CLIMATE change will be dominating the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Funafuti this week.
It is a fitting venue for climate change to be discussed right on the doorsteps of people suffering from its adverse effects.
Sea level rise is often attributed to change in climate patterns that results in global warming.
However the effects of climate change have multiple faces and sea level rise is just one of those.
Whilst the issue of climate change is at the core of many low-lying Pacific Islands nations, it may not be a priority for Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) member countries like Australia and New Zealand.
Changes in climate patterns maybe natural but human activities have largely been attributed to inducing climate changes.
For instance burning of natural gases, oil and coal to produce energy may indirectly contribute global warming.
However, developed nations like Australia and New Zealand need their factories to produce and export their goods and in the process sustain the livelihoods of their people.
Small islands nations like Tuvalu are at the mercy of developed nations who through their activities are heating up the earth’s surface and melting up the ice glaciers in the north and south poles – resulting in sea level rise.
Tuvalu and other small islands states could be under water in the near future. Our outer islands too are already feeling the effects of the rising sea level.
Therefore our leaders must push to address the issue of climate change. Adaptation and mitigating the effects of climate change have dominated past and present discussions.
A new topic is climate financing, which some Pacific Island countries have already benefited from.
Our resilience attitude to the change in climate patterns would no longer stand the test of time once the reality hits home.
And we hope this reality would present itself in Funafuti this week as our leaders deliberate on this sensitive but a crucial issue of climate change.
A clear, collaborative and effective standpoint on climate change for the Pacific is what we need from our regional leaders.