JOINT COMMUNIQUE on the Launch of the Joint Pacific Initiative for Biodiversity, Climate Change and Resilience.
UNGA73 — New York, 26 September 2018
Although Pacific islands countries and territories may contribute the least to climate change, they stand to suffer the most from its impacts. The Pacific is also home to an important proportion of the world’s biodiversity, which is under serious threat. Working together on Biodiversity and Adaptation to Climate Change and their links to Ocean Governance will contribute to increasing Resilience in the Pacific.
We – the European Union (EU), France, New Zealand and Australia– stand together to reinforce our strategic partnership and reaffirm our fervent belief in effective multilateralism to support the peoples of the Pacific in tackling the considerable challenges of climate change and endangered biodiversity, including increasingly damaging natural, or man-made disasters.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, complemented by the new European Consensus on Development, the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which sets global climate efforts on a new course, provides us with an unprecedented opportunity for progress. Not only through the stand-alone SDG 13 on climate action, SDG 14 on life below water and SDG 15 on life on land, but also as a cross-cutting element central to the achievement of all SDGs, and in particular SDG 3 on good health and well-being for people and SDG 17 on global partnerships.
Translating our firm commitment into concrete action, it is with great pride and a shared sense of responsibility that we are announcing today the upcoming multi-stakeholder Joint Pacific Initiative, which embraces the twin goals of climate action and biodiversity protection. The Pacific Initiative aims at making a tangible and lasting impact on people in the Pacific, which counts 19 countries and territories, totalling more than 12 million people, including nearly 600.000 EU citizens.
Pacific island countries have identified climate change as the greatest threat to the livelihood, security and wellbeing of Pacific people. It results in changes to land and sea tempatures, rainfall patterns, cyclonic activities, coast lines, sea levels and water tables. These pressures adversely affect security, agriculture, fisheries, coastal zones, water resources, health, and ecosystems, thereby exposing communities and economies to significant risks.
Guided by evidence, the Initiative will focus strategically on the intrinsically interconnected areas of biodiversity and climate change. Biodiversity in small island states and territories is a significant asset and needs to be protected as it is increasingly impacted by the effects of climate change. More specifically, the Initiative aims at increasing the capacities of Pacific Island countries and territories, to adapt to climate change impacts; and to protect, restore and enhance biodiversity in order to strengthen the resilience of their socio-ecological systems.
Pacific countries and territories have the capacity to act as pathfinders for climate action and catalysts for biodiversity protection. To achieve these goals, the Initiative will implement a twofold strategy. On the one hand, it will support projects that conserve and restore marine and terrestrial biodiversity to favour climate change adaptation of communities and ecosystems. On the other hand, it will promote projects intended to anticipate, reduce and manage climate change vulnerabilities in strategic economic sectors using nature-based solutions.
As climate change and biodiversity challenges call for stronger joined-up action, this Initiative plans to build an international coalition designed to catalyse and streamline funding provided by a range of development partners to be able to take prompt and efficient action, in partnership with the Pacific and regional priorities. Based on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Initiative will seek complementarity and synergies with ongoing and future programmes, to address climate change and safeguard biodiversity in order to deliver on these urgent priorities by multiplying the impact of the actions.
In this spirit of enhanced cooperation, we – the European Union (EU), France, New Zealand and Australia– will continue to work in close partnership, and in all relevant fora, with countries and territories located in the region. The Initiative will also aim to motivate others, including governments, regional organisations, the private sector, and civil society organisations, to partner with us in this important endeavour. By implementing projects together, the Initiative will also strengthen regional cooperation between Pacific island countries in line with the region’s Blue Pacific narrative.
We – the European Union (EU), France, New Zealand and Australia– will bring together our comparative advantages by pooling capacities, resources, and expertise. The Initiative will be complementary to our ongoing and planned programmes and will work closely with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program and the Pacific Community to respond to regionally driven priorities within the context of regional frameworks, such as the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific. We will engage in a renewed policy dialogue with partner countries and organizations around the world. The EU and France intend to allocate an initial amount of EUR 20 million, while New Zealand will allocate an initial amount of NZD 1 million and Australia an amount of AUD 1 million to the Initiative. To scale up and broaden its reach, we invite other donors to join.
Announced by President of France Emmanuel Macron on December 12, 2017 on the occasion of the One Planet Summit, today’s launch of this Initiative reflects an increased engagement, and financial support, to the Pacific. By encouraging partnership-oriented, responsive, and innovative nature-based solutions, the Initiative provides a unique opportunity for us and all of our partners to collectively step up efforts towards common sustainable development goals to the benefit of the peoples of the Pacific, and to the greater interest of the planet.