The Pacific Islands Development Forum conveys its sincere gratitude and acknowledgment to the Kingdom of Tonga for its commitment to ratifying the Paris Agreement last week and strengthening the voice of the Pacific Island countries’ call in Paris to limit temperature rise to way under 1.5°C.

An official communiqué sent by the PIDF Secretary General to all member countries earlier last week reiterated the call for Pacific Island countries to remain united and urged them to ratify the Paris agreement at its earliest.

“The ratification by the Kingdom of Tonga on September 21st is most welcome as it reaffirms the voice of Pacific Islands on the urgency of action on climate change.  The devastating impacts of climate change are already a reality for all Pacific Islands. Being at the front-line means, we need to remind the world nations of their collective responsibilities and urge all Parties to do their part and fully implement the Paris Agreement,” said PIDF Secretary General, François Martel.

PIDF has for the last few years supported its members with their strong stand in global climate change negotiations particularly with the development of the Suva Declaration on Climate Change last year.

“The Leaders’ Summit held in Honiara on the 13th of July, gave us a clear mandate to keep pursuing this mission set by the Suva Declaration of all Pacific people and to ´advocate early ratification of the Paris Agreement by member governments and the global community”, as outlined in PIDF’s work plan approved at the Summit, ”said the Secretary General.

The Secretary General expressed extreme concern at the low level of ratification of the Paris Agreement to date with only 23 countries and 1.10% of emissions.

“The State of the Climate 2015 report confirms our worst fears, that time is not on our side and that projections on climate impacts were very much underestimated and this is why Pacific leaders need to remain vigilant and champion the ratification and implementation of the Paris Agreement globally, but they need to first demonstrate leadership and ratify this Agreement themselves,” urged Secretary General Martel.

The PIDF Secretary General encourages the remaining Pacific Island countries to utilize the opportunity during an upcoming special session on the 21st of September which has been called by the United Nations Secretary General to impress on countries the need to ratify the Paris Agreement.