Pacific island leaders have developed a shared narrative for their maritime region, which they have labelled the 'Blue Pacific' Island countries are often portrayed as small, isolated and vulnerable. However – drawing on cultural and economic connections with the ocean – Pacific countries have asserted a contemporary identity as ‘large ocean states’ with sovereign rights across a large part of the Earth. Drawing on pre-colonial relationships across the ocean, Pacific leaders have committed to working together as a ‘maritime continent’.
The launch of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific is a key focus for this year’s Pacific Islands Forum. The new strategy sets out shared, long-term, approaches to critical challenges such as climate change, security and sustainable development. The 2050 strategy has been developed through extensive, region-wide, consultations with Pacific governments, civil society, private sector groups, academia and technical organisations. The development of the strategy has been led by the governments of Fiji and Vanuatu.
- Climate change is an existential threat to the Pacific and time is running out. Action to urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions is crucial to the survival of many communities.
- Australia must go harder and faster to act on the climate crisis to repair the relationship with our Pacific neighbours and address the growing security threat climate change poses for our region.
- Australia can and must take decisive action to act on climate change in accordance with what the science demands and in partnership and close consultation with Pacific communities and leaders.
- Australia wants to co-host a UN Climate Summit with Pacific nations, but must heed Pacific priorities for climate action.