OPINION: Taking the lead on climate change

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Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Fiame Naomi Mata'afa. Fiame is also the Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa.

The UNDP notes that the Paris Agreement contains "very important positive implications for the Pacific."

The Agreement, according to the UN report, means "the Pacific is no longer working alone to address impacts of climate change, because now the global community is finally working...in unison to reduce their environmental footprint."

Other than the Paris Agreement as evidence of the global community working together, what real changes have we seen since COP-21?

The Agreement postively impacts the Pacific region; "and yet, most importantly, it shows a commitment to a future that is stable, more equal and sustainable for the next generation," says the UNDP.

"A commitment by the international community that recognises climate change as a global issue and as such, a universal, unified effort is paramount to stabilise the environment and save the planet from the throes of climate change into which mankind have cornered itself," says the UNDP.

"This is positive for the Pacific because it shows their efforts as climate leaders is not going unnoticed at the global level and that through continued positive action and intent, SIDS can further their influence and begin to create the sustainable world that has been strived for over the past decades."

Pacific islanders are adamant in taking the lead on climate change because we know very well what's at stake: our beloved island homelands and our future.

One Samoan resident in Hawai'i believes that "climate change is very real."

"We could have no Samoa! No Pacific islands! They just don't care," said the woman.

While agreements have been discussed, signed and publicized, what regular ordinary island people want to see are visible results from all parties who've committed to working in unison with the Pacific on climate change.

Thankfully, there is hope in Samoa from Fiame. We can also hope that leaders around the world will follow her example in treating this issue with the immediate attention it warrants.

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