Climate crisis should have same urgency Covid-19 vaccination - Samoa

Samoa Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa tells COP26 that there are no trade-offs as they negotiate the survival of the Pacific islands.

Prime Minister Mata'afa is not attending COP26 in Glasgow this year, however addressed world leaders through a video message.

She called for world leaders to act with the same urgency as that applied for the global Covid-19 vaccination programme.

"The development of Covid-19 vaccines was the fastest in history. Its rollout around the world at a large scale required a massive global coordinated effort.

I often ponder on how we can push for this historical, united, urgent global response at the same massive scale to help us reach the 1.5 degrees Celsius promise of the Paris Agreement," the Prime Minister of Samoa said.

"For us as the Blue Pacific, we need to inject some of that urgency and ambitious actions, like what we achieved with the Covid-19 vaccinations, to deliver the needed climate action."

Fiame explained further that the world needs to implement ambitious emission cuts by 2030 to implement commitments of the Paris Agreement - commitments of the 1.5-celsius scenario achieving net-zero global emissions by 2050.

"We recognise the double burden of addressing the parallel crises of climate change and the pandemic, but we stand to lose a lot more if we remain in a state of inaction.

"The Covid-19 pandemic should not delay ambitious climate action," she said.

"Instead, sustainable economic recovery should be catalysed through investments that are clean, climate-smart and in line with net-zero emissions by 2050."

Samoa, as Chair of the Pacific Islands Small Islands Developing States, is represented at COP26 by H.E Fatumanava Pa'o Luteru, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Independent State of Samoa to the United Nations, New York.

Fiame told world leaders that nature-based solutions should take precedence in our sustainable development efforts, stating the phasing out of coal plants and all fossil fuel subsidies and investments, is critical.

"We continue to stress the importance of delivery of the US$100 goal to ensuring the implementation of ambitious mitigation commitments.

"However, funding for the root causes of climate change is exponentially greater than funding for the response to climate change.

"This must change," she stressed.

"We need to ensure a new scaled-up climate finance goal that builds on the US$100 floor. We must guarantee a balanced allocation of climate finance between mitigation and adaptation.

"Climate finance made available to SIDS are still insufficient and mainly in the form of loans."