Good afternoon to everyone.
Kia Ora, Talofa lava, Gutpela dei lo every one of you who is watching or tuning in.
Let me pass my appreciation to our senior leader in the Pacific, Prime Minister of Samoa, H. E. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi. Thank you very much for his hospitality through or virtual conference as well as his kind words in ensuring this meeting is convened.
I also recognise friends in the University of Victoria. My memories of my visit to New Zealand and to your esteemed University are still very fresh. Let me also acknowledge the work of the National University of Samoa and SPREP for the leadership taken here to ensure this meeting is taking place and more importantly, constructive dialogue on the issues of climate change as well as sea level rise and many of the consequential effects of climate change that we are experiencing in our Pacific neighbourhood.
I am honoured to share through this virtual meeting Papua New Guinea's commitment to our collective efforts to combat the adverse effects of climate change one! promote the sustainable use of the Ocean.
Honourable Leaders, ladies and gentlemen,
The ocean is our Identity, source of life and a revenue generating resource for many of us as Pacific Island Countries.
The adverse effects of climate change vary from region to region and from country to country. For the Pacific Island Countries, it is an issue of our very survival and sovereign identity.
Voicing the climate change concerns of the region must therefore be in one accord.
I can never say this enough: Climate change is real and a threat to all of us. The Pacific region is already experiencing the catastrophic impacts of climate change and disasters associated with it.
The recent findings of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) 'Statement on the State of the Global Climate 2019' confirmed that the average global temperature increased and has surpassed 1.1 degrees Celsius. There are many other reports also that reaffirm what science has been telling us, that with the current trend, it is almost certain that we will surpass the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold by 2030. This is of serious concern to me and to all of us collectively in the Pacific Islands.
Honourable leaders, ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to note that the Theme of this Conference, 'Blue Pacific, Climate Action for Climate Resilience' , reaffirms the 50th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders statement encapsulated in the 'Kainaki II Declaration for urgent Climate Change Action Now'. The Declaration, which I believe was our strongest statement thus far, recognises climate change as an imminent threat facing our Blue Pacific Region.
As we are in the 2020 Milestone of the Paris Agreement, and as reflected in the Kainaki II Declaration, countries must meet or exceed their Nationally Determined Contributions (NOCs) in line with the 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature goal and formulate low emissions development strategies. Developed countries must also meet their climate change commitment of USD 100 billion financing by this year. The future of the Blue Pacific Continent and the world depends on these.
Honourable Leaders, ladies and gentlemen,
Papua New Guinea is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change just like many of our smaller Pacific Island Countries. Our country is experiencing coastal erosion, sea level rise in the low-lying atolls, higher temperatures in our once cooler regions and extreme weather events.
If Papua New Guinea, the largest Pacific Island nation, can face these sorts of extreme effects of global climate change, let me advocate for the voice of our smaller island states. Many of them are totally exposed to sea level rise and climate change issues
The Government of Papua New Guinea (GoPNG) has shown its commitment to fulfil its obligations under the UNFCCC. This includes mainstreaming climate change in its development priorities, as captured in the Vision 2050, the National Strategic Plan 2010-2030 and others. Our Government’s strategy on climate change identifies key priority areas to improve economic growth while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing climate resilience.
The long-term plan of our government takes into account our NDC which was first submitted in 2016. Further work on the review this year, under the Paris Agreement, seeks an enhanced NDC with sectoral policies, plans and strategies that stakeholders will implement.
We are working to revise our NDC before the end of 2020 and to start preparing for the Biennial Transparency Report for 2024.
Papua New Guinea has demonstrated its commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and submitted its first Biennial Updated Report and REDD+ Annex in 2019.
We are aligning with like-minded parties and groups to support and ensure that a share of proceeds (SOP) to accrue from all projects and activities in both Article 6.2 and 6.4 go towards the Adaptation Fund. The role of finance in the implementation of Article 6 on Markets and Non-Markets amongst the other operational articles is very important.
This is integral to our overall efforts to cut emissions in the various carbon intensive sectors nationally, and in turn contribute to reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.
Papua New Guinea will continue to welcome new development partners staying together, putting innovative solutions that can be pioneered in areas in which climate change issues can be contained or mitigated while ensuring that we have sustainable development in our region.
Honourable Leaders, ladies and gentlemen:
To conclude, I strongly encourage all of us to be genuine to our commitments and take bold actions on addressing our common climate change challenges.
I, at this juncture, would like to commend how our various partners in the Pacific are standing up and advocating for climate change issues.
As you know, our region stands totally exposed to climate change issues like weather patterns changes, sea level rises, and consequents of climate change is real in Smaller Island States.
Pacific Island nations stand totally exposed.
Let me thank our academics, scientists and researchers in our Pacific Region, more so, Universities like the Victoria University and National University for Samoa for hosting this auspicious meeting, for our advocacy to remain strong in as far are smaller Pacific Island States becoming victims of climate change and sea level rises.
The threat is very real amongst us and we must collectively find solutions and stand up to advocate that we are facing this imminent danger. Let me appreciate this meeting.
Let me place on record Papua New Guinea’s effort in ensuring that we remain committed to our global commitments in as far as climate change is concerned.
But whilst Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Island Nations rally to ensure our global commitment to climate change is met, it is really incumbent on larger nations globally to ensure that their commitments are meet, and to ensure that the advocacy and voice of smaller island states are heard and support is rendered.
I speak for nations like Tuvalu, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Cook Islands and all Smaller Island Nations. We stand totally exposed and I would like to encourage SPREP, University of Victoria and every other academics in our region to advocate and sound it out to the world around us that Pacific Island Nations are totally exposed to climate change.
We have little contribution to carbon footprint globally, yet, we are the biggest victim in as far as exposure to climate change is concerned.
Greater nations out there need to take heed and listen to us. If you put the entire Blue Pacific together, we have the biggest space on the planet and our voices need to be heard.
I, at this junction, would like to take on advocacy on behalf of our Smaller Island States to the world around us. They must take heed and listen to the collective voice of the Pacific Islands' group of nations because we are victims to the carbon footprints of larger nations globally.
On this note, let me conclude and thank the organisers of this forum for inviting me to be a part of this occasion. I hope conversations here do not stop but continue our advocacy of the fact that we are exposed to climate change. Let us come together collectively as a body of nations to address climate change issues.
Faafetai Lava, Tenk Yu Tumas, Nga Mihi Nui and God Bless everyone.
Hon. James Marape, MP