The Prime Minister of Samoa, Hon. Fiame Naomi Mata’afa has highlighted the Commonwealth’s role as an advocate for small states at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, from 6 to 18 November.
In the margins of the summit, the Prime Minister met with Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, to underscore the concerns of Pacific small island developing states such as Samoa, as well as discuss ongoing preparations for the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2024.
Samoa will be the first small island developing state from the Pacific to host the biennial meeting. The event will bring together leaders from the 56 Commonwealth nations – including 33 small states, most of them island nations – to discuss issues of shared concern and take joint actions on global challenges such as climate change, human rights, rule of law and sustainable development.
Voice for small states
Prime Minister Fiame said:
“The Commonwealth has always worked for the interests of small states. It finds resources and develops programmes that can address their specific needs and challenges, whether it be programmes to promote biodiversity or the development of legislation around climate change. We very much appreciate the opportunity to host the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting [CHOGM] which will further enhance the profile of small island states.”
Secretary-General Patricia Scotland welcomed the delegation, saying:
“Pacific countries have been at the vanguard of global climate advocacy and they are fighting here at COP27 for their survival and a viable future for us all. For island nations such as Samoa, climate change is a lived experience that intersects with a host of other acute challenges. The Commonwealth is committed to supporting all our member countries to tackle these challenges together each step of the way.”
Touching on the COP27 negotiations, Hon Fiame said Samoa’s priorities reflect those of the wider Pacific region, and include limiting global temperature rise to the 1.5 degree limit, addressing loss and damage, mobilising climate finance and the climate change-ocean nexus.
She added that the climate-related outcomes of the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Kigali, Rwanda in June, including the adoption of the Commonwealth Living Lands Charter, were a “natural link” to the discussions at COP27.
During the meeting, the Secretary-General also shared information about other Commonwealth Secretariat initiatives such as the Commonwealth Blue Charter, the Commonwealth Sustainable Energy Transition Agenda, and the Commonwealth Universal Vulnerability Index.
- Josephine Latu-Sanft Senior Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
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