[New York, 18 Sept] — Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka participated in a significant bilateral event today, a working lunch hosted by the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Olaf Scholz, along with the Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Annalena Baerbock.
The objective of this event was to facilitate an open roundtable discussion among Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to address subjects of mutual interest.
The topics of focus included international climate policy, the upcoming COP28, financing challenges faced by SIDS, and the impending SIDS4 conference scheduled for 2024.
During the roundtable discussion, several key talking points were highlighted:
Climate Change and COP28:
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka underscored the importance of international collaboration on climate change and expressed gratitude for Germany’s commitment to climate action. Germany’s climate action policy includes ambitious targets, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, phasing out coal for electricity generation, and promoting electric transportation.
SIDS Challenges and Climate Finance:
The Prime Minister concurred with Germany’s call for reform within the United Nations, G-20, and international financial institutions, emphasizing the vital role of international climate finance for communities and countries on the frontlines of climate change. He highlighted the shortfall in meeting the $100 billion per year commitment by developed countries and the need for accelerated climate action.
Accessibility to Climate Finance:
Prime Minister Rabuka raised concerns about the accessibility and effectiveness of climate finance, citing issues such as excessive loans, insufficient grants, inadequate funding for adaptation, and a lack of gender equality and locally led climate action initiatives. He stressed the urgency of accelerating climate finance through innovative finance sources and affordable borrowing to fund adaptation and mitigation efforts without increasing debt burdens.
Pacific SIDS Initiatives:
Prime Minister Rabuka showcased innovative global actions undertaken by Pacific SIDS, including support for Vanuatu’s request for an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice on climate change-related obligations, advocacy for sea level rise and maritime boundaries, and efforts toward a ‘Fossil Fuel Free Pacific.’
He also highlighted investments in disaster risk reduction, early warning systems, climate mobility, and the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.