COVID19 has brought the world to a halt. The devastating impact of the global pandemic on people’s lives and the world’s economy is a jarring and historic turning point for all of us but it is also an opportunity to re-think many of our practices.
By now, the impact of COVID19 on our daily lives has been well documented, especially in advanced economies. Anxiety about the future continues to grow everywhere. Much of the corporate news coverage we consume has focused on the toll this pandemic will take on mainland countries. Often neglected, however, is the unique position Pacific Island States find themselves in.
In the context of COVID-19 crisis, what are the risks for climate action?
Climate change still continues and climate impacts are still very visible in the Pacific. A few weeks ago, we had major forest fires in Australia and in other countries. Now we’re battling tropical cyclone Harold which is a result of climate change. This week a new study was released, pointing out that the great barrier reef in Australia suffered one of its most severe bleaching in 5 years. Climate change is still happening, so climate actions have to be pursued. People might have different priorities these days, with funding being reoriented to other activities, but the action definitely needs to be continued to strengthen the resilience of our systems to global changes.
A conversation with SPC's Director-General on how the Pacific Community (SPC)
helps Pacific countries respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
For 13-year-old Karen Semens, growing up on Pohnpei -- one of the four main island states in the Federated States of Micronesia, which comprises of more than 600 islands in the western Pacific Ocean -- the main challenge is being a girl.
“In our culture, girls don’t have the same rights and opportunities nor do they get credit and recognition for their achievements as boys do. This prevents us from speaking our minds. For example in family meetings, only men make the decisions. I would like all girls to be treated as equals and have a say in decision making,” the 8th grade pupil from the Ohmine Public Elementary school in Pohnpei, tells IPS.
The term “environmental refugee” has gained prominence in recent years as climate change and desertification have threatened the livelihoods of millions of people, causing many to re-locate.
When UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressed the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) last month, he pointed out the dramatic impact of climate change triggering natural disasters around the world--- from glaciers that melt, ice caps that disappear and corals that bleach.