Our Pacific Calling Partnership team is back from Saibai and Boigu islands in the Torres Strait and we wanted you to know about the important Statement of Solidarity signed between Pacific Elders and Saibai and Boigu leaders during our visit.
Saibai and Boigu are the northern most land masses in Australia bordering Papua New Guinea (PNG). They are also islands of the Torres Strait with special arrangements based on family and cultural links with villages on the PNG mainland covered by the Torres Strait Treaty between Australia and PNG.
Pictured below (Centre) is former President of Kiribati and Chair of the Pacific Elders' Voice HE Anote Tong who visited Saibai and Boigu islands with us, next to Uncle Paul Kabai, Saibai Island Traditional Owner (Left) and Uncle Pabai Pabai, Boigu Island Traditional Owner (Right).
Like many Pacific island nations, Boigu and Saibai islands in the Torres Strait are experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change - the loss of land to the sea, growing soil salinity and inability to grow crops, flooded roads and changing weather patterns.
The Statement of Solidarity calls for governments like Australia to listen to the voices of Pacific and Torres Strait Islanders, stop subsidising fossil fuels and take urgent decisive climate action to ensure that global warming remains below 1.5 degrees C.
Our visit to the Torres Strait was rich in culture and hope. We were asked to conduct several climate-related workshops, including in local schools - see below our Pacific Outreach Project Officer Maria Tiimon Chi-Fang talking with school students about the impacts of climate change on her homeland of Kiribati.
We also worked with the Sabai and Boigu communities to grow climate leadership and advocacy and we are hopeful that this is the beginning of a fruitful partnership that will help promote the lived experiences of climate change by Australian Islanders and help secure adequate assistance from our government to protect their homelands.
Thank you once again to all those who donated to make this trip a reality. If you would like to support our work in this space, you can still donate here.
'Alopi Latukefu (Director) and Corinne Fagueret (Coordinator Pacific Calling Partnership)