The Hon. Alok Sharma – the UK COP 26 President, PSIDS Chair, Prime Minister of Samoa, Hon Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, President of the Republic of Palau, His Excellency Surangel S. Whipps Jnr, Hon Leaders, Ministers of the Pacific, distinguished guests, colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen.
In Glasgow at the opening and again at the closing ceremony, we recall the Hon. Alok Sharma asking whether the Parties have the courage to rise to the scale of the challenge?
For the Pacific – we have no choice but to rise to the scale of that challenge. Why? The Pacific has always been the voice of courage – vital – because it has the moral authority and ‘Mana’ in the climate negotiations. Our gathering today is an example of our ‘Collective Mana showcasing courage’. This is our commitment to the cause – for the success of the Glasgow Pact, for more urgent and bold climate action.
Today’s meeting is a clear demonstration of the Pacific’s critical engagement with the UK government and COP Presidency to keep up the momentum in progressing the global climate change agenda.
Our meeting today is also important as a platform for our ongoing engagement from which to springboard our work leading into Egypt COP27, but it also our collective drive to sustain the momentum. Our partnership with the UK leading up to COP26 has been very fruitful and successful. And I would like to acknowledge and thank the Leadership of the UK Government – Hon. Alok Sharma and your COP26 team. We look forward to continue working closely with the UK, and in a similar vein, it is vital for the Pacific that we have access to and have a similar engagement with Egypt as the in-coming COP COP27 Presidency.
Reflections on COP26 and steering a course toward COP27 have been central to our deliberations. We have all participated and contributed to a dialogue rich in essence, practical in its approach, and applicable to all stakeholders.
While there may be an array of views presented today, amidst this diversity we always find common ground, and that common ground is the goal of imparting knowledge, sharing of experiences, and lending our expertise towards plotting a clear path to COP27 that we will navigate in unison.
As was the case last year, the 2022 calendar is also rapidly expanding in terms of meetings and events we consider crucial to progressing our collective actions. And as such, emphasis must be placed on strategically planning and streamlining our meetings throughout the year, and to ensure such planning is executed to the greatest degree of efficiency and resulting in enhanced effectivity.
Last week, the Pacific SIDS convened a three-day Post-COP26 Analysis meeting with a focus on their reflections, experiences, and Outcomes of COP26, as well as looking ahead to COP27. As such, our meeting from last week, and through our dialogue with the UK Presidency, was convened to coincide with our meeting here today.
Indeed, we are aware there remains considerable work to be undertaken, many challenges to face, and barriers to overcome. If the UK wants this year to be a success – the Pacific must be involved and leading the way with other parties to Egypt. Our key message here - THE PACIFIC MUST NOT BE LEFT BEHIND. Whether it be high level meetings, technical workshops or informal talks, the Pacific must be there.
Our distance to the meeting hubs, transportation routes and restrictions, timely information and research, and in some places unstable internet connections are only but few challenges our delegations will continue to face in this year’s work. Timely information from the Secretariat with options and flexibility that take into account the Pacific, SIDS and LDC special consideration – IS A MUST - in order to participate effectively in the submissions, dialogue, intercessional work programme throughout this year.
The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic have yet and are unlikely to subside come COP27 for many in the Pacific. Nevertheless, the imperative of progressing work on behalf of our respective constituencies remains our highest priority.
Priorities which have been echoed here today in the form of technical thematic areas, and practical actions required for enhancing our coordination, cooperation, planning, and execution, and that these elements be taken forward throughout the year in the lead up to, during, and beyond COP27.
Moreover, we look forward to your leadership in taking us along in your engagement with Egypt, the next UNFCCC President, so that there is also smooth transition and that our concern, and our calls for climate action and opportunities – are heard and taken onboard.
Given this, and in the knowledge that there remains a substantial amount of work required in the lead up to COP27, I reiterate the point that we must maintain the momentum to ensure we leave no stone unturned as we navigate the Pacific pathway to COP27.
In closing, let me thank the Hon. Alok Sharma, COP 26 President, again for making time to be with us today, and to your COP26 team, and of course the UK Government for your leadership, and your efforts to engage with us here in the Pacific.
I also extend many thanks to the PSIDS Chair the Hon. Prime Minister of Samoa, to our Pacific Leaders, Political Champions, Ministers, Panelists, Excellencies, distinguished guests, and to all who have attended.
Fa’afetai tele lava and thank you.