Affected by climate change, Pacific countries absent from COP26 despite themselves

Rising waters, among others, have already started to submerge atolls of archipelagos such as Tokelau, Tuvalu and Kiribati.

AFP PHOTO / Torsten BLACKWOOD

Text by: RFI Follow

1 min

The 26th UN climate conference, COP26, which takes place from October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow, Scotland, is fast approaching, but a third of small Pacific island states and territories will be unable to attend.

In question, the travel restrictions linked to Covid prevent their movement, while they are the first targeted by climate change.

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For the countries of the Pacific, climate change is having a very real and current impact: rising sea levels, among others, have already started to submerge atolls of archipelagos such as Tokelau, Tuvalu and Kiribati. 

The South Pacific is also crossed by more and more severe cyclones - while major storms occurred " 

every 50 to 60 years, now it's every two to three years 

", recalls Fiame Naomi Mata'afa , the Prime Minister of the Samoa Islands. 

This is why the lack of representation of these Pacific nations is worrying: they are among the most at risk and will not be able to influence the results of the next COP, as they had been able to do in the past. 

 To read also:

Global warming: the UN sounds the alarm on the production of fossil fuels

Presences compromised by the Covid

Between the prices of plane tickets which have sometimes doubled, the accommodation costs in the United Kingdom which are not the least and the fear of bringing the Covid back to vulnerable communities, the displacement of the leaders - who would sometimes be subjected to quarantine of up to a month in some cases - is strongly compromised. 

And these restrictions will have an even more dramatic effect on the number of civil society representatives, as they traditionally play an important role at these climate summits by keeping the pressure on governments. 

 To read also:

For Greta Thunberg, COP26 will not bring "big changes"

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Keywords: countries, south pacific, rfi follow1 minthe 26th un, climate change, place, others, island, territories, climate conference, third, states, cop26, p, glasgow, scotland