Pacific nations lead on climate. We must now do the same for nature
(Reuters, 24 Nov 2020) Progress on climate action is at risk of unravelling if Pacific island states do not step up on the related crisis of nature loss.
Peter Thomson the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, in which role he drives global support for UN Sustainable Development Goal 14, to conserve and sustainably use the Ocean’s resources.
On 20 February 2016, Cyclone Winston made landfall in Fiji. The most intense tropical storm system yet recorded in the South Pacific, it drove a path of devastation across the country, destroying 40,000 homes and causing $1.4 billion worth of damage.
As the tropical cyclone season begins again for the South Pacific, Pacific island nations look to their weather charts for signs of nascent storms. They well know that one of the main features of global climate change is that of increased frequency and intensity of tropical storms.
At the same time, they can look back proudly on the work they have undertaken since 2016, both at home and on the global stage of climate change negotiations. Pacific voices have been among the most strident calling for greater climate action. ‘Save us and save the world’, their Leaders have cried. The world’s first Gender Action Plan, acknowledging women’s role on the frontline of both climate change and climate action, was adopted at UN climate talks in 2017 under Fiji’s Presidency.