Pacific Finance Ministers champion fossil fuel-free Pacific and climate resilience supporting the call by Vanuatu to advocate for a Fossil Fuel Non Proliferation Treaty.
Finance Ministers from across the Pacific recently in Suva, Fiji, for the Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers Meeting, focusing on critical economic matters and addressing the region’s vulnerability to climate-related disasters.
Following an intensive three-day session, ministers enthusiastically embraced the Port Vila Call for a Just Transition to a Fossil Fuel Free Pacific. They entrusted the PIF Secretariat with the responsibility of advancing discussions concerning the Just Transition through formal Forum processes. The concluding communique urged leaders to contemplate issuing a formal declaration on achieving a Fossil Fuel Free Pacific at the forthcoming Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting later this year.
This marks the third Ministerial summit this year to rally behind the Port Vila Call, with Energy and Transport Ministers earlier voicing support for the endorsement of this call as well as advocating for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty in May.
Despite contributing a mere fraction of global emissions, Pacific Island Countries remain at the frontline of the climate crisis, grappling with escalating sea levels, intensifying extreme weather events, agricultural setbacks, dwindling marine ecosystems, and both physical and societal detriments. It is evident that the root cause of this crisis is the utilization of fossil fuels.
The ministers’ proclamation intensifies the resolve and urgency to phase out fossil fuels in an equitable and conscientious manner within the region. This stance harmonizes with the Pacific’s leadership in advocating for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, endorsing the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, and procuring an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on climate change.
Hon. Seve Paeniu, Minister of Finance and Economic Development for the Government of Tuvalu, articulated, “The Port Vila Call outlines a lucid framework for the necessary steps toward enabling an equitable transition in the Pacific. It underscores the international community’s role in promptly and comprehensively phasing out fossil fuels to forestall further catastrophic climate impacts. Moreover, it emphasizes the need for financial backing and support to facilitate this transition. While we anticipate substantial benefits from the global shift toward clean energy, any just transition plan must be collaboratively developed with Pacific communities to ensure inclusivity and equity. We earnestly call upon affluent nations to step up and provide the financial aid essential for implementing the Port Vila call and for taking proactive strides towards fossil fuel phase-out.”
Auimatagi Joe Moeono-Kolio, Pacific Director of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, lauded the Pacific region’s Finance and Economic Ministers for their endorsement of the Port Vila Call. In light of the region’s exposure to dire climate consequences, Moeono-Kolio stressed the need to expedite climate action, particularly in achieving an impartial and judicious transition away from fossil fuels. He emphasized the requirement for stronger global governance to effectively oversee the fossil fuel phase-out. This entails the establishment of an international mechanism to finance the Pacific’s just transition, ensuring no individual or group is left behind in this transformation. Moeono-Kolio also called upon Australia and New Zealand to align their actions with their pledges of solidarity with the Pacific and to cease impeding the region’s efforts to address its most formidable security and prosperity challenge.
Alisi Rabukawaqa, an elder of the 350.org Pacific Council, remarked, “The Port Vila call for a fossil fuel free Pacific and a just transition to renewable energy exemplifies the ongoing climate leadership displayed by Pacific Island nations, despite their minimal culpability for this crisis. The involvement of our Economic Ministers is heartening and signifies a collective commitment to safeguarding frontline communities and reshaping financial and energy systems. While discontinuing fossil fuels is imperative, we must concurrently escalate the deployment of community-oriented renewable energy sources. World leaders must pledge that the resources indispensable for this transition will be accessible to those most in need.”
The Port Vila Call is set to be introduced for discussion and endorsement at the forthcoming Environment Ministerial meeting in Apia, Samoa. The initiative is being championed by Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Tonga, Fiji, Solomon Islands, and Niue.
Source: Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative