TWO months after the Pacific joined the world in adopting a new agreement on climate change, news are just emerging that all was not well within the Pacific Island Counties. Finally responding to questions submitted to his office in late December, Prime Minster of Tuvalu and lead negotiator for the Pacific Enele Sopoaga confirmed his country withdrew from joining the so called Coalition of High Ambition Nations grouping in the UN climate change negotiations in Paris.
The coalition was the brainchild of former foreign minister of the Marshall Islands Tony de Brum. de Drum was unsuccessful in his country’s general elections last November. “When this gathering of meeting first came together at a Paris Ministerial meeting in July 2015, we (Tuvalu) actively participated in the group formed by Senator de Brum. At this stage it was not called anything except a gathering of “like-minded” countries.
We participated in two subsequent meetings before the start of the Conference of Parties in Paris. We thought it was an effective means of exchange between generally like-minded countries,” explains PM Sopoaga. “But the process became more than a dialogue and started to hold press conferences and pull in other countries, which were not so like-minded. It also branded itself as the Coalition of High Ambition Nations. It was at this stage that we withdrew from this grouping.