New Zealand aid money going into the Pacific is making a real difference, but there are still huge challenges in the region, Foreign Minister Murray McCully says.
McCully has just led the annual Pacific Mission, which visited Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Kiribati and Tuvalu.
Kiribati and Tuvalu are grappling with sea-level rise as a result of climate change, but they also have other critical problems.
Kiribati's tiny main island of Tarawa suffers chronic overcrowding and a lack of resources.
New Zealand is urgently looking for ways to help as rising sea levels in central Pacific islands like Kiribati becomes more of a problem.
It is estimated that by 2050, up to 54 per cent of the main island, South Tarawa, will be inundated by sea water.
Much of the land is less than three metres above sea level, and king tides, which hit for several months each year, are doing increasing amounts of damage.
The village of Eita was first flooded by king tides in 2002, and each year residents prepare for floods just a little bit worse than the last.
By Makereta Komai in Frankfurt, Germany
Six Pacific Island Countries will receive a 100 percent increase in their annual grants from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), from next year.
This has been made possible with the ground breaking initiative by the Bank to merge its lending operation, the Asian Development Fund (ADF) and its Ordinary Capital Resources (OCR), boosting its total annual lending and grant to as high as US$20 billion.
By Stephen Howes
This week, senior Labor politicians – Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, deputy Tanya Plibersek and Immigration spokesman Richard Marles – are visiting the Pacific Island countries of Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands and Kiribati.
It must be one of the highest-level government or opposition delegations from Australia to the Pacific. Labor leaders are to be commended for the interest they are showing in our immediate region.
At least four million people in the Pacific face hunger, water shortages and risk of disease this year and next due to droughts and erratic rains, influenced by climate change and the likely development of a ‘super El Niño’.
Last week Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the emissions reduction target that Australia will take to the UN climate conference in Paris later this year.
But will international pledges so far be enough to save small island countries now feeling the direst effects of climate change?
The Pacific island republic of Kiribati is already planning for the relocation its entire population if sea levels continue to rise.
Its president Anote Tong took time out of parliament to speak to The World Today.
Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale will join community leaders from Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands on Monday at an emergency meeting on the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior to develop an action plan following the devastation of Cyclone Pam.
Representatives from the Philippines, including former Philippines climate change commissioner Naderev Yeb Saño, will also join the workshop to share their experiences of super typhoons Haiyan and Hagupit that devastated the cities of Tacloban and Dolores in 2013 and 2014.
By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in Sendai, Japan
Tuvalu’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Ambassador Aunese Simati says the recent storm that flooded the northern group of islands has brought home the reality of securing a safe place for displaced families.
“You often hear people say to move to higher ground or to move inland. In Tuvalu’s case, there is no higher ground as we are an atoll nation, just over 2 metres above sea level.
By Online Editor 12:46 pm GMT+12, 03/07/2014, Kiribati Kiribati is set to host a climate change meeting next week of atoll nations to consolidate their stance as frontline and most vulnerable states in the face of climate change, according to a report from the Office of the President in Tarawa.
For these frontline nations, Kiribati, Maldives, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu, climate change is an issue of security and survival.
They are meeting under an affiliation known as the Coalition of Atoll Nations on Climate Change (CANCC).
By Online Editor
6:22 pm GMT+12, 17/05/2014, Ethiopia
Reports by PACNEWS Journalist, Pita Ligaiula in Addis Ababa
Climate Change in the Pacific receives more funding from donors than food security, according to a regional government official.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)’s Food Security Technical officer, Gibson Susumu said there is a need for climate change and food security to be given same priority in terms of funding.