PACIFIC COP26 DEMANDS

The Blue Pacific Demands Climate Justice and Action

Sign the Policy Demands

 

 

The people and communities of the Blue Pacific are living in a climate emergency, a crisis that, sadly, continues to be ignored by many Parties, including those nearest to our islands, in the lead-up to COP26.  We demand Justice and Action now.  

As the organizations closest to and supporting Pacific Island people and communities, we reaffirm our role to put strong pressure on Leaders in the Pacific to step up, coordinate and demand transformational and just action from the global community at COP26. 

The Pacific must lead the charge using our Pacific culture, tradition, and wisdom of ecological and social stewardship to bring us through the current global climate catastrophe.  We are committed to a climate-stable Pacific future that is unified, intersectional, and intergenerational.  

On behalf of Pacific peoples, communities, and CSOs, the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN) makes the following demands to the Parties of the twenty-sixth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) and the third session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 3). 

CONTENTS

Top Line Messages

  1. Fossil fuels are fossils, keep them in the ground to save the Pacific!  No new coal, oil, or gas projects, and an immediate end to all fossil fuel subsidies, everywhere.  
  2. Show real commitment, your NDCs must limit global heating to 1.5 degrees, we’re already out of time in the islands.  Sustained, radical, and socially just cuts to emissions are required now, not later. 
  3. Show us the money!  Mobilize all of the promised US$100 billion annually until 2025, and agree that Polluters must Pay the trillions actually needed for resilient Pacific peoples and communities. 
  4. Loss and Damage is life and death in the Pacific: Your political will is required now to finance and deliver support to the Pacific people who are already losing everything. 
  5. Climate change is a symptom of deeper injustice and inequalities. Gender justice and women’s human rights and empowerment is a precondition for climate, social, economic, ecological, and climate justice
  6. Climate justice will prevail. Your emissions are already responsible for the loss of universal human rights, and environmental rights of Pacific people, communities, and ecosystems. We will see you in courts of law, and in all other forums, to protect and retain our Rights. 
  7. Global climate negotiations at COP26 must be inclusive, intersectional, and intergenerational: Do not dare to marginalize the voices of Pacific Island peoples. 

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A Successful COP26 Package

To ensure the survival of Pacific people and societies, decisions at COP26 must ensure a package that:

    • Ambitiously and definitively closes the current emissions gap to keep global heating under 1.5 degrees, with an acceleration of emission reductions led by those with the biggest responsibility and capacity, and centered on social justice, human rights and ecosystem integrity. 

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  • Immediately ends fossil fuel subsidies and new fossil fuel extraction projects (coal, oil or gas), taking us to a new energy economy that is cheaper, cleaner, fairer, more resilient, and safer.
  • Reaffirms and delivers on the finance promises made by developed countries in Copenhagen in 2009 and again in the Paris Agreement, unequivocally mobilizing at least $100bn per year from 2020 to 2024 for developing countries (at minimum a total 500 billion USD).  
  • Includes a new Global Goal on Climate Finance, to take effect from 2026, that is based on actual needs. 
  • Mobilizes new and additional climate finance, especially for adaptation and Loss & Damage, that is equivalent to real needs and is grant-based
  • Operationalizes the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage, that delivers on-ground action and support for developing countries suffering climate losses and damages, and identifies new, additional and adequate sources of L&D finance. 
  • Elevates climate adaptation to an equal priority with the mitigation of carbon emissions 
  • Acknowledges that global cooperation and finance for COVID19 recovery must be the opportunity to transform towards climate resilience
  • Is aligned to the goal of conserving more than 30% of the globe’s surface, respecting the human rights of Indigenous Peoples as enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and respecting and implementing the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). 
  • Is inclusively and safely negotiated, including with special support for Pacific Island delegates and civil society observers to attend in person, obtain facilitated access, have all quarantine and extra travel/medical/insurance expenses covered, and offers hybrid/virtual participation modalities 
  • Realises a socially and gender-just, equitable, human rights-compliant, and nature-positive sustainable transformation of the global society, including for Pacific Island people and communities.
  • Is founded upon consultation and engagement of Pacific Island civil society organizations that are active throughout the Pacific Island region, knowledgeable, and aligned to the real needs and aspirations of Pacific peoples and communities.
  • Recognises that the climate and ecological crisis CANNOT be solved within the confines of today’s racist, misogynist, elitist, ecologically destructive, colonial, unequal, and unjust systems. 

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Pacific CSO Policy Alignment

Pacific CSOs stands in strong solidarity with the people and governments of the Pacific Islands and Global South who are calling for transformative action to address the climate crisis.  Pacific CSOs endorse and support the following statements and declarations: 

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COVID19

The COVID-19 global pandemic, like the climate crisis, knows no borders and is exacerbating inequalities from a broken economic system in which profit is tantamount, it accumulates in a few hands and the majority are left struggling to achieve a decent quality of life. As decision-makers continue to take steps to ensure relief and long term recovery, it is imperative that they consider the inter-related crises of wealth inequality, racism, and ecological decline – notably the climate crisis, which were in place long before COVID-19, and now risk being intensified.

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Pacific CSOs Demand that 

  • COVID19 Responses at all levels must:
    • Put people’s health first, no exceptions
    • Provide economic relief directly to Pacific people, families, and communities
    • Help our workers and communities, not corporate executives or the pharmaceutical industry
    • Create resilience for future crises
    • Build solidarity and community across borders – do not empower authoritarians
  • Governments align their NDCs with responses to COVID19 
  • Public stimulus measures stop being used to create a net negative environmental impact and damaging future climate stability
  • Economic policy measures for post-COVID response are just, climate-compatible, and prioritize support for the human rights and well-being of all people, and especially the most marginalized and at risk over corporatisation, including through protection and expansion of social floor, social protection, and support systems. 

COVID19 Policy Notes 

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Science and 1.5°C

Scientists have become increasingly clear about the threat posed by climate change and humanity’s role in causing it.  

The IPCC’s latest AR6 Working Group 1’s report on the physical science basis is a code red for humanity, and a death knell for the people and communities of the Pacific Islands. In all five illustrative scenarios assessed in the report, scientists expect the world to reach or exceed the 1.5C warming threshold within the next 20 years. 

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Pacific CSOs Demand that 

  • There is no other option for the Pacific besides limiting heating to 1.5C 
  • There can be no more ignoring science and science must be the basis upon which all UNFCCC COP26 decisions are made, or the people of the Pacific will continue to pay a tragic price 
  • Parties must cut anthropogenic CO2 emissions immediately as a requirement to stabilise human-induced global temperature increase.  This means at least halving global emissions by 2030 with the richest nations moving significantly faster and in a socially just way.
  • Parties at COP26 must go beyond “welcoming” or “noting” the IPCC’s AR6 WG1 and Special Reports, and strongly resist and condemn all attempts to dismiss scientific messages by not accepting what is unequivocal and not acting upon it.
  • Parties at COP26 must express appreciation for the IPCC’s work and call on the Convention bodies, in particular the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), to continue its cooperation with the IPCC and to seek its advice in all matters, as well as decide that developed country Parties shall contribute financially to the IPCC’s work, as well as to nominate and support experts from Pacific Island countries for the IPCC

Science Policy Notes: 

  • During the AR6 Cycle, the IPCC has released WG1 Physical Science Basis, and three special reports on 1.5C of warming (“SR15”; published in 2018), land (“SRCCL”; 2019), and the ocean and cryosphere (“SROCC”; 2019).
  • Key findings of the WG I report include: 
    • It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred. 
    • The scale of recent changes across the climate system as a whole and the present state of many aspects of the climate system are unprecedented over many centuries to many thousands of years.
    • Even with massive reductions in emissions, many climate impacts are irreversible for centuries to millennia, especially changes in the ocean, ice sheets and global sea level.
    • With each additional increment of global warming, changes in extremes increase. An additional 0.5C of global warming causes clearly discernible increases in the intensity and frequency of hot extremes, including heatwaves (very likely), and heavy precipitation (high confidence), as well as agricultural and ecological droughts (high confidence).  
  • The WG1 Interactive Atlas’ Regional Synthesis component allows the exploration of key synthesized assessments for the Pacific Islands: https://interactive-atlas.ipcc.ch
  • A Climate Analytics report indicates that it is still possible to limit warming to ensure a safer climate but governments need to step up their emissions reduction efforts in line with the Paris Agreement. 

https://climateanalytics.org/briefings/15c-key-facts/

Figure from IPCC Working Group I report on the Physical Science Basis, highlighting that Human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2000 years https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/downloads/outreach/IPCC_AR6_WGI_SPM_Basic_Slide_Deck_Figures.pdf 

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No More Fossil Fuels

Limiting global average temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels requires ending the expansion of fossil fuel production. Following a 1.5°C compatible trajectory implies approving no new oil and gas fields or coal mines for development. Additionally, it requires implementing a rapid phase out of existing production. Developed countries must lead the way in phasing out production fastest.

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Pacific CSOs Demand that:

  • We must keep all fossil fuels in the ground, and immediately transition into renewable energy.
  • Existing fossil fuel subsidies must end immediately.
  • All nations immediately cease sanctioning new fossil fuel extraction projects. 
  • Wealthy, economically diversified producing countries (e.g. Australia, Canada, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States) must adopt measures to phase out their production of fossil fuels on a timeline that is compatible with limiting warming to 1.5°C.
  • Pacific Island governments set a global example by collectively announcing they will not authorize fossil fuel exploration and extraction projects and by joining the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance
  • Pacific Island governments join the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to prevent the proliferation of coal, oil and gas by ending all new exploration and production

 

Fossil Fuel Policy Notes:

  • The IEA’s World Energy Outlook provides a detailed stocktake of how far countries have come in their clean energy transitions, how far they still have to go to reach the 1.5 °C goal, and the actions that governments and others can take to seize opportunities and avoid pitfalls along the way.

https://www.iea.org/reports/world-energy-outlook-2021

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Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)

Limiting global average temperature increases to 1.5C requires a minimum reduction of CO2 emissions of at least 50% by 2030 to stave off even more catastrophic loss and damage for island families and communities. Current global NDCs put the world on a pathway for a temperature rise of more than 2.7C by the end of the century, and a rise in global emissions of 16% by 2030, a devastating scenario for the Pacific Islands. IPCC AR6 WG1 and SR1.5 reports articulate that meeting the 1.5ºC limit is still possible, but only if global emissions fall rapidly and sustainably in the next few years and these reductions are codified in the most ambitious NDCs possible.

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Pacific CSOs Demand that 

  • All nations, including in the Pacific, must urgently redouble their climate efforts if they are to prevent global temperature increases beyond the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit warming to 1.5C by the end of the century.
  • All Parties, including Pacific Island governments, must submit new or updated NDCs with 2030 targets ahead of COP26, or re-submit inadequate NDCs with enhanced ambition (in line with PA Article 4.11 permitting countries to communicate an enhanced NDC at any time) to increase mitigation ambition consistent with 1.5C, be more inclusive and just for marginalized and less-represented groups, recognize the contributions of civil society and the private sector and fully include finance, technology, capacity, adaptation and loss & damage targets, actions, needs and gaps 
  • All nations must submit revised and enhanced NDCs every year through 2025 to ensure ambition is ratcheted up, and not wait for the 5 year submission cycle as prescribed in the Paris Agreement 
  • All nations, including developing countries with requisite support, must immediately formulate and communicate long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LTS)
  • All nations must highlight in their LTS the concrete and near-term steps they will take to achieve carbon neutrality well before 2050 
  • There is global vigilance around Net Zero, and that Parties forcefully denounce any net-zero pledges with offsets as greenwashing, unacceptable, and socially unjust 
  • At COP26, Pacific delegations must push for an Ambition Decision, that clearly spells out how Parties will close the 2030 ambition gap, by accelerating the implementation of already agreed climate plans and policies, and agree on a political timeline leading up to the first Global Stocktake.
  • Parties must accurately account for domestic shipping emissions in updated NDCs and domestic development and climate change plans, and develop decarbonisation plans for the sector that reduce domestic emissions by 50% below 2010 levels by 2030, and full decarbonisation of the sector by 2050
  • At COP26, Parties must agree on a minimum 5-year Common Time for NDCs (in line with Article 4.9 and synchronized with the Global Stocktake processes) 
  • Parties must resolve rules for Enhanced Transparency Framework to ensure NDCs are being accurately reported, implemented and enhanced within and above timeframes pledged
  • Parties acknowledge that methane is a powerful, short-lived climate pollutant that already accounts for half of the net warming to date, and set a collective goal, with associated action plans, to reduce global methane emissions by at least 30 percent below 2020 levels

Figure from UNFCCC 17 September synthesis of climate action plans as communicated in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). https://unfccc.int/news/full-ndc-synthesis-report-some-progress-but-still-a-big-concern

NDC Policy Notes: 

  • Socially just emissions cuts are essential
    https://www.ucl.ac.uk/public-policy/sites/public-policy/files/cop26_just_transition_policy_paper_-_final_.pdf
  • On 17 September 2021, the UNFCCC Secretariat published a synthesis of climate action plans as communicated in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), including information from all 191 Parties to the Paris Agreement based on their latest NDCs available in the interim NDC registry as at 30 July 2021. The report highlights a sizable increase in global GHG emissions in 2030 compared to 2010, of about 16%. According to the latest IPCC findings, such an increase may lead to a temperature rise of about 2.7C by the end of the century.
  • The COP, by its decision 1/CP 21, paragraph 35, invited Parties to communicate, by 2020, to the secretariat mid-century, long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies in accordance with Article 4, paragraph 19, of the Agreement.
  • The US and the EU have made methane reduction commitments, and call on Parties to join the Global Methane Pledge at COP26

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Climate Finance

Finance available to the Pacific for climate change is woefully insufficient, just 0.28% of the global total reached our islands in 2019. The actual value of mobilized climate finance reported by donors is likely overestimated, possibly by more than 30%. Even if the target of 100 billion per year is met, there is a major shortfall in finance needed in the Pacific.  In the Pacific, most funds received are not yet reaching those most in need, and there is limited data and baseline information on the use and effectiveness of the funds at national level. Without drastically upscaled finance, the Pacific cannot meet its climate targets or sustainable development goals, enable adaptative action and resilience in our communities, or respond to the devastating levels of loss and damage we face.

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Pacific CSOs Demand that: 

  • Developed countries must immediately scale up climate finance for Pacific nations, and meet or exceed their pledge to mobilize USD 100 billion annually by 2020, which is essential for enhancing climate action by Pacific countries, civil society agencies, people and communities. 
  • Donor countries must prepare a Delivery Plan for the annual US$100 billion in climate finance for developing countries from 2020-2024, and make up the difference for each year mobilization targets are not met.  
  • Parties must concretely and comprehensively engage at COP26 to achieve a new Global Goal on Climate Finance, to take effect from 2026
  • The new global goal must have at minimum a floor of USD 750 billion annually mobilised by developed countries for developing countries
  • Of the climate finance provided and mobilised by developed countries for developing countries: 
    • At least 50% must be from grant-based public sources, NOT loans, private sector or concessional finance (currently only 21%) 
    • At least 50% must be allocated to Adaptation as agreed in the Paris Agreement (currently only 25%)
    • At least 15% must flow to Pacific SIDS (currently less than 1%) and 40% Small Island Developing States (currently only 2%) 
    • Must be made less fragmented, easier to access, predictable and long-term
    • Must be clearly reported by developing countries in a way that enhances transparency and does not double count ODA or double count contributions made via multilateral instruments 
  • Parties discuss and agree to Debt Restructuring mechanisms that harness debt servicing payments to ensure existing infrastructure of fiscally constrained vulnerable nations is rendered climate resilient and consistent with a rapid transition to 100% renewable energy
  • Private sector entities must more effectively disclose climate-related risks and opportunities through their existing reporting processes.
  • The trillions of dollars in COVID19 recovery finance and recovery package must not be used to undermine global climate goals, and COVID stimulus investments with Pacific climate resilience co-benefits must be exponentially expanded   
  • Multilateral investment banks must  immediately  adopt  a  whole-of-institution  commitment  to  end  all  types  of support for fossil fuels, both direct and indirect

Policy Notes: 

  • At the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the UNFCCC in Copenhagen in 2009, developed countries committed to a collective goal of mobilising USD 100 billion per year by 2020 for climate action in developing countries. The goal was formalised at COP16 in Cancun, and at COP21 in Paris, it was reiterated and extended to 2025
  • OECD data from 2019, shows that Climate finance provided and mobilised by developed countries for developing countries
    • totalled only USD 79.6 billion in 2019
    • was USD 20 billion short of meeting the 2020 goal of mobilising USD 100 billion
    • was made up of only USD 28.8 billion in bilateral public climate finance
    • included only 25% for adaptation, 64% for climate change mitigation activities, and the remainder to crosscutting activities
  • Oxfam has prepared an analysis of climate finance mobilization 2020-2025, which suggests donor counties are over-reporting their contributions: https://www.oxfamnovib.nl/Files/rapporten/2021/Climate_Finance_Methodology_FINAL.pdf
  • The Financial Stability Board has created the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to solicit decision-useful, forward-looking information that can be included in mainstream financial filings https://www.fsb-tcfd.org/recommendations/
  • Only about 10% of the $17tn in bailouts provided by governments since the start of the pandemic was spent on activities that reduced greenhouse gas emissions or restored the natural world, according to analysis from Vivid Economics

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Article 6 Carbon Markets

Carbon markets are ineffective at reducing climate pollution. They have been gamed to benefit polluters, failed to decrease emissions in line with science, led to increased emissions in many cases and have been plagued by fraud, creative accounting, and a lack of environmental integrity. Carbon markets perpetuate environmental racism, compromise human rights, and undermine healthy, sustainable, and resilient communities and food systems. Inadequate safeguards have led to violations of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and forest dwellers, land rights conflicts, and environmental devastation. The science is clear that greenhouse gas reductions must be absolute reductions without any possibility of offsets.

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While the Pacific Islands may stand to gain from a well-developed Article 6 mechanism, as we are net negative emitters due to our low fossil fuel usage and oceanic carbon sinks, we do not support carbon markets that will again try to squeeze profit from a pollution-rigged system.  Article 6 could actually weaken countries’ NDCs and increase global emissions: through double counting, disincentivizing ambition or counting emissions reductions that would have occurred anyway (no additionality). Offsets obfuscate the real price of carbon removal, diverting resources away from true emissions reductions. Offsetting is based on exploiting natural carbon sinks of the Global South, including the Pacific, to justify continued pollution.

Pacific CSOs Demand that

  • Parties resist and refuse to accept the false promises of carbon markets and carbon offsets. 
  • Parties close negotiations on Article 6 Carbon Markets without in any way compromising environmental integrity and ensuring Transparency systems that include robust measurement, reporting and verification 
  • Parties ensure that any carbon market rules are fully consistent with 1.5ºC goals and overall mitigation of global emissions outcomes, with no possibility of double counting or carryover of hot air credits from the Kyoto Protocol 
  • Article 6 mechanisms provide well beyond 15% of share of proceeds for financing the urgent adaptation needs of the most vulnerable nations
  • Article 6 delivers an overall mitigation in global emissions (OMGE), so that well beyond 50% of the credits generated under Article 6.4 for emissions reductions are taken off the table, not used toward any Party’s NDC.
  • The accounting for Article 6.2 and Article 6.4 should only be relevant and allowable for activities highlighted in a Party’s NDC.
  • A watchdog entity is established to supervise all Article 6 activities and regulate all matters related to environmental integrity, and the accreditation of entities 
  • Environment and social safeguard policies for Article 6 are adopted to protect and respect human rights, with special consideration of indigenous and island peoples and communities 
  • There must be no carryover of AAUs or CERs from the Kyoto Protocol into the Article 6 mechanism

Article 6 Policy Background:

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Transparency 

The Paris Agreement’s Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF) is intended to demonstrate how countries are progressing on reducing emissions, building resilience and mobilizing financial, technical and capacity building support and highlight where they need further support to achieve their goals.  Importantly, Article 13 gives developing countries, including in the Pacific, flexibility taking into account our limited reporting capacities. A clear understanding of the use of flexibility allowances under modalities, procedures and guidelines (MPGs) will ensure comparability and consistency.

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Pacific CSOs Demand that: 

  • Developed Country Parties must provide additional finance, technology and capacity building support to address gaps and challenges Pacific Island countries face to successfully implement existing MRV arrangements under the Convention and transition to the ETF under the Paris Agreement
  • At COP26, Parties must deliver common reporting tables (CRTs) for greenhouse gas inventories, common tabular formats (CTF) for NDC progress and finance provided and received, various report outlines
  • Developed country Parties must provide dedicated finance, technology and capacity support for Pacific nations to be able to fully fulfil the ETF reporting requirements with flexibility while maintaining comparability, consistency and adhering to TACCC principles (transparency, accuracy, consistency, comparability and completeness), including though the Consultative Group of Experts (GCE) 
  • At COP26, parties must work in parallel on both the Enhanced Transparency Framework and on its linkages in the Article 6 negotiations to ensure no double counting and upholding environmental integrity (according to  paragraph 77(d) of 18/CMA.1), and the GCE TOR without progress being held due to these other tracks 

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Loss and Damage

The Pacific Islands are well into the era of loss and damage from climate change. Every year, unprecedented extreme events, and low onset hazards, cause billions of economic and non-economic loss to our island homes, community infrastructure, food and water sources, livelihoods, cultures, identifies and lives. COP26 must respond, and take the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage into a new action-based direction beyond dialogues, taskforces and clearinghouses.  

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Pacific CSOs Demand that: 

  • Parties must decide on the full operationalization of the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage (SNLD) at COP26,without delay or deferment including:
    • A governance structure defining the SNLD as the action-focused implementation arm of the WIM, that operates independently of the WIM Executive Committee 
    • A direct and inclusive response mechanism to Pacific country requests that goes well beyond a website or a hands-off match-making system
    • An operational structure that allows the SNLD to begin its work immediately, including a secretariat with staffing and funding
  • The urgent establishment of a Loss and Damage Finance Facility with new, additional, needs-based, and predictable finance targeted and channelled to vulnerable people who need it most, including in the Pacific, that does not compete for limited resources within existing mechanisms.
  • In the lead-up to COP26, Parties must agree to establish a permanent agenda item on Loss and Damage, so that it is considered at each session of the Subsidiary Bodies, and raise the political profile of the issue at every future COP and CMA. 
  • Parties call for the publication of a Loss and Damage Gap Report – similar to the Adaptation Gap Report and the Emissions Gap Report
  • The international community must help the Pacific to close the existing financial protection gap through climate smart insurance facilities, subsidies and capitalization support, as most of the climate losses and damages in the Pacific region remain uninsured
  • The international community must do more to ensure Pacific people and communities are afforded dignified, safe and orderly migration and displacement processes as a result of climate change that is wholly consistent with their human rights under International Law, this being one of the most severe forms of loss and damage facing the Pacific 
  • Parties recognize and support the 2021 Pacific Leader’s Declaration that once having, in accordance with the Law of the Sea, established maritime zones, they intend to maintain these zones without reduction, notwithstanding climate change-related sea-level rise. 
  • Parties call for compensation for those in the Pacific, and beyond, who are suffering the worst impacts of the climate crisis (for example loss of coral reefs and marine biodiversity), including within and outside the Convention using all available legal means, while fully rejecting paragraph 51 of the Paris Agreement decision limiting compensation and liability 
  • Parties exhaust all means available to help fragile marine systems and vulnerable coastal communities in the Pacific address irreversible loss and severe damage from climate change


Loss and Damage Policy Notes: 

  • The projected economic cost of loss and damage by 2030 has been estimated to be 400 billion USD a year by one study (Baarsch et al., 2015) and between 290 and 580 billion USD in another (Markandya and Gonález-Eguino, 2018) in developing countries alone. By 2050 the economic cost of loss and damage in developing countries is estimated to be between 1,132 and 1,741 billion USD (Markandya and Gonález-Eguino, 2018) and between 1 to 1.8 trillion USD (Baarsch et al., 2015). https://us.boell.org/en/unpacking-finance-loss-and-damage
  • Natural disasters or weather-related events (whether or not attributed to climate change) already cause losses of more than USD$300 billion per year. It is estimated that by 2030, global loss and damage specifically associated with climate change will amount to between USD$300-700 billion, potentially increasing to about USD$1.2 trillion per year by 2060. https://actionaid.org/publications/2019/market-solutions-help-climate-victims-fail-human-rights-test
  • Pacific Island Forum leaders recently made the Declaration on Preserving Maritime Zones in the Face of Climate Change-related Sea-Level Rise, which recognizes the need to secure national EEZs; recognizing the integrity of Pacific territories with sea level rise

https://www.forumsec.org/2021/08/11/declaration-on-preserving-maritime-zones-in-the-face-of-climate-change-related-sea-level-rise/

  • The UNFCCC includes a reference to insurance in Article 4.8. The Paris Agreement’s Article 8 makes reference to risk insurance facilities, climate risk pooling and other insurance solutions. The Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage (WIM) has established a clearinghouse for risk transfer
    http://unfccc-clearinghouse.org/
  • Despite these advances, Climate Risk insurance is not widely available in the Pacific, with little support for quantifying, prioritizing or pricing climate risk. Financial protection tools, such as disaster risk insurance, are mostly unavailable and largely unaffordable to Pacific island people and communities.  
  • The UN Capital Development Fund-led Pacific Insurance and Climate Adaptation Programme (PICAP) virtually launched a pilot of the region’s first climate risk parametric micro-insurance in 2021 for a 1000FJD payout available for a 100FJD premium
    https://climate-insurance.org/projects/pacific-insurance-and-climate-adaptation-programme/
  • SPREP has produced a feasibility study calling for an enhanced Pacific Pacific islands climate change insurance facility (PICCIF) https://www.sprep.org/sites/default/files/documents/publications/pacific-islands-climate-change-insurance-facility-report.pdf
  • 10 countries in the Pacific are ranked as the top 30 countries in the world with the highest average annual losses as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). Since 1950s, losses from natural disaster have caused over US$3 billion in estimated damage and losses in Pacific Island countries.
  • The UNESCAP Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2021 estimates that annual losses from both hydrometeorological and geophysical natural hazards are estimated to be around $780 billion. Under RCP 4.5, these losses will increase to $1.1 trillion, and under RCP 8.5, to around $1.4 trillion.
    https://www.unescap.org/sites/default/d8files/knowledge-products/Asia-Pacific%20Disaster%20Report%202021_full%20version_0.pdf
  • According to the UN DESA, Oceania is a region of migrants: there are 8.7 million migrants amongst the region’s 41 million people. With migrants comprising 21 per cent of the population, the region far outstrips global averages. https://www.migrationdataportal.org/regional-data-overview/oceania
  • Climate change is likely to induce migration in certain Pacific Island geographic “hot-spots”, including urban areas; atolls; drought prone locations; as well as in coastal, delta and river areas
    https://www.ilo.org/dyn/migpractice/docs/261/Pacific.pdf

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Adaptation

The Global Goal on Adaptation is a pivotal component of the Paris Agreement, pointing the world toward enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change. For the people and communities. Treating adaptation purely as a domestic concern undersells the vision of the Paris Agreement and prevents the Pacific from harnessing the benefits of multilateralism in order to pursue it.

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Pacific CSOs Demand that:

  • Parties at COP26 must adopt  roadmap  for the operationalization of the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) including:
  • a clear definition of the Global Goal, including the perspectives of Pacific civil society,  acknowledging the multidimensional nature of adaptation  
  • a participatory and inclusive approach to measure progress on the Goal including quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and national and global data 
  • a pathway to integrate the Goal into national policy frameworks 
  • Finance, capacity, and technology support to implement the Goal, especially empowering and enabling Pacific Island civil society

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Oceans

Of particular importance to the Blue Pacific Continent is the ocean-climate nexus. The ocean is central to everything we represent as a region. The Ocean is the living blue heart of our planet. It is our common heritage, but also our common responsibility. We are its guardians. We recognize its significance and its essence as the basis of our Pacific identity and wellbeing. We Are the Ocean. In its preservation, we are preserved. Climate change is putting the fundamental needs of ocean dependent Pacific communities at risk.  Pacific civil society recognizes that the ocean-climate-biodiversity nexus is holistic; protection of one cannot be at the expense of the other, and that radical ambition is required. 

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Pacific CSOs Demand that 

  • A work program on the Ocean and Climate Change Dialogue is established within the UNFCCC, to tangibly consider how to strengthen mitigation and adaptation action 
  • Parties continue to place Oceans prominently within the negotiations, and advocate for the creation of regional agreements to improve ocean management in the context of climate change and sea level rise.
  • All Parties recognize that Oceans, as our common heritage, demand our common responsibility for its protection; including 
    • all Pacific leaders to join the growing ranks of governments, scientific authorities, CSOs, global leaders and indigenous groups the world over opposing the rush to mine the ocean floor and, in doing so, destroy our common heritage; and
    • Governments in the Pacific and across the world must support a global ban on Deep Sea Mining (including beyond the EEZ 
    • Recognizing the Ocean as the world’s largest carbon sink; therefore the need to keep carbon in the Ocean floor

 

Oceans Policy Notes

  • The Blue Pacific Ocean Report 2021 highlights defining challenges and potential prospects for our Blue Pacific Ocean, which require our collective resolve. Impacts of sea level rise on our maritime boundaries, climate change, marine pollution, land-based externalities, geopolitics, and other key challenges. https://opocbluepacific.net/publications/#blue-pacific-ocean-report
  • The Pacific Blue Line campaign against Deep Sea Mining acknowledges that there is no scenario in which DSM is permissible. If it’s not safe in our EEZs, it’s not safe in the Pacific as a whole, and therefore not safe for the world. A total ban on DSM is the only way to ensure the integrity of the ocean, the heart of our planet.
    https://www.pacificblueline.org/

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Gender, Inclusion and Diversity 

In the Pacific, there are substantial gaps and obstacles to addressing gender injustice, including in the decision-making processes of climate justice. It is paramount that UNFCCC negotiations are undertaken with a gender-responsive perspective that considers gender justice, women’s human rights, universal human rights and socio-economic, ecological and climate justice as the core of development justice and sustainability. 

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Gender Equity is the most overlooked solution for climate change.

Pacific inequalities in human rights, access and opportunities for women, girls, gender non-binary people, people of diverse sexual and gender identities, people with disabilities and others are rooted in historical and structural inequalities and unequal gendered power relations, heteronormative, patariachal and colonial structures and norms that perpetuate epidemic rates of gender based violence, stigma and discrimination. 

At the same time, the region has ancient, respectful gender diversities recognised and honoured in Pacific Indigenous cultures. Therefore, Pacific individuals, households, communities and societies face different climate change and development impacts based on their level of vulnerability, marginalisation, preparation, decision making ability, bodily autonomy and resilience to climate hazards. One’s age, ethnicity, livelihood, socioeconomic status, geographic location, religion, disability and gender all affect an individual’s response to the climate emergency. 

The parties to the Paris Agreement have acknowledged that they should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls and intergenerational equity. 

Pacific CSOs Demand that

  • Pacific governments redouble their efforts to address the gender inequality that is imposing a high personal, social and economic cost on Pacific people and nations, shifting towards a just, prosperous, stable and secure Pacific for all current and future generations, and especially on women and girls. This includes work to prevent and address the very high levels of gender based violence in Pacific societies, and enabling better resilience practice based on gender justice, human rights, development theory and practice.
  • At COP26, decisions made must ensure gender, human rights and social inclusion is an essential part of all UNFCCC processes, to deliver stronger action by mainstreaming gender into all aspects of  climate change response, and reaffirming that the rights of women and girls are non-negotiable
  • All Parties must respect respective obligations on human rights including the right to gender equality, human rights and empowerment of women and girls,
  • Parties reaffirm key decisions under the UNFCCC Gender Action Plan (GAP), including fulfilling the right to health as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity as articulated in the Paris Agreement, and recognize that these are only achieved with the realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights, 
  • Parties incorporate sexual and reproductive health and rights into the implementation of the Gender Action Plan (GAP), with clearer pathways for Parties to integrate gender into their climate action planning.
  • While updating and implementing their National Determined Contributions (NDCs), states should ensure that gender experts, including women and gender-related groups and national gender machineries, are effectively engaged in that process. Gender equality should be considered as a cross-cutting element of the NDC planning process, for example, by collecting sex and gender disaggregated data in relation to specific sectors in order to inform NDC priority actions. The enhanced Transparency Framework’s common reporting tables must provide guidance to report on gender responsive adaptation, as well as information on finance, technology and capacity building (FTC) provided and mobilized, as well as, needed and received.
  • Parties must reaffirm their commitment to the UNFCCC enhanced gender action plan (UNFCCC GAP) and the implementation of all five priority areas that aim to advance knowledge and understanding of gender-responsive climate action and its coherent mainstreaming in the implementation of the UNFCCC and the work of Parties, the secretariat, United Nations entities and all stakeholders at all levels
  • Parties and governments must accelerate work to decriminalise adult same-sex relationships and recognise in law and in practice that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and ally (LGBTQIA+) people are victims of climate change intersectionally subject to exclusion, violence and exploitation due to stigma, homophobia and transphobia, leading to exacerbated human rights violations and discrimination, and making climate resilience opportunities and infrastructure unavailable.
  • Parties recognize the specific risks, knowledge, commitment and rights of women, indigenous people, small-scale fishers and associated poor communities from coastal areas in the Pacific and institutionalize the special consideration and meaningful participation of coastal communities, fisherwomen and fishermen side by side with farmers and agriculture, under the UNFCCC framework

 

Gender and Social Inclusivity Policy Notes 

  • General Recommendation 37 on Gender Related Dimensions of Disaster Risk Reduction in the Context of Climate Change. Adopted in 2018. CEDAW : Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Violence against Women. https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CEDAW/Shared%20Documents/1_Global/CEDAW_C_GC_37_8642_E.pdf
  • The 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women highlighted that, “all women and girls especially in developing countries, including small island developing States, and particularly those in vulnerable situations, are often disproportionately affected by the adverse impacts of climate change, environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, extreme weather events and natural disasters and other environmental issues, such as land degradation, desertification, deforestation, sand and dust storms, persistent drought, floods, sea level rise, coastal erosion and ocean acidification, including disproportionate exposure to risk and increased loss of life and livelihoods, and reiterates its deep concern over the challenges posed by climate change to the achievement of sustainable development and poverty eradication.”
    https://www.unwomen.org/en/csw/csw65-2021
  • Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration (PLGED) was adopted at the 43rd Pacific Islands Forum in August 2012 in Rarotonga, Cook Islands as a result of the concerns of Pacific Leaders that overall progress in the region toward gender equality was slow. 

https://www.forumsec.org/2012/08/30/pacific-leaders-gender-equality-declaration

  • The Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (Samoa Pathway) includes multiple references to gender, human rights and climate and development justice, including obligations of Member States as human rights Duty Bearers to specifically address gaps and obstacles to realization of gender equality, women’s human rights and empowerment.
    https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sids/samoareview
  • A Collaboration of feminist women’s and human rights organizations, and LGBTIQ+ and trans-led organizations has made this ‘affirmation of feminist principles’ https://www.feministaffirmation.org
  • Women’s Major Group on Sustainable Development (WMG) prepared an analysis for the High Level Political Forum (HLPF)
    https://www.womensmajorgroup.org
  • At COP25 Parties agreed a 5-year enhanced Lima work programme on gender and its gender action plan https://unfccc.int/topics/gender/workstreams/the-gender-action-plan

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Youth

Young people from the Pacific Islands and across the world have the energy and knowledge to drive climate action, but need more collaboration and investment from decision-makers at the national and international level. Currently our Pacific youth are self-organising, disrupting and creating movements to drive community, national, regional and global action to accelerate climate adaptation and build a resilient future.  However the absence of Pacific young people’s voices in decision-making is deafening, as they face systemic and structural barriers, due to political, economic and socio-cultural contexts at all levels.

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Pacific CSOs Demand that

  • Pacific Island young people, and the youth climate initiatives they lead, are better supported and brought into the fold by respective governments and international organisations, to expand the representation from youth especially with an enabling policy environment to facilitate Youth demands
  • There must be new and additional and localized investment into Pacific-accessible impact funds, accelerators and mentoring programs targeted at young social climate green entrepreneurs who design and implement youth inclusive climate actions for resilience and clean energy
  • Pacific Governments do more to ensure that young people are consulted on NDCs and plans for national climate action, including by increasing youth representation on national delegations 
  • Developed country parties must provide additional support for Pacific youth to participate and engage in YOUNGO, the Youth Constituency of the UNFCCC

Youth Policy Notes 

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Human and Nature Rights

Climate change has profound impacts on a wide variety of human rights of Pacific people, including the rights to life, self-determination, development, food, health, water and sanitation and housing. Climate change is a human rights problem and human rights frameworks and international laws must be part of the solution. Climate change is undermining the human rights of all persons in the Pacific, with vulnerable and marginalised groups − the indigenous people, youth, people with disabilities, persons of diverse sexual orientation, gender identities and expressions [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgenders & Intersex] and elderly people – are disproportionately affected.

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Pacific CSOs Demand that

  • Parties place human rights at the centre of COP26 negotiations
  • All Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and implement respective obligations on human rights including the right to health, education, decent work, right of those providing unpaid care, domestic and communal work, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants and refugees, children and young people, persons with non-heteronormative gender, people with disabilities, and people in poor and vulnerable situations. This includes attention to the right to development, gender equality, human rights of women, rights of nature, and intergenerational equity
  • Parties’ commitments to Human Rights must be reaffirmed in all aspects of decisions taken at COP26, including by inserting strong human rights safeguards in Article 6, as well as through key decisions under the Local Communities and Indigenous People’s Platform and the Gender Action Plan.
  • Parties must take bold actions to give prompt and real effect to the right to a healthy environment, and clearly recognise environmental degradation and climate change as interconnected human rights crises.
  • Parties acknowledge the value of Nature Based Solutions as a practical approach to sustainably managing the environment while also addressing the impact on human well-being such as climate change mitigation and adaptation, disaster risk and reduction, economic and social development
  • Parties call for the creation of a United Nations Special Rapporteur for Climate Change, to complement the vital work of the Special Rapporteur on the Environment, in light of the devastating impact of the climate crisis on the fundamental human rights of the most vulnerable people on Earth, and to promote efforts to enhance protection of the rights of the most vulnerable.
  • Governments support the dual initiatives championed by Vanuatu and Pacific CSOs to 
    • Bring the issue of climate change and human rights to the International Court of Justice, through an Advisory Opinion requested at the UN General Assembly 
    • Amend the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to expanding the court’s remit to include a crime of Ecocide.
  • Parties and CSOs sign on to the Global Call for the UN to Recognize the Right to a Healthy Environment, calling on the United Nations Human Rights Council to recognize without delay the human right to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. 
  • Parties acknowledge and the links between climate action, oceans, and the self-determination struggles of our Pacific territories, including of West Papua, Kanaky, and Maohi Nui peoples, who are suffering from ecological impunity and an absence of justice originating in the state-sponsored colonial interests of high emissions logging and mining and the impacts of nuclear testing on our Oceans.

  • Parties acknowledge that drawing on spirituality and Indigenous knowledge and life-affirming traditional values is a source of our resilience and hope in the face of the existential threat of the climate crisis on the people and biodiversity of the Pacific
  • Parties must fulfill their obligations to unaliable rights to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, the right to life, gender equality and women’s human rights, and intergenerational equity

Human and Nature Rights Policy Notes: 

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PICAN is an informal Network linking civil society organizations working on climate change.  Since 2013, it has brought together civil society actors across the Pacific Island countries, advocating for climate justice and environmental integrity. PICAN aims to unite civil society under a common voice to increase the influence and impact of their advocacy demands on Pacific Island governments, leading non-Pacific governments to respond with more powerful and ambitious climate change policies and action at the national and regional level. As part of CAN, the worldwide network of over 1,500 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) across the world, PICAN works to ensure the Pacific Island civil society is represented at the international level. 

PICAN recognizes the unique challenges that Pacific island civil society organizations face in their work (remoteness, low population sizes, isolation from international networks, vulnerability to environmental and economic shocks), and the high degree of vulnerability of Pacific people and communities; in particular, from our geographical remoteness, the small scale of our economies, high costs and the adverse effects of climate change and natural disasters, and increasing loss and damage from permanent and irreversible impacts of human-induced climate change.

Visit us at www.PICAN.org to know more about and support the incredible work of Pacific Island civil society

 

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