemented by government to combat climate change and also touched on the challenges facing Fiji as a ‘Small Island Developing State or SIDS’.

“Recent global developments, such as the financial, fuel, and food crises have served to underscore this reality, particularly as we move forward together in facing the adverse impacts of climate change, climate variability, and rising sea levels. Our vulnerabilities have increased, whilst our capacity to cope has not”, the Prime Minister said.

“As a small island nation, Fiji continues to face significant and mounting challenges, amongst other things, safe energy supplies; biodiversity; and disasters related to climate change”.

He also called on “the world’s most advanced nations” to assist small island nations in “addressing matters of environmental and economic development and security”.

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