'Climate justice!' Pacific call at UN SIDS conference in Samoa - Delegation leaving Sydney to promote human rights perspective on Pacific climate change impact

A delegation of four climate change advocates from the Pacific Calling Partnership will leave Sydney today for the Samoan capital, Apia to promote the calls of Pacific communities for 'climate justice' at the 3rd UN Conference on Small Island Developing States, 'SIDS'.

“The fears of Pacific Island communities in climate-vulnerable atoll nations continue to grow as impacts of climate change incrementally disrupt traditional living in our home villages,” said Pacific Calling Partnership spokesperson Maria Tiimon Chi-fang.  

“Climate change displacement is a growing reality for the people of the atoll nations of the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, and Kiribati, for the people of PNG's Carteret Islands  and too for Australian atoll communities in the Torres Strait,” affirmed Ms Tiimon Chi-fang, an I-Kiribati woman living in Sydney whose climate advocacy work was featured in the award-winning SBS documentary The Hungry Tide. 

“During this conference we will see leaders within the UN system, together with high-level representatives from many governments from throughout the world, turn their attention to specifically consider the challenges for sustainable development that are being confronted by small island developing states. In this context the goal of our delegation in Apia will be to highlight the additional obstacles to development that climate-change-related sea-encroachments pose for atoll communities. We'll underline to the world community the need not only for the promised funding for adaptation programs but also for national governments to implement selfless unilateral processes to urgently reduce carbon emissions,” emphasised Ms Tiimon Chi-fang, who is community outreach officer for the Pacific Calling Partnership. 

“The Abbott Government is committed to reduce Australia's emissions by 5% below 2000 levels by 2020,” added PCP coordinator Jill Finnane. “This is the same commitment promised by Labor – but it is by no means an adequate response to the evidence. I urge Prime Minister Abbott to visit these atoll communities in order to witness the damage first hand, and thus to see the bigger picture, and to commit to substantially reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions,” she said. “I hope Mr Abbott could visit an atoll nation before the 23rd September UN Climate Summit in New York which over 100 heads of state will attend. The Apia SIDS Conference will be a curtain raiser to the New York Leaders' Summit. UN Secretary General has called for bold action to reduce emissions and wants major announcements in New York.”

Ms Tiimon and Ms Finnane will attend the UN SIDS Conference in Apia, Samoa from Mon 1st to Fri 5th September 2014 together with Edmund Rice Centre director Phil Glendenning and also with 19 year old youth climate advocate from Kiribati Mr Apisaloma Tawati who was a training participant earlier this year in Sydney and Canberra in PCP's Kiribati Australia Tuvalu Exchange Program (KATEP). 

For interview or comment contact:- 
Phil Glendenning: 0419-013-758 or Sean Cleary: 0403-434-512

Since 2006 the Edmund Rice Centre initiative 'Pacific Calling Partnership' (PCP), has worked to promote knowledge of and action with the people of the low-lying Pacific Island communities most threatened by the effects of climate change. PCP delegations, with representation from Australia & from affected low-lying Pacific Island communities, have participated in UN Climate summits: COP13 Bali; COP15 Copenhagen; COP16 Cancun; COP17 Durban & COP18 Doha.

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