New Zealand has to take a stronger role to help the front-line climate change nations of the Pacific build up their adaptation to the destructive and unrelenting effects of climate change, says Labour’s Pacific Climate Change spokesperson Su’a William Sio.
“The recommendation of the Oxfam report “After Paris: Climate Change in the Pacific Islands” highlights the need for urgent regional action.
“We must improve access to the Green Climate Fund so vulnerable Pacific island nations can finance their plans to fight for their very survival.
“I think it’s nonsensical for New Zealand and other developed nations to say ‘here’s money in the Green Climate Fund you can apply for’, and then make the rules so complex it’s virtually impossible for small island governments to access it.
“The New Zealand Government also needs to be more open and transparent about how we are helping the Pacific, which countries we are helping, and how much we are supporting adaption and resilience building. It needs to be clear whether the promised $200 million over four years is new money or money from existing development assistance.
“The Oxfam report reveals that ‘New Zealand’s climate finance dedicated to adaptation has dropped to 20 per cent meaning the rest has probably been spent on mitigation (reducing carbon pollution) when the Pacific itself contributes less than 0.03 per cent of carbon emissions on a world scale’.
“Although relocation is a last resort, the report highlights that some Pacific communities must migrate to survive climate change. I have been promoting migration with dignity as a long term adaptation plan, at my public presentations.
“It costs money to put such a plan together. That money should come from International Climate Funding sources,” says Su’a William Sio.