Will the real climate leaders please stand up?

20 June 2019

ECO recognizes that Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are on the frontlines of climate change, already facing impacts which pose an existential threat to their communities. This is their message to you delegates:

The Pacific deserves more than just to survive – we deserve to thrive. We are looking to you, delegates, for solidarity and the courage to act.

You can help to preserve the incredible wealth of this region’s languages which hold the stories and histories of thousands of islands, and millions of people whose culture, identity and traditional knowledge are a reflection of resilience, determination and courage in the face of the climate crisis.

These histories and cultures and our very identities are rooted in our homes, our islands and our oceans. Now, we stand to lose them all because of the current climate crisis – a crisis which we can still avert. A crisis which is causing many to leave our ancestral homes. Displacement and migration must be our last resort, and efforts to mitigate and transition to renewable energy should continue in order to minimize future impacts. However, if we are forced to move or choose to do so because of climate change, we should be able to do so safely and with dignity.

Responding to these growing realities demands far stronger action towards ending global carbon pollution, supporting resilient communities, protecting the rights for people on the move and developing long-term strategies to ensure that those who are forced to move now and in the future are able to relocate or migrate in a humane way. It is no doubt that the number of communities being displaced will increase as climate change impacts become more frequent and severe, including from flooding, coastal erosion, storms, and sea level rise.

We have the opportunity to ensure a future that is dignified, just and prosperous. A future not just for the Pacific, but for all our sons and daughters. The question is: will you act?

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