Bougainville Regional MP Peter Tsiamalili has expressed his joy at a visit by senior government officials to the sinking Carteret’s islands in Bougainville earlier this month.
“This was the first time for a PNG Government Minister, Minister for the Environment, Conservation and Climate Change, the Hon. Wera Mori to visit the Islands.
I was also happy to be accompanied by ABG President Ishmael Toroama, United Kingdom High Commissioner Keith Scott and US Aid Director David Hatch, together with ABG Climate Change Minister Raymond Masono, Lands and Physical Planning Minister Robert Sawa and the Acting ABG Chief Secretary. The visit showed first-hand the affect that climate change and global warming are having on our country”, Mr Tsiamalili said.
The Regional Member noted that since the Carteret Islanders made international and national media coverage for becoming the world’s first climate change refugees 20 years ago, there have only been limited official visits to the Islands.
“While there have been occasional visits from national and international technical officers from the Climate Change Authority and international and local Non-Government Organizations (NGO), never have we seen a visit of this scale and importance”, he said
Mr Tsiamalili expressed personal joy at returning to the Carteret’s islands to fulfill the promise he made during his election campaign in January.
“You chose me, and God has allowed me to be in this position. I have taken this opportunity to stand on the shoulders of Giants like the USA, UK and Australia. As your regional member I am your hands, eyes and voice in our National Parliament and I will not let you down”, Mr Tsiamalili said,
Mr Tsiamalili suggested that there is no need to resettle Islanders to the mainland of Bougainville.
“Our priority must be to protect your natural resources. We must increase the land by growing more corals”, he said.
Mr Tsiamalili also made reference to other islands impacted by Climate change in the Autonomous Region, including Mortlock, Nissan, Tasman and Feat Petats, Pororan, Saposa, and Matsungan.
He noted the need for continued action by the National Government, ABG and the international community to to protect these remote communities.
“We already have a road map to address climate change refugees in our country as outlined under “Papua New Guinea’s Sustainable Development Goal 13 Roadmap Report: An empowering response to challenges and opportunities posted by climate change 30 actions by 2030”.
“We must translate this roadmap into action to address the plight of our people in Bougainville”, he said.