September 13, 2015. The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, and the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, Hon. Peter O’Neill CMG MP, has expressed concern at the comments by Australia’s Immigration Minister last Friday.
Prime Minster O’Neill said the comments relating to climate change and rising sea levels were most unfortunate, and he hoped the attention the issue has received will help highlight the threat being faced by many people.
“Communities are under threat and they are loosing homes and their food source.
“People around the Pacific are living in fear with each high tide of storm.
“Every time seawater inundates their land their possessions are lost.
“Food crops are also destroyed when they are covered with sea water.
“Other communities are seeing beach erosion taking away their land and eventually their houses.
“People are being forced off the land where their families have lived for thousands of years.
“Connection to the land is very important for Pacific people so having to leave their land is heartbreaking for many people.”
The Prime Minister said the issue of climate change and rising sea levels was discussed at length over the past week at the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting.
“Pacific Islands Forum Leaders expressed great concern at the threat posed by climate change to our region particularly to smaller developing countries,” PM O’Neill said.
“The people in Pacific Island nations did not cause climate change but they are suffering because of it.
“In December the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Paris will give all countries the opportunity to do something to help our communities that are under threat.”