Pacific leaders declare climate crisis, demand end to coal

Source: RNZ

Pacific leaders have declared a climate crisis in the region and are demanding an end to coal mining.

The declaration was signed by several regional leaders at the Pacific Islands Development Forum in Fiji on Tuesday.

The declaration expresses grave concerns about the impacts the climate crisis will have on the Pacific.

In it, the Pacific Islands Development Forum called on governments of countries with high carbon emissions to stop hindering climate change efforts.

It also demands all coal producers immediately stop any new coal mining and phase out all existing production over the next 10 years.

The declaration asked the development forum’s 14-member states to immediately end subsidies on fossil fuel production.

Echoing 2018’s Boe Declaration from the Pacific Islands Forum, Tuesday’s declaration affirmed “that climate change poses the single greatest threat to the human rights and security of present and future generations of Pacific Island peoples”.

The move was welcomed by environmental non-profit 350.org, with founder Bill McKibben calling it a “very powerful manifesto”.

“The election, in the Pacific, of the government of Australia that continues to want to expand coal mines is a slap in the face to everyone else in that region and in the world,” he said in a videoed statement.

Bainimarama calls for concrete commitments to cut emissions

Meanwhile, Fiji’s prime minister said Pacific leaders should accept nothing less than concrete commitments to cut emissions at next month’s Pacific Islands Forum Summit.

Frank Bainimarama will be attending his first summit since 2008.

Fiji was suspended in 2009 in the wake of the 2006 coup and the abrogation of the then-constitution.

Mr Bainimarama had said he would stay away until New Zealand and Australia were no longer full Forum members.

In a speech at the Pacific Islands Development Forum – which was set up by Fiji after its suspension – Mr Bainimarama said the region cannot accept any watered-down commitments.

At last year’s forum, Australia was exposed as having attempted to water down a resolution that declared climate change the region’s greatest security threat.

Mr Bainimarama said the region needs greater commitments from the region’s bigger neighbours, hinting at Australia and New Zealand.

“Fiji and the Marshall Islands have already announced our intention to revise our own nationally determined contributions, and I urge this … membership to do the same and demand the same from the more developed economies, including and especially our large neighbours in the Pacific.

“We should accept anything less than concrete commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions in line with the most ambitious aspirations of the Paris Agreement. We cannot allow climate commitments to be watered down at a meeting hosted in a nation whose very existence is threatened by the rising waters lapping at its shores.”

Frank Bainimarama
Frank Bainimarama Photo: RNZ / Koroi Hawkins

PNG’s donated APEC vehicles given to state agencies, NGOs and churches

By Simon Keslep in Port Moresby

The 166 donated vehicles used during last year’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in Papua New Guinea have been distributed to government institutions, non-governmental organisations and churches.

They were handed over by the Department of Finance in Port Moresby last Friday.

Present to officially handover vehicle keys to recipients was Minister for Finance and Rural Development Charles Abel and Finance Secretary Dr Ken Ngangan.

The vehicles were donated to the Papua New Guinea government by the governments of China and Japan.

“As part of the process of disposing of assets acquired for APEC, we are starting with the vehicles given, they are of high value. The disposal will not only include vehicles but all assets that were purchased by the APEC authority,” said Dr Ngangan.

– Partner –

“It has taken us a long time but the process that we going through are done transparently so to account for all assets purchased.”

Dr Ngangan said all these was submitted to the Finance Minister and then to the attention of the National Procurement Commission for endorsement of disposal of donated assets.

Public assets
He said the process of disposal follows under the Procurement Act and the Public Finance Management Act complies with disposal requirements.

“The Department of Finance is the department responsible for the disposal of public assets and we have now taken ownership of all assets purchased by the APEC Authority.

The next process will include the state-purchased assets which is about 321 in total,” he said.

“After that we will provide a full report and submit to our Finance Minister, and to the National Executive Council, National Procurement Commission board and other oversight agencies like Ombudsman Commission and to everyone including the general public.”

Simon Keslep is a PNG Post-Courier journalist.

Post-referendum options raised in New Caledonia

By RNZ Pacific

After the third referendum the provisions of the Noumea Accord would expire, posing fresh challenges. Image: RNZ Pacific
After the third referendum the provisions of the Noumea Accord would expire, posing fresh challenges. Image: RNZ Pacific

France’s outgoing High Commissioner to New Caledonia has said should preparations be needed for a third referendum on independence from France, there would have to be consideration of what happens thereafter.

Thierry Lataste, who will end his tenure at the weekend, told Les Nouvelles Caledoniennes that efforts are now being made to hold a second referendum, which has been called for by both pro- and anti-independence politicians under the terms of the Noumea Accord.

A first referendum last November saw a majority of 56 percent opt for the status quo, with expectations that the next vote will yield a similar result.

Lataste said after a third referendum the provisions of the Noumea Accord would expire which would pose fresh challenges, including the make-up of the rolls.

There have also been claims that thousands of Kanak voters failed to get onto the restricted roll used for the referendum, but Lataste says every effort had been made to track down voters on the general roll.

He said that on the referendum day there were no people saying they had not managed to enrol.

  • This article is published under the Pacific Media Centre’s content partnership with Radio New Zealand.