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EU energy policies put South Pacific security at risk

Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt), Nov 13 (EFE).- The president of Vanuatu, Nikenike Vurobaravu, considered that the European Union (EU) is endangering the security of the South Pacific, a region seriously affected by climate change, by seeking fossil fuels in other parts of the world to alleviate the effects of the energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine. In an interview with EFE at the COP27 Climate Summit, the president stated that “the war in Ukraine is a very important security issue for Europe, but for the Pacific, the most important thing is climate change. Why should we wait and let the European Union dictate the state of security in the Pacific?” asked the president. Vanuatu, with more than 300,000 inhabitants, is an island country located in the South Pacific, about 1,750 km east of Australia, which is suffering one of the worst effects of climate change, along with other islands in the region, such as Tuvalu or Kiribati . “Category 5 cyclones have become the new normal in Vanuatu. People are no longer losing patience, but they are scared (and think) they are going to die,” said the leader, in office since last July. In addition to cyclones, these South Pacific islands live with the threat of sinking due to rising sea levels. The Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, said at the beginning of COP27 that the war in Ukraine has exposed the deep risks of our addiction to fossil fuels and asked that the world’s conflicts not be used as an “excuse” to avoid climate responsibilities. CLIMATE JUSTICE TO THE INTERNATIONAL COURT Vanuatu is leading a campaign for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to issue an advisory opinion on the right to be protected from climate change and other sinking Pacific island nations have endorsed it. “We are focusing on human rights issues to demand justice, to ensure that states are forced to comply with the law. What we want to do is for justice to clarify this and apply those obligations to revitalize the Paris Agreement,” the president asserted. A decision by the International Court of Justice in favor of Vanuatu could set a legal precedent that can be used in any court. But to take it to the main judicial body of the United Nations, it would need a majority of the 97 states of the UN General Assembly to vote in favor of the resolution. From there, the body could refer this matter to the ICJ. According to the president, the vote could take place “at the end of December or at the beginning of January”, before which he was “optimistic” that the resolution could come out. Vurobaravu is clear that what has to be analyzed is the continuous increase in the emissions of the countries, which are they to be able to denounce them, as well as where the new oil and gas exploitation projects are being developed. In fact, Vanuatu has demanded an international treaty on the non-proliferation of fossil fuels, which would phase out the use of coal, oil and gas, something that Tuvalu called for during COP27, although so far only small Pacific islands. “You have to look at the various drivers of this continued increase in fossil fuels,” the president said, adding that there is a “collective addiction to fossil fuels, which are the main drivers that are causing” climate change. Vanuatu, together with Tuvalu and East Timor, seek to put an end to these new oil exploitation projects because in the end they end up being “business as usual”, according to the Vanuatu president. THE VANUATU MISSION Vurobaravu has come to COP27 with the mission of seeking “another toolbox to revitalize the Paris Agreement”, to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees. Likewise, he indicated that the issue of “loss and damage”, the central theme of this summit, dedicated to creating a mechanism to compensate the most vulnerable countries, is not his “priority”. But what you have come here to Sharm el Sheikh is basically to talk about human rights. “States parties have an obligation to protect the human rights of people and to protect the environment,” he settled. By Isaac J. Martín (c) Agencia EFE

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