Suva Declaration on Climate Change

Suva, Fiji
Friday, September 4, 2015
SUVA DECLARATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
 
We, the Leaders of the Pacific Islands Development Forum following open, transparent and inclusive discussions with stakeholders undertaken during the Pacific Islands Development Forum Third Annual Summit held in Suva, Fiji between 2-4 September 2015 declare that we:
 
1. Are gravely distressed that climate change poses irreversible loss and damage to our people, societies, livelihoods, and natural environments; creating existential threats to our very survival and other violations of human rights to entire Pacific Small Island Developing States;
2. Express profound concern that the scientific evidence unequivocally proves that the climate system is warming and that human influence on the climate system is clear, but appropriate responses are lacking;
3. See and suffer from the adverse impacts of climate change, including but not limited to increased intensity of tropical cyclones, sea level rise, severe storm surges, more frequent and more extreme weather events, coral bleaching, saltwater intrusions, higher king tides, coastal erosion, changing precipitation patterns, submersion of islands, and ocean acidification, with scientific evidence clearly informing us these impacts will further intensify over time;
4. Note with great regret the suffering of our people from the effects of climate change as expressed in common existing statements, declarations and positions namely the 2015 BOKNAKE HAUS Communique of the 15th Micronesian President’s Summit, the Melanesian Spearhead Group Declaration on Environment and Climate Change, and the 2015 Taputapuatea Polynesian Leaders Declaration on Climate Change;
5. Are deeply disappointed that current international pledges for action as contained in submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), to stabilize global average temperature increase to well below 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels, remain grossly inadequate, with emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) continuing to rise;
6. Express grave concern that the continued increase in the production of fossil fuels, particularly the construction of new coal mines, undermines efforts to reduce global GHG emissions and the goal of decarbonising the global economy;
7. Highlight that irreversible loss and damage caused by climate change goes beyond adaptation and is already a reality for PSIDS if there is inadequate mitigation action, and that climate change is already resulting in forced displacement of island populations and the loss of land and territorial integrity and further highlight that such loss and damage results in breaches of social and economic rights; 
8. Support the establishment of a Pacific Small Islands Developing States regional task force on climate financing to ensure adequate funding for adaptation and mitigation actions to address, amongst other things:
a. Our deep concerns about the continued lack of any clear roadmap for developed countries to provide USD 100 billion climate finance per year by 2020, as well as on substantially scaling up climate funding support after 2020;
b. The implementation of a fully effective operation of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) with timely disbursement of funds in order to limit global temperature increases to below 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels and transition towards a global, low emission, and sustainable climate resilient development pathway. Pacific Small Island Developing States must continue to be represented and supported on the GCF board;
c. Our deep concerns of proposals that adaptation funding be provided as loans or reimbursable grants rather than grants. As a consequence, Pacific Small Islands Developing States will either need to increase debt or divert resources from other development priorities to meet adaptation costs;
d. The requirement for a portfolio of funding of bilateral and multilateral mechanisms;
9. Welcome the conclusion of the Structured Expert Dialogue of the 2013-15 Review under the UNFCCC, that the goal to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2⁰C above pre-industrial levels is inadequate in view of the ultimate objective of the Convention. The latest science suggests that the 2⁰C ‘guardrail’ concept is no longer safe for the survival of our Pacific Small Island Developing States;
10. Emphasize that scientific evidence indicates that limiting warming to well below 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels will significantly reduce impacts, risks, adaptation needs, as well as loss and damage, and that actions to this effect will not significantly impact on economies;
11. Reiterate our commitment to the advancement of our national mitigation strategies and low carbon economies and net carbon sink status, as part of the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
12. Reaffirm that the ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol is the stabilization of greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system;
13. Urge all parties to the Kyoto Protocol to ratify and implement the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol;
14. Emphasize that the global nature of climate change requires all countries to cooperate with a view to accelerating the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, with developed countries taking the lead with respect to mitigation actions and the means of implementation for combating climate change; 
15. Emphasize that the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement must provide in a balanced manner all the six elements identified in the Durban Mandate. Loss and damage must be included separately as the seventh element, and that the Agreement must ensure a truly shared global vision for a sustainable future;
16. Recognize that addressing gender based inequality and discrimination is essential for effective action on climate change; 17. Recognize the importance of engaging, as equal partners, civil society, women, youth and persons with disabilities, in all efforts towards building climate change resilience; 18. Recognize that a number of Pacific Islands Development Forum member states have submitted proposals to phase out Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) under the Montreal Protocol. Leaders agreed that such action was a critical component of comprehensive climate change mitigation strategy and agreed to pursue a phase out of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol at its Meeting of the Parties in Dubai this year;
19. We the Leaders of the Pacific Islands Development Forum following consultation with and the agreement of all stakeholders at the Pacific Island Development Forum Third Summit therefore call for:
a. the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement to limit global average temperature increase to below 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels in order to transition towards deep-decarbonization;
b. the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement to be legally binding;
c. the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement to establish explicit provisions that ensure the strongest possible efforts will be made to achieve and continuously enhance national and global mitigation action, including review of mitigation efforts every 5 years, with opportunities to recommit to stronger action as informed by science;
d. loss and damage to be anchored as a standalone element that is separate and distinct from adaptation in the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement;
e. a special provision in the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement to fast-track urgent action required to assist the most vulnerable countries that are already experiencing existential threats from climate change;
f. an integrated approach to transitioning Pacific countries to low carbon transport futures, in particular sea transport given its central role in providing connectivity for Pacific Small Island Developing States, including a regional strategy to advocate for and monitor implementation of sector targets through relevant UN agencies commensurate with the 1.5⁰C threshold;
g. a new global dialogue on the implementation of an international moratorium on the development and expansion of fossil fuel extracting industries, particularly the construction of new coal mines, as an urgent step towards decarbonising the global economy;
h. increased support for adaptation measures that address all vulnerable sectors including health, water and sanitation, energy, agriculture, forestry and fisheries; 
i. adaptation measures for Pacific Small Island Developing States to be 100% grant financed;
j. support the establishment of mechanisms for the payment of ocean and ecosystem services;
k. stronger regulations regarding climate proofing of infrastructure as well as revision or formulation of building and zoning codes;
l. the development of Pacific based research and technology capacity as an essential foundation for innovation in our response to climate change;
m. capacity building on formal and non-formal education, knowledge management, with a particular emphasis on national languages and communication of climate change;
n. support to enable the greater involvement of community, civil society (including women, youth and persons with disabilities) and the private sector, in our climate change responses and initiatives.
 
4th September 2015

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