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Informing action: Pacific nations unite on the environment

The people of the Pacific islands may be among the smallest contributors to climate change, but they are on the frontline of its impacts. With rising sea levels and increasing extreme weather events, daily reality in the Pacific leaves little room for climate scepticism. Already, environmental impacts are irrevocably changing life in these island states – with rising migration just one testament to the region’s very real fears for its future. Tuvalu alone has seen some 15 per cent of its population flee the tiny island state in the last decade, while Nauru has lost one tenth of its population. But while the threat may be serious, so is the will to combat it. The world’s first and second nations to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global temperature rise to “well below” 2°C were Fiji and Palau, and other Pacific nations have been amongst the world’s most tireless advocates for urgently needed action on the environment. Now, with backing from the Global Environment Facility, a new project led by UN Environment is uniting 14 Pacific Island Nations to better track and counter environmental challenges, enabling a truly regional approach to action on issues from climate change to pollution, air and water quality, land degradation and biodiversity. Launched in December in Samoa, the Building National and Regional Capacity to Implement MEAs by Strengthening Planning, and State of Environment Assessment and Reporting in the Pacific Islands project – or ‘Inform’ – is bringing together the governments of the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu to build capacity in environmental data gathering and sharing around the region.

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