Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, Enele Sopoaga left the Apia Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in the weekend an unhappy man. Because there was no commitment to climate change Insurance as his country proposed.
Sopoaga insisted that the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) leaders should focus their discussions and deliberations on issues of common concern to the Pacific and not on “high politics such as North Korea.”
Speaking to Talamua just after the meeting communiqué was released, Sopoaga was very vocal in his thoughts about the North Korean issue and how the Pacific leaders responded to it quicker and made very little mention of the climate change insurance.
“We feel for the people of North Korea, but we have nothing to do with it, and to deal with this rather than looking at climate change, which is as dangerous as what Korea is doing is absurd,” insisted Sopoaga.
He went further and accused Australia of being the biggest coal exporter from this region and supplying the raw materials to China and Korea.
Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcom Turnbull attended the Forum in his first visit to Samoa since becoming Prime Minister, and media commentators in Australia point out that coal and climate change will make no mention in the Apia Forum meeting since it’s a political issue in his constituency.
“The Forum is supposed to discuss issues from its members and small island states in the context of the Forum, and if the Forum is no longer relevant for Small Island countries, then they (small island states) have the right to move away,” said Sopoaga.
“Why should they come to a Forum that only supports political wishes of the big countries,” he added.
He also clarified the difference between the Green Climate Fund and the Disaster Risk Response.
“The Disaster Risk Response is under a different framework, nothing to do with climate change,” Sopoaga explained.
He said the climate change insurance was flagged during the Istanbul Summit on Humanitarian Response last year and got filtered into the regional projects.
Sopoaga is also aware that Australia does not support the climate change insurance policy Tuvalu proposed.
“With the climate change insurance, we want a facility that covers a response to climate change effect, so that when countries are affected there’s a facility to provide us cover so that we can seek for recovery funding to rebuild,” said PM Sopoaga.
He said the response to natural disasters such as tsunami and earthquakes are not the same, because these disasters are not eligible under the Green Climate Fund, so the Pacific Islands must take this into account.
“We can put in a nice proposal to a tsunami response to an insurance company or country, but we will never get a cent out of the climate change financing,” said Sopoaga.
“Climate change is a complicated global issue and I’m glad Pacific Island leaders made a decision on it here in the protocol text of security, but it doesn’t mean, we bow to big donors wishes,” said Sopoaga.
He made reference to The Samoa Pathway SIDS where it says “Durable and Genuine Partnerships” but it does not say “donations or by donors to the beggars.”
“Those days are over and I’m saying to them (big countries) keep your money if you don’t want to be involved in this insurance facility, but don’t deny us the right to ask for protection for cover,” said Sopoaga.
He cited an example where a country put forward a proposal for insurance, and he said this will “establish formulas, so the speed of the wind will determine almost exactly the cost of the damages.”
“The height of the surge of the waves , the winds, rain and flooding will determine almost the damages, and therefore you can almost workout the kind of fund at the level of response needed, and these are to be developed under the insurance cover ,” said Sopoaga.
The main thing is Australia does not know that this is the requirement of the Loss and Damage in the Paris Agreement
“I don’t know whether they like it or not, but it is not for them to decide,” said Sopoaga.
“Under paragraph 8 of the Paris Agreement, Loss and Damage, there is a provision that provides insurance cover for the small island states,” he insisted.
SOURCE: TALAMUA ONLINE/PACNEWS