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Climate Change Campaign In The South

  • September 8th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

ban-ki-moon.jpgAnxiety about climate change and rising seas has been a mark of the Pacific Islands Forum for several years – moreso this year with Europe and United Nations contributing to the debate.

As this year’s summit of the 16 member body was beginning in Auckland, 7.9.11, the New Zealand Herald commented:

“European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso swept into the Pacific summit in Auckland yesterday with the same message as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (picture, receiveing greetings), who swept out – address climate change.

“He opened his purse to announce a NZ$17 million Pacific fund for climate change-related projects.

“The addition of international heavyweights to the forum is part of New Zealand’s bid to lift the profile and muscle of the Pacific Islands Forum.”

The same report noted the presence of a strong American contingent, reflecting increased United States engagement in the South Pacific reigon.

(Part of the background to that might be the growing presence of  Chinese interests in the island states, pursuing activities from fishing, to mining and forestry, and development assistance work – committed in a renowned competition with Taiwan for official recognition by governments.)

The forum received reports for action on not only the threat of rising sea water, with requests for help in getting access “climate change” money pledged by donor states, but endemic violence against women in several regions.

The lock-out of Fiji is to continue; some of the post-colonial leaders had equivocated about obliging a firm Australian and New Zealand line, requiring a return to democratic government there, and got a concession (in the name of protecting an innocent public) for Fijian officials to talk trade with other member countries.

Other matters: poverty, regional development assistance (Australia, then the EU being the two leading contributors), and urgent development concerns like clean water.

Pressure groups brought their agendas, like the West Papua human rights campaign.

Returning to Australia, Ban Ki-Moon spoke at length at Sydney University on efforts against climate change worldwide.

China was cited for its pledge to reduce carbon intensity by 45%, by the end of the decade, the country already producing half the world’s solar energy; Japan was working to end fossil fuels use by 2015; India was planning a 300% rise in investment in clean energy this decade; Mexico and South Korea were also running ambitious programs.

The European Union was sticking to its pledged levels of carbon  reduction, to be down 20% by 2020.

“Its commitment has not wavered even in the face of tough economic circumatances”, he said.


Audrey Young, NZ Herald, Auckland, “Address climate change, heavyweights urge”, 8.9.11.

Pacific.Scoop, Pacific Media Centre, Te Amokura, Auckland,”UN Secretary-General: Opening remarks with NZ PM John Key”, 8.9.11., (9.9.11).


PMC, Te Amokura