We need the Pacific – Lord Zac Goldsmith
(BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION); United Kingdom Minister for the Pacific, The Rt Hon Lord Zac Goldsmith, wrapped up his virtual visit to Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and Fiji this week. Lord Goldsmith said the UK has a lot in common with the Pacific with shared views on climate, biodiversity and the ocean.
Lord Goldsmith said:
I have seen fantastic ambition and leadership on climate change. That ambition and leadership, combined with being on the front line of climate change, and tackling these impacts, gives the Pacific a strong moral authority that is inspiring other countries to raise ambition for climate action.
The UK will put nature at the heart of the climate change discussion. We can’t solve climate change without restoring and protecting nature on a massive scale. The UK wants to ensure Large Ocean States have a platform, and get the opportunity to shape the agenda for COP26. We want to make sure COP delivers important change, to finalise the Paris Agreement, to ramp up ambition and put that into action to limit global temperature rises to well below 2 degrees Celsius.”
In the course of the visit, which took place between 25 August and 1 September, Lord Goldsmith met senior leaders from Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Fiji, and took part in a round table with heads of Pacific regional organisations. Climate change and the ocean were the recurring themes throughout the visit, as nowhere in the world is the climate/ocean nexus more significant than in the Pacific. The UK also reaffirmed its commitment to the Paris Agreement and to ramp up ambition on climate action ahead of COP26. COP26 – the 26th UN Climate Change Conference – will be held in Glasgow in November 2021.
Lord Goldsmith said that the role of nature will be prioritised through the UK’s COP Presidency, including a focus on increasing funding for nature based solutions. The UK has a number of initiatives that will continue to address the climate/ocean nexus following the virtual visit. These include the UK’s new £500m Blue Plant Fund that will launch in 2021, and the Global Ocean Alliance to build momentum on the “30by30” commitment to expand protected areas to cover 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 and protect the sustainability of the ocean for generations to come.
4 September 2020