6 Aug 2009

Australia says climate change mitigation urgent for Pacific

6:31 pm on 6 August 2009

The Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, says dealing with climate change is more than just a matter of urgency for many Pacific island nations, it is an issue of national survival.

At the close of the Pacific Islands Forum in Cairns, Mr Rudd said leaders had issued a call to action on climate change ahead of the United Nations conference in Copenhagen later this year.

Mr Rudd says the very viability of certain of the island states is at stake.

He says half the populations of Pacific countries lived within 1.5km of a coast so could end up in trouble if climate change continued unabated.

Leaders have also issued a Cairns compact in response to the global economic crisis, looking at ways to strengthen development coordination in the Pacific.

The Forum leaders have agreed to suspend Fiji's military regime from the Forum.