Pacific forum backs away from climate target

The Pacific Islands Forum has adopted a new resolution on climate change, one that backs away from last year’s nomination of a target for temperature rise.

The new concentration is on trying to make it easier for threatened island countries to access international funds for climate change adaption.

The forum leaders agreed that climate change remains the greatest threat to the livelihoods and wellbeing of the people of the Pacific.

And they are calling for a legally-binding agreement on emissions reduction to be reached without delay.

However, they did not nominate a temperature rise target like they did last year, when some island countries thought the target was too high.

This year’s forum communique says that negotiations in the lead-up to the climate conference in Cancun should be approached in a manner that facilitates an understanding of different positions of various countries and that they should not lament those differences.

Meanwhile Fiji, which is still suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum, has had one win at this year’s leaders meeting.

The meeting, which concluded yesterday, softened its stance on excluding Fiji from regional trade talks.

Fiji cannot participate in the Pacific Area Closer Economic Relations negotiations known as PACER-PLUS, but since Fiji is the second largest of the island economies, and the hub for a range of services to smaller nations, that exclusion has created problems.

Some countries want Fiji back in if the trade negotiations are going to achieve anything.

While stopping short of admitting Fiji, the leaders agreed to refer the issue of Fiji’s participation in the PACER-PLUS process to the forum’s ministerial action group.

That group is now chaired by new forum chairman, Vanuatu’s prime minister Edward Natapei.

It has been told to consider ways Fiji could be involved and to advise the leaders before next year’s meeting in New Zealand.

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