sites/all/files/dsc03525.jpgOver the last couple of days, the heads of state from the Pacific Island nations have met in Auckland, New Zealand for the Pacific Island Forum Leaders meeting. It’s brought in some of the big wigs of global politics – from the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, to the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. It’s also brought together a small but dedicated Pacific team to participate and engage in the issues facing the Pacific region.

Climate change has risen to the top of the list of issues both in the leaders forum, and in the civil society side events. In a show of good will, the European Union Climate Action Ambassador, Connie Hedegaard met with a handful of Pacific Island civil society leaders at the Oxfam office, including two of our team. One of our Pacific youth, Christina Ora – famous for addressing the United Nations meeting in Copenhagen in 2009 on behalf of World youth with the words “you have been negotiating my whole life, do not tell me you need more time” – had this to say about the meeting:  

“Financial assistance is one key statement highlighted throughout the past couple of days. The emphasis was stressed, not only by Pacific Leaders but the Pacific Youths as well. With the overarching goal of utilizing such aid for adaptation and mitigation approaches, Ms Hedegaard stressed that the EU is ready to commit to a longer-term binding agreement, but it can’t commit alone. Pacific Islands must be evident in their approach and put pressure on the other large polluters like the United States, South Africa, China and Japan. The only way we can do this is with continued public pressure.

That’s why when I had the chance to meet the Solomon Islands Prime Minister today, I invited him to our Moving Planet event. On September 24th, we will mobilize school and church youths in an exciting, influential and fun filled day of climate educational awareness program. At the same time we’ll be calling on the big emitters listen to our plea to act on Climate Change.”

There’s one more day of meetings tomorrow – in which our team will be participating in the official youth side event, as well as visiting one of the local schools. We’ll keep you updated along the way.

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