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Fiji Report: Suva Declaration pushes losses, damages issue for COP21 in Paris

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President Tong of Kiribati (left) and Tongan Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva at the PIDF in Suva yesterday … “migration with dignity”. Image: KP Lew/PMC

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Kai Ping Lew in Suva

Recognising losses and damages as a separate issue from adaptation in climate change policy is one of the major developments featured in the Suva Declaration signed by seven Pacific leaders.

The third Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) summit in Suva saw leaders, civil society representatives and the private sector convening to form the declaration which will be brought before COP21 Paris in 12 weeks’ time.

The previous COP agreement featured losses and damages as an element under adaptation, forcing governments to prioritise between both. Read more »

Kiribati president’s coal challenge faces deaf reception in New Zealand

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A king tide wave spools over the Betio causeway. Image: Kiribati Independent/Pacific Scoop

Kiribati President Anote Tong called for a moratorium on new coalmines and coalmine expansions in a letter to world leaders in early August. This has been given a cool reception in New Zealand, reports Asia-Pacific Journalism.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Mata Lauano

Although renewable energy plays an important role in New Zealand, says Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges, shifting away from non-renewable energy cannot be done overnight.

However anti-coal campaigners, Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA), say this just isn’t good enough.

Earlier this month President Anote Tong sent a letter to world leaders calling for a moratorium on coalmines and coalmine expansions as Kiribati is under threat from rising sea levels and changing weather patterns due to global warming. Read more »

Pacific broadcast media aim to get people ‘to care’ about key goals


Pacific Media Watch’s Alistar Kata reports on community news and the UN sustainable development goals. PMC video

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Alistar Kata

Beyond2015, a global campaign focused on working with civil society groups to develop their regions, is planned to end poverty, inequality and climate change in the Pacific.

But the challenge is how to engage Pacific communities with these messages in a way they can understand.

Last weekend Pacific media were invited to a workshop in Auckland to come up with ways to get the message through. Read more »

Do more for the Pacific over ‘climate refugees’, pleads asylum case lawyer

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Vanuatu’s Cyclone Pam in March … increasingly intense weather patterns in the Pacific make it difficult for agriculturally reliant communities to support themselves. Image: Pacific Scoop archive

A lawyer who defended a Kiribati national seeking asylum in New Zealand based on climate change says more can be done for Pacific people whose islands are significantly threatened by rising sea levels, writes an Asia-Pacific Journalism reporter.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Latifa Daud

The lawyer who defended Ioana Teitiota, a Kiribati national seeking asylum in New Zealand because of climate change, says the Supreme Court decision could open doors for future climate change cases.

The two-year long campaign to allow Teitiota and his wife to stay in New Zealand as “climate change refugees” was denied by the Supreme Court in July 2015. The ruling was based on a claim that the Kiribati government is taking steps to ensure the safety of its citizens.

The 1951 Refugee Convention says that to claim refugee status, one must face persecution based on religion, ethnicity or being a member of the social group. Read more »

Raging Cyclone Pam bears down on Vanuatu – up to three other storms hit Pacific

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A flooded street in Port Vila today before Cyclone Pam had even hit Vanuatu. Image: UNICEF Pacific

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the PMC news desk

As three tropical storms and cyclones raged across the Pacific today, aid agencies have been bracing for what could become an unprecedented relief response.

The centre of the cyclone’s circulation is expected to impact Port Vila. “[It’s] very bad news for Efate (population of 60,000) and the capital of Port Vila – they should at least get into the western eyewall,” said The Weather Channel meteorologist Matt Crowther.

Severe tropical cyclone Pam, tropical storm Bavi and cyclone Nathan were racing across the region with Pam expected to impact on Vanuatu. The Weather Channel reports a fourth storm in the Pacific. Read more »

Pacific culture, spirituality pose climate change news challenge, says editor

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Climate change media researchers Dr Jan Sinclair and Taberannang Korauaba speaking at the climate change seminar. Image: PMC                                                                                >> Click image for Alistar Kata’s audio report.

 

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Alistar Kata

Pacific people are linked to their land in a cultural and spiritual way, which makes messages about their changing environment hard to receive, says Kiribati Independent editor Taberannang Korauaba.

“First, they belong to the land, their land is theirs, they really have a strong connection there,” he told a public seminar on climate change and the media at AUT University last night.

“So when the media is trying to work to cover the story, people don’t want to hear that because they don’t want to hear stories about ‘they’re sinking, they’re going to die’.” Read more »

Tarawa king tide highlights gap between long-term planning and urgent needs

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A coastal freighter is tossed ashore on Tarawa, breaching a protective seawall. Image: Kiribati Independent

Pacific Scoop:
Comment – By Taberannang Korauaba

Images published today by Pacific Scoop featuring the impact of a king tide in Betio and Tarawa are a sad reflection of our times in Kiribati.

The government has no plan about this short term problem, spending time blaming developed countries about climate change and receiving funds to “adapt”.

The problem is the roads and sea wall are damaged. Read more »

‘My Mother’ doco about Kiribati climate change wins global special award


The award-winning documentary Tinau by Victoria Burns.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Pacific Media Watch

A special Connect4Climate prize has been awarded to Tinau – “My Mother”– from UK/Kiribati producer Victoria Burns, exploring the grave concerns of small island nations such her homeland Kiribati.

This was awarded in the 18-35  age category. According to the Vimeo web factfile about the 8min documentary:

Scientists predict that Kiribati – a remote Island Republic in the Central Pacific – could be lost to rising sea levels in the next 50 years. As a result a whole nation faces an uncertain future. Tinau is an intimate family portrait of a Kiribatese mother now settled in the UK and the ties that bind her to her former disappearing homeland. Read more »

Kiribati copycat killings of women trigger death penalty bill debate

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Kiribati President Anote Tong … believes the death penalty would act as a deterrent for deliberate killings. Image: Mauroof Khaleel/Flickr

The Kiribati government has pushed a new bill to reinstate capital punishment – a move said to be in response to public outrage over several violent murders this year. However, as Asia-Pacific Journalism reports, the government faces growing public opposition to the proposal.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By Elesha Edmonds

The proposed reinstatement of the death penalty in Kiribati is triggering public criticism.

The Parliament of Kiribati late last month passed the first reading of an amendment to the penal code to permit the use of capital punishment in certain criminal cases.

This comes after the violent deaths of five Kiribati women this year, allegedly at the hands of their partners or husbands. Read more »

SIDS wrap in Samoa: It really is a matter of life and death

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Facing the future … the SIDS conference in Apia, Samoa, this week. Image: SIDSlive.com

Pacific Scoop:
Comment – By Mata’afa Keni Lesa

The urgency with which a number of challenges the small island developing states are confronted with means only one thing. That is the third Small Island Developing States (SIDS) conference, which has just ended in Samoa, cannot be treated as business as usual.

While it’s easy to get lost and become totally overwhelmed by the emotions and magnitude of the issues and the personalities who have been to Samoa to talk about them, the reality of life for small island states must never be forgotten.

It’s quite scary in fact. Our islands are slowly but surely sinking. Coastal erosion and sea level rise are becoming more menacing with each single day so that countless families have had to relocate or risk being swept out to sea. Read more »

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