SUVA, 15 FEBRUARY 2021 (ABC) — Some young Pacific Islanders are worried the trouble at the Forum will impact regional action on issues like climate change and economic development.
Last week, five Micronesian nations announced they would split from the Pacific Islands Forum, after an acrimonious battle to select the new Secretary General.
Australia and New Zealand are now trying to encourage all Pacific nations to negotiate a compromise which will keep the forum together.
But there is no certainty that negotiations will prove successful.
Youth advocate Iree Chow, who has Micronesian and Solomon Island heritage, and lives in Brisbane, told Pacific Beat that she is worried about what the split of the Pacific’s peak regional body will mean for young Pacific Islanders like her, especially when it comes issues like climate change.
“That’s where my concerns lie”.
The forum’s members and leaders are very vocal about the issue and in past PIF meetings, they have put countries like Australia on notice, accusing it of failing to to show climate leadership.
Pacific unity was also instrumental when the Paris Climate Agreement was reached in 2015.
“PIF has, as a united body, pushed and saw through the Paris Agreement, committed to the 1.5 degree limit. And that was thanks to the Micronesian leadership region because the Micronesian countries are the most vulnerable and threatened by climate change and the impacts of global warming,” Chow said.
Environmental and cultural consultant Vehia Wheeler in Tahiti has similar concerns.
“If this is supposed to be a regional organisation and there is so much disappointment and countries leaving this organisation, that means there is a lot of dysfunction.”
“Dysfunction is not good for our community and community’s futures,” she said.
“Right now as I see Micronesia leaving…I see it as kind of setting an unknown for us in the future concerning climate change.
“As one region, we heavily relied on Micronesia and their voice to advocate for all of us,” said Wheeler…. PACNEWS

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