The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Development Forum Mr François Martel has joined other leaders from the Pacific in a high level meeting hosted by French President François Hollande in Paris on Thursday 26 November 2015.

Meeting on Thursday morning ahead of the Climate Change conference next week the French President, François Hollande, says he hopes next week’s COP21 conference will achieve an ambitious and binding agreement to mitigate climate change.“You are better placed than others to meet the threat of climate change,” Hollande said.The agreement “should enable us to limit global warming under 2° Celsius by the end of the century”, Hollande added.“You won’t just be satisfied with a watered-down agreement, real commitments have to be made, with temperatures compatible with the development of your territories,” Hollande concluded. About 12 heads of states and regional governments attended the summit. This is the fourth France-Oceania summit since 2009.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Martel said:

“The “French-Oceania” summit provided a unique opportunity for leaders of the Pacific to meet with the French President and express our concerns of the effects of global warming on small island countries.” “Our communities have experienced the most harmful effects of global warming and France has a particular responsibility to address climate change as it would host the 2015 world climate summit in Paris (COP21).”

“We, jointly with CROP agencies also present at the meeting, and together with other Pacific island leaders, will be leading the campaign for drastic reductions in carbon emissions on the part of the industrialised nations, to arrest the current rate of global warming that is causing the rise in sea levels and extreme weather events that threaten our way of life.”

“In this regard the Pacific Island Climate Action Network in partnership with the PIDF is organizing a Side Event during COP21 called, “We the Pacific” Pacific Leaders Dialogue to be held from 2pm – 3:30pm on Tuesday 1st December at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) SIDS Pavilion at Le Bourget in Paris.”

“The objective of the Dialogue is to provide a platform for our Leaders in the presence of other world leaders and the international media and remind the world of the seriousness of our purpose and our common cause in finding a just solution that will ensure not only our survival as a people but that of mankind itself.”

“The Suva declaration that was endorsed at the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) meeting in September spells out the Pacific’s position at COP21. “Among other things, it calls for the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement to keep the global average temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”

“All of our islands now face stronger and more frequent storms, bleaching reefs and rising tides that threaten to swallow some low lying atolls and some entire nations before this century is out. We want the world to set the goal not at two degrees Celsius – but at 1.5 to provide funds to help us adapt and if necessary, to relocate, to be accepted as equals who suffer unequally from a problem we had no part in creating.”

“These were the some of the messages conveyed to our French host and while we were not able to get all we had wanted out of the declaration, we are pleased nevertheless that the outcome document of our meeting with the French President reflects most of our concerns.”