Paris Agreement on Climate Change: Onwards and Upwards

My very first UN Climate Conference was the Copenhagen Conference in 2009, a very difficult and disheartening entry into the foray of climate negotiations.

As my term comes to an end as the Director-General of SPREP — the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme — I am delighted to note the successful outcomes of the Paris COP 21 Conference, and the strong and positive contributions from Pacific island delegations.

We are in the front line of a changing climate and it is pleasing to see that our voice was heard “loud and clear” in Paris.

The Agreement includes several key elements that are of particular importance to the Pacific region, including recognition for pursuing a temperature goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a strengthened mechanism for loss and damage, and the provision for scaled up and simplified access to climate finance for Small Island Developing States.

The Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) agencies has worked as “One Team” to support Pacific island countries with technical assistance during the lengthy negotiation process.

I commend the leadership and tireless efforts of Pacific Leaders in Paris who were truly inspirational throughout COP 21 and was extremely proud to be with our Pacific Leaders in Paris and to hear the voices of the Pacific on climate change, in this important global platform.

Small islands around the world worked together, demonstrating the importance of Pacific collaboration with other regions, through the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).

AOSIS has been instrumental in mobilising a collective voice in the sea of lengthy and intense negotiations, which is evidenced in the position of 1.5 degrees and a mechanism for loss and damage, being included in the final text of the Paris Agreement.

Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and the —> Read More