Climate Change and Disasters

Climate change and disasters threaten the future of our region's people and the statehood of many Pacific nations

Our ambition is that all Pacific peoples remain resilient to the impacts of climate change and disasters and are able to lead safe, secure and prosperous lives. In addition, the region continues to play a leadership role in global climate action.

The Challenges We Face

The Challenges We Face

Climate change is the single greatest threat facing the Pacific and we are at the forefront of disaster risk exposure globally.

The region is suffering, from environmental impacts such as sea-level rise, coastal erosion, water security and environmental integrity, and also from economic development setbacks brought on by the increasing frequency and intensity of disasters. Our resilience in the face of ever-changing risk was further tested by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Pacific Leaders emphasise the importance of immediate, significant and coordinated practical action to address climate change and disaster risk management, guided by the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP)"

Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ 2016 Pohnpei Statement: Strengthening Pacific Resilience to Climate Change and Disaster Risk.

Working As One Blue Pacific

Working As One Blue Pacific

Addressing climate change and disaster risk management requires coordinated and coherent efforts founded on robust and genuine partnerships. The Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific 2017-2030 (FRDP) is a a global-first regional strategy that is inclusive of all sectors and enables more people and more interests to be involved and have shared ownership of and accountability to the resilience agenda.

The Pacific Resilience Partnership implements the FRDP, bringing together Pacific Island Countries and territories, national and sub-national governments, communities, citizens, non-government and civil society organizations, private sector entities, sub-regional, regional and global partners.

As part of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP), the Forum Secretariat, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), The Pacific Community (SPC), the University of the South Pacific (USP), and the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) also work together to progress Forum Islands countries climate change and resilience priorities. 

Read more about our inclusive and multi-sectoral approach

Pacific Resilience Partnership

Forum Secretariat Outcomes

Forum Secretariat Outcomes

Our role is specific to coordination, facilitating high level political advocacy and providing policy advice to FICs on the key means of implementation for resilient development. This collective effort has been focused on identifying and coordinating regional and international funding to support national responses to climate change and resilience building.

  1. Country Public Financial Management (PFM) systems strengthened to effectively access and manage climate change and disaster risk management financing.
  2. Strong and coordinated Pacific voice in COP negotiations on climate finance.
  3. Increased knowledge and access to climate change and disaster risk finance and governance information.
  4. Increased understanding of Climate-Ocean nexus.
  5. Resilient development agenda owned and realised at the national level through engagement and support under the FRDP and PRP.
  6. Risk reduction and governance becomes a core development planning action.
  7. Strengthened private sector engagement in climate change and disaster risk management finance.
  8. Increased visibility and communication on the Secretariat work and Members’ achievements.

International Climate Advocacy

Despite contributing very little to the causes of climate change, Pacific communities are at the forefront of the escalating climate crisis. Pacific Leaders have declared a climate emergency for our region and continue to push for stronger global ambition to keep 1.5C alive.

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Eight Political Climate Champions of the Pacific advocated at COP 28 in 2023:

  • Oceans and climate nexus – Fiji PM, Hon. Sitiveni Rabuka
  • Global Stock take – Cook Islands PM and Forum chair, Hon. Mark Brown
  • Climate Finance – Tonga PM, Hon. Huákavameiliku
  • Loss and Damage – Vanuatu Minister of Climate Change, Hon. Ralph Regenvanu
  • Just Transition – Tuvalu Minister of Finance and Climate Change Hon. Seve Paeniu
  • Mitigation – Samoa Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Toesulusulu Hon. Cedric Schuster
  • Adaptation – RMI Minister of Natural Resources and Commerce, Hon. John Silk
  • Gender and Social Inclusion – Niue Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Mona Ainu’u.

We did not want to interrupt you, but we are a little confused about what just happened. It seems that you gaveled the decisions, and the small island developing states were not in the room. We were working hard to coordinate the 39 small island developing states that are disproportionally affected by climate change, and so were delayed in coming here. So, we will deliver the statement that we were going to deliver before this text was adopted without us.

AOSIS at the beginning of this COP had one objective, to ensure that 1.5 is safeguarded in a meaningful way. Our leaders and Ministers have been clear. We cannot afford to return to our islands with the message that this process has failed us. This first GST is of particular significance. It is the only GST that matters for ensuring that we can still limit global warming to 1.5C.

Anne Rasmussen from Samoa, AOSIS Lead Negotiator
Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) Statement at COP 28 Closing Plenary December 13, 2023

Other Work & Programs

Forum Economic Ministers recognise the ever-changing climate and disaster risks facing the region and the ongoing challenge of accessing adequate finance. Ministers tasked the Secretariat to coordinate with CROP agencies and relevant partners to develop a Regional Disaster Risk Roadmap and a Climate Finance Roadmap. 

These separate yet related regional Roadmaps are guides to member countries in addressing the climate and disaster risk finance access challenges. The strategic outcomes of these initiatives is to enable member countries to build up their National financial resilience alongside systemic resilience to the impacts of climate change and disasters.

Private Sector Sub-regional Dialogue

The sub-regional dialogue is an opportunity to bring together representatives of the government and the private sector to discuss and share experiences on the challenges and opportunities of accessing climate change resources. The Polynesia sub-regional meeting was held in October in Apia, Samoa, co-hosted by the Government of Samoa and the Samoa Chamber of Commerce and Industry. A total of four sub-regional meetings were convened covering all the sub-regions. 

Private Sector Mapping

Private Sector mapping exercises for Fiji, Kiribati and Tuvalu were completed this year, bring the total number of countries that have completed their private sector mappings to ten. This information helps guide and inform more effective policy and decision-making processes relating to private sector engagement at the national and regional levels. Some governments have used the findings from the mapping exercise to access readiness grant support from the Green Climate Fund to strengthen capacity of the NPSOs such as in Tonga. Some countries have used the recommendations from the reports to catalyse the establishment of their Business Resilience Councils such as the Solomon Islands. 

Additionally, the executive management of Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) recognised the importance of partnership following the private sector mapping, where a LoA was signed between SICCI and PIFS for one year from 06 September 2022 to formalise the cooperation and support in the PACRES Project Workplan.

Direct Technical Support
To strengthen NPSOs, direct technical support was provided to Samoa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) in 2022 to build technical capacity and enhance the knowledge of Samoa’s private sector to effectively analyse and manage climate risks of their own businesses. This responded to an earlier finding of limited knowledge and basic understanding of climate science risks linkages to local businesses in Samoa. This kind of assistance was provided through the PACRES Project.

The PACRES project supported representatives and nominees from National Private Sector Organisations (NPSOs) and youth organisations to participate in an online training program offered through the USP Pacific Technical and Further Education (TAFE) in partnership with PIFS. The training program was in direct response to the capacity needs of NPSOs identified through an online survey to determine the private sector’s capacity building needs. 

The inaugural course started with a cohort of over a hundred participants, made up of representatives from the Private Sector and the youth, with over eighty graduating. The course covered issues like disaster contingency planning and making sense of the Climate and disaster financing modalities.

To increase awareness and understanding of the various climate and disaster financing instruments available to Member countries, the Climate and Resilience team delivered five learning episodes on Disaster Risk Finance (DRF), with each episode focusing on specific instruments and the access modalities. In addition, a publication was created to demystify blue and green bond. A separate publication explored carbon pricing methodologies that the region may want to consider. 

Pacific leadership on ambitious climate change action

Kainaki II Declaration for Urgent Climate Change Action Now
Kainaki II Declaration for Urgent Climate Change Action Now

In 2019, Forum Leaders issued the Kainaki II Declaration for Urgent Climate Change Action Now, setting out ten calls to the international community.

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Boe Declaration
Boe Declaration

In 2018, Pacific Leaders elevated climate change to a regional security issue through the Boe Declaration.

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Declaration on Preserving Maritime Zones in the Face of Climate Change-related Sea-Level Rise (2021)
Declaration on Preserving Maritime Zones in the Face of Climate Change-related Sea-Level Rise (2021)

Forum Leaders declare "we do not intend to review and update the baselines and outer limits of our maritime zones as a consequence of climate change-related sea-level rise"

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Declaration On The Continuity Of Statehood And The Protection Of Persons In The Face Of Climate Change-Related Sea-Level Rise (2023)
Declaration On The Continuity Of Statehood And The Protection Of Persons In The Face Of Climate Change-Related Sea-Level Rise (2023)

Forum Leaders declare "the statehood and sovereignty of Members of the Pacific Islands Forum will continue, and the rights and duties inherent thereto will be maintained, notwithstanding the impact of climate change-related sea-level rise"

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