The Paris Agreement and the Pacific islands

A regional meeting of Pacific island countries is now underway on the implications, obligations and, opportunities for the implementation, of the Paris Agreement.

6 April 2016, Apia, Samoa, HLSM - Hailed as a historical milestone, the Paris Agreement adopted at the end of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP21) in France last year is the topic of a three day High Level gathering of Pacific island countries.

The High Level Support Mechanism Meeting for Pacific Small Island Developing States opened today in Samoa, the outcomes of which will be a well informed and prepared Pacific region to meet their obligations under the Paris Agreement.

HLSM1

"The Pacific has shown our strength in our combined efforts, in working together leading up to and at COP 21," said Hon Siaosi Sovaleni, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga as he opened the High Level event.

"I urge you again to continue that and to make the most of the opportunities presented by the Paris Agreement. To make this most of this regionalism through sharing experiences, exploiting synergies, improving coordination, and forming partnerships but with implementation focusing on our national priorities."

The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius about pre-industrial levels.

The Pacific islands are amongst the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change with varying impacts felt by different islands across the region. Leading up to the Paris Agreement messages were loud and clear that if global temperatures rise above 1.5C, the Pacific islands would not survive.

"The time for talking and rhetoric is now over, the time for action is now," said Mr. Kosi Latu, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

"What is important for us now is to look at implementation issues, what do we need to do next? This is the time to flesh out and unpack the decisions in the Paris Agreement and map out the next steps for us in the Pacific."

HLSM3"We need Climate Change action to save our islands" - #4PacIslands

Now adopted, the Paris Agreement will be open for signing on 22 April this year at the United Nations in New York. It will come into full legal force and effect when at least 55 Parties to the UNFCCC that accounts for at least 55 percent of the total global greenhouse emissions at 2010 levels have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

To date, Fiji, Nauru, Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands have these in place, ready for ratification upon signing. The HLSM underway this week will also help the region be well informed and prepared for the next steps associated with implementation, including signature and ratification.

The three day event from 6 to 8 April in Samoa is coordinated by Climate Analytics and Charles and Associates in partnership with SPREP under the High Level Support Mechanism Project funded by the German Government Federal Ministry of Environment and Buildings (BMUB) and its International Climate Initiative.
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