PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill joins US President Barack Obama and other Pacific Island leaders on the sidelines of the Conference of the Parties summit in Paris. Image courtesy of the Office of the Prime Minister.
THE PARIS Declaration on climate change holds “mostly positive outcomes” for Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Island nations, prime minister Peter O’Neill says.
The United Nations’ 21st Conference of the Parties (COP-21) on climate change set a goal to keep average global warming well below two degrees compared with pre-industrial levels.
The deal also commits countries to try and limit warming to below 1.5 degrees – a goal which had been a major target of the Pacific Islands and other vulnerable nations.
Mr O’Neill said Papua New Guinea had sought a better deal for Pacific Island nations that were suffering from the consequences of climate change.
“We are proud to say that Papua New Guinea’s positions including Pacific region initiatives have been included,” he said.
Mr O’Neill particularly praised forest conservation initiatives outlined in the deal under the reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD-Plus) initiatives.
Under the final agreement, parties were urged to take action to conserve existing reservoirs of greenhouses gases – forests being one of them – and to take measures to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation.
“The REDD Plus and forest conservation initiatives our delegation supported are a standalone article which I know was a very delicate negotiation,” Mr O’Neill said.
Parties to the final agreement also recognised the importance of addressing loss and damage associated with the effects of climate change, calling on parties to the agreement to work together on projects to enhance understanding, action and support of affected countries.
These could include the development of early warning systems, preparedness for emergencies as well as slow onset events, risk insurance facilities and non-economic losses.
“Loss and damage is also a separate article that should now create the opportunity for island communities that are feeling the affects of climate change to seek the support of the international community,” Mr O’Neill said.
“Similarly, on the separate article on finance, our team worked hard for access and alignment with national country strategies as well as support for least developed countries,” he said.
Developing countries will be supported by scaled-up finance from developed countries and voluntary contributions from other countries to develop their own climate change strategies under the deal.
Governments also decided to work together to define how they would increase climate finance to US$100 billion by 2020 while setting a new goal on the provision of finance from the US$100 billion floor by 2025.