November 23, 2015

Vanuatu, Tonga Prime Ministers to miss Paris Climate talks

The Prime Minister of Vanuatu Sato Kilman will not be attending the climate change talks in Paris.

The COP21 meeting which gets underway at the end of the month aims to achieve a legally binding agreement on global temperature rise.

The 30-strong Vanuatu delegation will be headed by the Deputy Prime Minister Christophe Emelee.

The Director of the Department of Energy, Jesse Benjamin, who will also attend says the meeting is about survival for Pacific Island countries.

“We are the victims, we are the ones that are suffering, we are telling them, eh, you have to support us in our actions. The loss and damage has to be compensated by you people, because you are the ones who are polluting, you are the ones who are causing the climate change.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Tonga has pulled out of a number of high-level meetings due to health reasons.

'Akilisi Pohiva has spent the last few weeks in Auckland, undergoing medical tests.

The Prime Minister's Office announced at the beginning of the month that Pohiva would travel to Auckland for what was described as a medical routine check-up.

He was still expected to attend a number of international meetings this month.

However the office now says he will not go to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta, the France-Oceania Summit in Paris or the UN COP21 climate change meeting which is also in Paris.

Pohiva's office says due to the results of his medical check-up, the 74-year-old Prime Minister is unable to travel long distances and he has sent his apologies.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food, Forestry & Fisheries Semisi Fakahau is now leading the delegation to the CHOGM meeting in Malta.

The Chief Secretary & Secretary to Cabinet Palenitina Langa'oi will lead the delegation to the France-Oceania Summit, while the Deputy Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni will go to COP21 in Pohiva's absence.