Pacific, EU launch landmark ‘blue green’ climate alliance

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An Auckland climate rally
A Tokelauan woman brings her climate message to an Auckland rally. Image: Christine Rovoi/RNZ

RNZ Pacific

Pacific and European Union negotiators have launched the Blue Green Alliance at the COP26 Conference of Parties’ climate summit in Glasgow.

The EU’s Ambassador to the Pacific, Sujiro Seam, said all stakeholders lobbied for an ambitious outcome and accessibility to climate funding.

Seam said the EU would need to show the Pacific how best it could support the implementation of the recently adopted Climate Change Act.

COP26 GLASGOW 2021

“This is a package of available financing of 197 million euros for the years 2021 to 2027. This will be implemented in the countries of the Pacific with a very strong focus on climate change.”

Seam said the EU would hold further talks with member states to ensure their interests and priorities aligned with the Climate Act.

Alliance partner members have already established relationships in several countries, to work with governments and enhance their domestic policy, planning, and regulatory frameworks, as well as create more favourable investment environments.

Mark Carney, the UN’s special envoy on climate action and finance, said the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) deal demonstrated how the financial sector was “no longer a mirror that reflects a world that’s not doing enough”.

However, environmental groups warned there were too many loopholes in the ambitious plan and no legal obligation on the part of financial institutions to steer clear from investing in carbon-heavy activities.

European Union's ambassador for the Pacific, Sujiro Seam.
European Union’s ambassador for the Pacific, Sujiro Seam … “The key priority areas at COP26 will include keeping 1.5 degrees alive, scaling up support for adaptation, and loss and damage.” Image: RNZ/Sujiro Seam/Twitter

At the global level, there is a commitment from developed countries to provide US$100 billion in climate finance to countries which need it the most, Seam said.

He said the EU was taking more than its fair share because it was contributing $25 billion. He said the EU only contributed to eight percent of carbon emissions.

“The key priority areas at COP26 will include keeping 1.5 degrees alive, scaling up support for adaptation and loss and damage, oceans climate nexus, increased climate finance and finalising the Paris Agreement rule book,” he said.

Pacific youth rally for climate justice
Pacific climate warriors marched in Glasgow this week as world leaders continued to negotiate how best to save the planet.

To mark the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice, thousands of young environment advocates from across the world converged on the COP26 city.

More than 50,000 people attended the Glasgow rally on Friday.

Pacific climate activist Brianna Fruean said that if the Pacific was saved, the world could also be saved.

Brianna Fruean.
Pacific climate warrior Brianna Fruean … “It’s like trying to talk to leaders who continuously do not listen. So how do we tell that story differently?” Image: Christine Rovoi/RNZ

The Samoan student of Auckland University earlier addressed the UN climate meeting.

“It’s like trying to talk to leaders who continuously do not listen. So how do we tell that story differently?,” she said.

“I think for years UN and big structures like this has expected Pacific Islanders to come and cry and to come and show them our pain and say, we are here please help us, please save us. And that’s not the story I wanted to tell, I wanted to tell that story of resilience.”

Inspired by many
And while she is now the face of the region, Fruean said she had been inspired by many people.

“I am not one person, I am a collective of many. I have been so lucky to be enriched by our Pasifika people.

“Many of my elders who come from Fiji too. I call them elders because I learn from them and wisdom too and a lot of them who say they are youth adjacent.

“People like George Nacewa, Alisi Nacewa, his wife, all people that you might but… Fenton Lutunatabua, they are my mentors and they are the people who have guided me to come this far.”

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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