Climate change tops agenda at Forum Meeting

Climate change, labour mobility and West Papua were some of the issues that Vanuatu was part of in discussions during the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Nauru.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Ralph Regenvanu, who is part of Vanuatu's delegation attending the Forum meeting said the issue that was discussed more than other issues was climate change.

He said there was a bit of tension as all Pacific Island Countries recognize that climate change is the single biggest threat to the survival of Pacific people but one member of the Forum does not recognize that it is a threat and is not taking any action on it.

That member is Australia.

The United States of America, who is a dialogue partner of the Forum also has similar views of climate change as that of Australia in terms of adhering to the Paris Agreement.

Mr Regenvanu said Australia's stand may be due largely to Australian domestic politics.

He said all Pacific island countries in the Forum were moving in one direction on climate change and Australia alone in the other direction.

The other issue Vanuatu was part of in Nauru were the agreements signed with Australia for the next stage of labour mobility to get semi-skilled ni-Vanuatu to work in hospitality and aged care sectors as well as agreement to allow Vanuatu to test certain medicines used in hospitals in Vanuatu in Australian laboratories.

On the issue of West Papua, Mr Regenvanu said a resolution will put before the United Nations General Assembly in 2019 for West Papua or what used to called the Netherland New Guinea's case can be listed with the Decolonisation Committee.

He said he informed his colleague Foreign Affairs Minister last month in Samoa that Vanuatu will be tabling the resolution in the United Nations and called on Pacific island countries to support the resolution.

Regenvanu said only Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Australia were not in support of the West Papua proposal.

The Foreign Minister assured that the Prime Minister was expected to raised the same during the Forum Leaders Meeting in Nauru.

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