It is without a doubt that climate change poses the single greatest threat to our livelihoods and existence.
The Acting Minister for Defense and National Security and Foreign Affairs Hon. Jone Usamate, in saying this, officiated at the 3rd South West Pacific Heads of Maritime Forces Meeting today at Holiday Inn hotel in Suva.
“Climate change and its effects poses a formidable set of fundamental challenges to life in the Pacific islands but these challenges can be managed individually as sovereign states and collaboratively as a region so that their impacts are minimal,” Minister Usamate said.
He said major climate –related security concerns for the Pacific Islands include access to fresh water, local food supply and infrastructure damage.
“Potentially, these impacts are further projected to second-order consequences.”
These consequences, the minister said, include economic loss, declining revenues and human security migration.
The three-day event brings together Maritime Forces, Chiefs of Navy, Permanent Secretaries and Senior Government Officials as well as academics to discuss on maritime security and climate change.
A primary objective of the workshop is to protect the Sea Lanes of Communication’s (SLOC), either for trade shipping lines, gathering natural sea resources and other sea-based activities.
The theme for this year’s meeting is “Climate Change-The Regional Maritime Security Threat”.