Pacific Island countries are uniquely affected by the impacts of climate change. This is a global challenge. No single country can solve this issue by itself. Climate change requires ambitious and co-ordinated action.
The Paris Agreement, signed and ratified by all Pacific Island countries, set the goals of holding the increase in the global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperatures increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The United Kingdom and New Zealand reaffirm our joint commitment to work with Pacific Island countries to take action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, reduce vulnerability and increase resilience to the impacts of climate change.
Pacific countries – including those with medium to high per capita GDP – continue to suffer from diseconomies of scale, external economic shocks, uncertainty caused by future climate impacts and catastrophic climatic events. The UK and New Zealand recognise that individual and co-ordinated action is required to address the vulnerabilities of Pacific Island countries to support their sustainable and prosperous future.
The United Kingdom and New Zealand are committed to supporting international action to address issues of oceans, access to development and climate finance, advice on climate induced migration and issues around climate induced insecurity across the Pacific. We, together with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, facilitated the Wilton Park Forum on Climate Change and Resilience in the Pacific held in December 2018 to support Pacific Island countries to advance practical action on these issues. The forum, attended by Ministers from the UK and New Zealand, was a great opportunity for us to work together along with our Pacific partners and we will look at how we can build on that cooperation in the region over the coming year.
The United Kingdom will open 3 new diplomatic posts in the Pacific next year – Vanuatu, Samoa and Tonga – and a new UK regional development expert will be based in Fiji from 2019 onwards. These new UK posts will work with New Zealand and like minded partners to maximise the impact of multilateral spending to address Pacific Island Countries’ vulnerability to climate risks.
New Zealand announced the Pacific Reset in 2018, a refreshed approach to the Pacific based on a depth of understanding, friendship, mutual benefit, collective ambition and sustainability. To support the reset, New Zealand has announced a significant increase to our official development assistance budget, much of which will be focused on supporting key Pacific priorities, including climate change mitigation and adaptation, and expanding New Zealand’s diplomatic footprint in the region.
We will also work together to use the UK Prime Minister’s role as resilience champion at the UN Secretary-General’s 2019 Climate Summit to galvanise world leaders and drive transformative action. We will use this opportunity to drive a step-change in the way we collectively build resilience to the impacts of climate change to ensure a more secure and prosperous future for all, including those countries particularly vulnerable to climate change such as Small Island States, many of which are in the Pacific.