Thursday 29th September 2016                 Change text size:

Pacific Islands Forum closes with climate change and sustainable tourism commitment



stefan lins via Flickr

The 45th Pacific Islands Forum has concluded on Friday in Koror, Republic of Palau, gathering the leaders of the Pacific nations to discuss increasing threats posed by rising sea levels and solutions for sustainable development.

Political leaders and ministers of Pacific Islands have gathered to discuss issues related to climate change effects, sea levels rise in particular, which is threatening the survival of nations and their people.

However, the forum decided to approach the issue by discussing the topic ‘The Ocean: Life & Future’.

Speaking at the summit, president of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and outgoing forum chair, Christopher J. Loek said, “The ocean surrounds, connects and divides us. It provides nourishment but has the potential to threaten our very existence. It enriches with the abundant resources it offers, provided we act responsibly and in a sustainable manner.”

While a warming ocean represents a threat for Pacific nations, this is also their greatest resource – mostly because it provides food and tourism income – but it is threatened by overfishing and pollution.

For this reason, in addition to call for more support from non-Pacific states, both in terms of finance and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the forum has also discussed the role of sustainable development and tourism.

Hosting country Palau for example has intentions to turn its seawater into a marine sanctuary and ban commercial fishing.

President Tommy Esang Remengesau, explained, “The tourism industry, which is our bread and butter, is the mother goose that lays the golden egg for us.

So the idea of Palau doing the marine sanctuary is for tourism, for food security and for the region.”

Pacific island Kiribati purchase of 20 sq km of land on a Fijian island, in July, for its people to grow food or relocate, while Marshall Islands’ minister of foreign affairs Tony de Brum recently said reaching a global climate agreement in 2015 for Pacific countries it is a “matter of life or death”.

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Photo: stefan lins via Flickr

Further reading:

Pacific island leaders set to discuss climate change and sustainability

Marshall Islands minister: 2015 climate agreement ‘a matter of life or death’

Pacific island Kiribati buys land in Fiji to escape climate change

Australia to help Pacific islands tackle climate change

Rising sea levels force Pacific Islanders to relocate


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