COP27: Platform will boost Pacific presence at UN climate conference

Children in Vanuatu protest for climate change action
Children in Vanuatu have taken to the streets and the waterways campaigning for the urgency to address climate change. Image: Hilaire Bule/RNZ Pacific

By Rachael Nath, RNZ Pacific journalist

A platform has been dedicated to bolster the Pacific leadership at the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties — COP27.

Known as the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion, the Fono or council aims to faciliate talanoa, or conversation, and knowledge-sharing on issues important to the Pacific, especially advocacy for ambitious climate action and the need for financing.

More than 70 side events will be hosted at the Pavilion, providing a platform for Pacific people to tell their stories.

Another space, the Pacific Delegation Office, has been set up for hosting meetings with partners and strategising negotiation approaches.

New Zealand Climate Change Ambassador Kay Harrison said the platforms were a key part of ensuring the Pacific’s voice was heard and considered.

The two platforms are part of a Pacific partnership with New Zealand managed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

Meanwhile, Tonga Meteorological Services Deputy Director Laitia Fifita said his department was attending the conference to share data on Tonga’s climate, which had seen the appearance of four devastating cyclones over the last decade.

“Not only is our director attending this meeting but also the head of government, and the King and Queen are also attending.

“So it’s a nationwide approach, taking relevant issues about the impacts of climate change on small island developing states including Tonga.”

COP27 kicks off this weekend in Sham El Sheikh, Egypt, with an estimated 45,000 people expected to attend.

However, climate experts are not holding their breath for major breakthroughs at the annual conference, with some concerns rich countries will be missing in action.

Tuvalu's foreign minister Simon Kofe
In one of the most iconic images relating to COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, Tuvalu Foreign Minister Simon Kofe spoke in knee-deep water to show rising seawater levels. Image: RNZ Pacific/EyePress News/EyePress/AFP/TVBC
Climate activists and delegates stage a walk out in protest of the ongoing negotiations yesterday.
Climate activists and delegates protesting at COP26 in Glasgow in 2021. Image: RNZ Pacific/AFP

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

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