News & Announcements

Tuvalu residents able to resettle in Australia as climate change 'threatens its existence'

Nov 2023 - News

    Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced a new pact with Tuvalu, allowing residents facing displacement from climate change the ability to resettle in Australia. Read the full story on Radio New Zealand International /Pacific News. Read a response from Taukiei Kitara and Carol Farbotko, Tuvaluan citizens and researchers.              

PEV Statement on the 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting

Nov 2023 - News

      52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting The Pacific Elders’ Voice (PEV) welcomes the hosting of 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting (PIFLM52) from 06 – 10 November 2023 in Rarotonga under the theme of “Our Voices, Our Choices, Our Pacific Way: Promote, Partner, Prosper”. It is our firm belief that the Pacific Islands Forum provides a crucial place for talanoa, for the peoples of the Blue Pacific to sit, listen and talk with one another, and advance views for the betterment of the Pacific region. The PEV takes this opportunity to add its voice on the need for the Pacific Leadership to stand together as we face some of the biggest challenges confronting us. It is widely recognized that we are the most vulnerable to climate change and are already suffering from its adverse impacts such as tropical cyclones and hurricanes, yet have contributed the least to its causes. The nuclear legacy and its consequences on our people and environment continue to be critical unresolved issues. We are the center of strategic interests of larger countries who say we are a priority, but we have yet to see what that practically means for our people (especially in comparison to the costs of developing their war machines). It is no secret that Australia continues to be one of the world’s biggest fossil fuel exporters and continues to have one of the world’s largest per capita carbon pollution footprints. The United Nations Secretary General has declared it the age of global boiling, as the science continues to show a warming planet alongside a world not willing to make the transition away from polluting fuels like coal and gas. We are concerned that Australia’s failure to match its words with its actions extends beyond fossil fuels. An effective, fair and transparent Loss and Damage mechanism where countries that caused the climate crisis pay for the damage, they have inflicted on our planet, is crucial. We understand that Australia has failed to represent Pacific interests through its advocacy as a member of the Loss and Damage Transitional Committee, by its opposition to the fund being part of the UNFCCC (and arguing for the World Bank instead) as well as setting a financial goal for the fund. This goes against the Pacific interests, which is part of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), currently Chaired by Samoa. AOSIS has been clear that the fund must not be part of the World Bank. We regret that the AUKUS agreement, and the proposed acquisition of Australia of nuclear-powered submarines, is escalating geopolitical tensions in our region and undermining Pacific-led nuclear-free regionalism. It presents a major challenge to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone is also threatened by Australia’s proposed basing of potentially nuclear-capable US B52 aircraft. We must strengthen the SPNFZ and urge the US to join the other declared nuclear weapons states in ratifying its Protocols. The Pacific has always been at the forefront of global efforts for nuclear disarmament. Currently 10 Pacific nations are parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), and played a key role in achieving its entry into force in 2021. Achieving the universalisation of the TPNW in our region is an essential goal and will address the nuclear legacy and help safeguard our people and oceans into the future. Thankfully, the Pacific way is not about being victims, but leading the way and seeking justice. In March 2023, Ministers and officials from six Pacific countries – Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Tonga, Fiji, Niue, and the Solomon Islands – came together in the ‘Port Vila Call for a Just Transition to a Fossil Fuel Free Pacific’. It produced a call for the end of fossil fuel subsidies within the Pacific, and globally, stating that “this is a crisis driven by the greed of an exploitative industry and its enablers.” Pacific Islands are not only highlighting their moral authority in the fight against climate change, but taking the necessary steps to phase out their own fossil fuel use, putting other much richer countries to shame. We note the Pacific’s role in successfully ensuring the United Nations General Assembly referred the question of climate change to the United Nations International Court of Justice. We especially thank Vanuatu as the lead sponsor, and many Pacific countries as part of the core group or as co-sponsors of the resolution. We urge countries to continue to engage in the process, including making submissions to the court to ensure a strong favourable judgement We call on the Albanese Government of Australia to urgently honour Australia’s Paris Agreement commitments to significantly reduce its GHG emissions. We reiterate our calls for Australia to urgently phase out gas and coal and stop opening up new coal mining. Real actions on climate change mitigation and adaptation, including for loss and damage, cannot be substituted by ODA which, in any case, remains inadequate and well below the levels of 0.7% GNI, agreed to by the international community as the minimum level of assistance. We also note recent shift to loans rather than grants, increasing the levels of debts on Pacific states. One example of this is the recent interest by development partners, including Australia, to promise financial support to certain Pacific states through blue and green bonds. Green sovereign bonds are, like all bonds, debt. They rely on the government being able to pay them back. There is a long history of developing countries being forced to pay for their own development by debt, only to be burnt by financial & debt crises, and punitive structural adjustment from the IMF and World Bank. Green sovereign bonds – or blue sovereign bonds (which seem to be related to ocean projects) are yet another example of this, and of developed countries avoiding their own promises to fully fund aid, development, and now climate commitments. We maintain our position that the endorsement of co-hosting Australia’s COP31 with the Pacific, be conditional on greater climate action and provision of greater new and additional climate finance. Whilst we recognise that co-hosting would enhance the voices of small island states that have been consistently held back from opportunities on the global stage, we feel that this decision be postponed to a later Forum meeting. This will allow the Pacific countries to arrive at a united position as well as give Australia time to demonstrate tangible climate action, and what its global leadership will look like if made COP President with the Pacific’s endorsement. We have almost three years to COP31. We also call on the new Government of New Zealand to honour and exceed the climate commitments of the previous government. We are particularly concerned about the preelection position of the National Party to overturn New Zealand’s ban on offshore oil and gas exploration and the Act Party’s policies to repeal New Zealand’s Zero Carbon Act and Climate Change Commission. This would be unacceptable to the Pacific. If Australia, NZ, US and other development partners genuinely want to stand shoulder to shoulder with us, it is not enough to merely talk about climate change, nuclear and Blue Pacific but take real, tangible action now. Hilda Heine, Former President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands Thomas “Tommy” Remengesau, Former President of Palau Anote Tong,  Former President of the Republic of Kiribati Enele Sopoaga, Former Prime Minister of Tuvalu Dame Meg Taylor, Former Secretary General of the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat Robert Underwood, Former Member of U.S. Congress & President of the University of Guam Kaliopate Tavola, Ambassador and Former Minister, Government of Fiji Konai Helu Thaman, Former Professor, University of the South Pacific The Pacific Elders’ Voice is an independent group of Pacific people who have been leaders in the region. Our purpose is to provide guidance and advice that will strengthen Pacific resilience to current and future environmental, security, and human rights threats. We provide constructive policy inputs for current and future challenges and opportunities facing the Pacific Nations. Central to our values are that we are pacific lead as an organisation. This is critical to ensure we have custodianship and connection across the region. In our endeavours, we will ensure justice is at the forefront of our work. Working with Pacific groups, we will empower our youth and continue striving for Pacific independence.                

Climate campaigner welcomes Australia's return to the Green Climate Fund

Oct 2023 - News

    Climate campaigner and social activist Reverend James Bhagwan has welcomed Australia’s return to the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund. But says Reverend Bhagwan, who is General Secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches, a stronger stance is needed to stop coal mining. Click here for the full interview on ABC Pacific Beat. Image: Facebook                

Tuvalu Constitution updated: culture, climate change and decolonisation

Sep 2023 - News

    In this blog post from Development Policy Centre, Simon Kofe and Jessica Marinaccio explain the significance of the recent unanimously passed Constitution of Tuvalu Act 2023. One of the groundbreaking 2023 amendments to the Constitution formally recognises the threat of climate change and declares Tuvalu’s maritime zones, statehood and other entitlements permanent regardless of any effects climate change may have on the land territory of Tuvalu. For the full story, go to DevPolicyBlog. Image: Tuvalu Government Buildings:  Michael Coghlan / Flickr                

Biden makes new pledges to Pacific island leaders

Sep 2023 - News

    President Joe Biden met Pacific island leaders for a second White House summit in just over a year on 25 September. Biden pledged to work with Congress to provide $US200 million more in funding for the region for projects aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change, spurring economic growth, countering illegal fishing and improving public health. For the full story, go to RNZ International/Pacific news.   Image: Official White House photo / Wikicommons