COP 28 | COPs best platform for Pacific voices, says Puna

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Pacific Islands Forum secretary general Henry Puna addresses the delegates during the Pacific Islands Forum Women Leaders meeting in Suva. Picture; JONA KONATACI

COPs could be viewed as ‘talkfests’ but for us, it is a global platform for us to advocate on our priorities and our concerns.

Pacific Islands Forum secretary general Henry Puna said this when asked by The Fiji Times whether the Conference Of Parties events amounted to ‘talkfests’ where Pacific people were given a platform to voice concerns and issues but there was no real urgency to address them.

“I guess one would be tempted to think that COPs are talkfests because you only need to look back at COP21 where the whole world committed to the Paris Agreement and signed so many ground-breaking commitments but then again, nothing much has happened,” he said.

“The emitters are carrying on their merry way making huge money from fossil fuels and the world is heading towards a disastrous end.

“So from that point of view, I guess one could categorise COPs, certainly based on recent historical experience, as being a talkfest.

“But for us in the Pacific, it is a global platform for us to advocate on our priorities and our concerns.

“So while others may be treating it as a talkfest, we from the Pacific are very serious and we will continue to advocate at COP.

“We are never going to give up.”

Espen Ronneberg, SPC’s Adviser, Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Programme, said one positive outcome of the COP meetings was the fact that the region “has really come together.”

“So while there may be a lot of talk, what we have been doing – is look at the specific challenges in the Pacific under the different thematic areas – climate financing for instance,” he said.

“We have analysed this in great detail and we have suggested solutions as to how we can improve on this.

“The problem is we then have to negotiate, we have to get a consensus with the other parties.

“We have been quite successful in getting full agreement from other island countries because they are facing the same challenges.”