Pacific makes a colourful splash at COP26

Pacific islands nation united on the streets of Glasgow, citizens proudly bearing their countries’ flags. Photo: Facebook

An authentic splash of Pacific colour peaked through a backdrop of gloomy sandstone buildings.

People of Glasgow were lured out of the terraced dwellings towards the march that showed the everyday faces at the forefront of climate change.

Flags of indigenous cultures highlighted their islands’ plight in stark contrast to the rain, the wind and chilly conditions down the road from the Climate Change Conference.

Nearly every Pacific nation was spotted on the march, out in force.

Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue, Nauru, Vanuatu, French Polynesia, Hawaii, even West Papua, Aboriginal Australia and Torres Strait Islands were one in arms.

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The defiant stance from the other side of the world from home was telling for Cherelle Fruean.

The Auckland-based program analyst has been at the heart of the sustainable development goals for the United Nations development program.

“The Pacific Climate Warriors marching though the streets of Glasgow with their flags raised high for all the Pacific Islands who couldn’t make it to COP 26,” she tweeted.

“What a beautiful representation of our resilience.

“We are not drowning, we are fighting! #COP26.”

Lorenzo Raplili represents Vanuatu’s flag at the Pacific Climate Warriors march. Photo: Facebook

Others like Lorenzo Raplili just had to be there for his people.

Vanuatu was unable to send government delegates to this year’s summit over the travel difficulty to reach Glasgow from Covid-19 limitations.

The nation’s ambassador in Geneva and a representative from the Vanuatu embassy in Brussels has attended, but are unable be present to attend formal meetings and negotiations.

“I’m the only Ni-Vanuatu citizen (that) made it to Glasgow for #COP26. I joined the Pacific youth warriors calling for Climate Justice and Action Now! We marched through the streets of Glasgow representing many islands & voices that were unable to make it here like my country Vanuatu,” Raplili tweeted.

The Pacific Climate Warriors already presented the Youth4Pacific declaration on Climate Change to the secretary-general of the Pacific Island Forum, Henry Puna, and to Fijian prime minister Frank Bainimarama.

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