Leaders from the Pacific held a private meeting with United Nations Secretary General António Guterres over the weekend in the lead up to the 74th UN General Assembly.
“During my visit to the Pacific this year, I witnessed first-hand the threat of the climate crisis. I also saw the determination of the people of the Pacific to tackle the climate emergency – and the innovation you are showing in doing so,” Guterres said.
“You contribute relatively little – I would say almost nothing – to global heating, yet you are vulnerable to some of the harshest impacts. The implications for the security of your populations of climate-related disasters are profound, from compromised food and water security, to forced migration.”
Highlighting a variety of developmental issues compounded by the climate crisis, Guterres said: “Enormous obstacles to development result from remoteness, small size, dependence on imports, vulnerability to economic shocks and extremely high levels of debt. Among the areas that require significant investment are gender equality, health and education.”
He urged Pacific nations to work together with the UN and partners to make concessionary finance and innovative mechanisms like blue and green bonds available for Small Island Developing States.