By Gladys Hartson - firstname.lastname@example.org
Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito Sua William Sio delivered his speech on climate change this week at the United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.
'Implementing Paris and the Sustainable Development Goals' was the theme of his speech and he says it's been a great opportunity to share New Zealand’s story with the rest of the world about the country’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions to 1.5 degrees as agreed at the COP 21 Paris Agreement in 2015.
Aupito says the message has been clear.
“We’ve all got to do our part and because there’s a canoe out here from Fiji, I’ve said, if we accept the fact that we are all on this canoe, we are all on mother earth. If we want to achieve what the Paris Agreement set out to do, we all need to be paddling in the same direction.”
Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito Sua William Sio and Minister for Climate Change James Shaw. Photo/ Supplied.
Aupito says one of the key goals of attending COP23 this week has been to bring more awareness to the plight of Pacific Island nations fighting for their survival.
He says New Zealand is committed to helping countries like Tokelau, Tuvalu and Kiribati who live with the damaging effects of climate change.
"Migration might save people but migration does not save the language, the culture and does not provide protection to their mineral rights, their fishing rights, and their economic rights.”
Aupito was also invited to have an audience to meet with Pope Francis, along with members of the Pacific delegation attending the COP 23 conference. Aupito says the Pope was responsive to the plight of what is happening to small island states.
“The Pope responded with sympathy and support and called on the world. It is essential for us to do all that we can to save the Barrier Reef," he says. "He understood the value of the Barrier Reef in providing food to the rest of Pacific people. He understood the value of the ocean."
Aupito Sua William Sio with Pope Francis. Photo/ Supplied.