BY BEN BILUA
SECRETARY General of Pacific Islands Forum says 1.5 degrees Celsius global target to reduce global emission is not just a number but a survival roadmap for Pacific Island states.
Henry Puna made the statement during the signing of a memorandum of understanding with FIFA â an MOU aimed at enhancing awareness of climate change mitigation action to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and leverage opportunities for climate-resilient football development in the Blue Pacific region.
âFor the Pacific, our number isnât anywhere near that. Yet it is vital to the 1.1 billion and their quality of life right now. Our number is one point five degrees. For the Blue Pacific, 1.5 is not just a number. It is our survival roadmap to assure our children â and all children, of a sustainable and resilient future,â he said.
Puna said climate change affects the lives of everyone and every living thing on earth and that solutions to the climate crisis can only be realized when the interest of the planet comes above self-interest.
âAs Pacific nations, our moral authority draws from lived realities and experience.
âIndeed, our Pacific islands may be small, but we are the large Ocean States controlling a vast magnitude of the worldâs ocean resources larger than many of the biggest countries in Europe and Asia. We take the responsibility of being custodians of the largest ocean in our Blue Planet very seriously,â he said.
Puna said the MOU is important in the eyes of Pacific Island States which recognize the power and influence of football, together with FIFAâs global footprint in more than 200 countries.
He described the MOU as a key opportunity to influence behavior change from individuals, families, communities, businesses, and governments across the world to commit to urgent and stronger climate targets.
Puna adds that the MOU seeks to support three priorities as follows; to educate and raise awareness on climate change through sports diplomacy in the lead up to COP27, to improve access to global climate funds, leveraging on the Pacific Island Forumâs expertise, and to ensure future football infrastructure in the Pacific could withstand category five cyclones.
âThis new partnership can help us drive action towards a 1.5 net-zero future, a future where the beautiful game continues to thriveâ in a world that is still beautiful,â he said.