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Climate change ‘top issue’ for Pacific churches says official


The newly-elected general secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches says the issue of climate change needs to be at the top of the agenda of the churches in the region.

"This is especially with regards to the issue of resettlement and calling and holding countries accountable for their pollution," said Fe’iloakitau Kaho Tevi after his election as general secretary of the church conference during its 3-9 September assembly in American Samoa.

Many of the Pacific’s small island nations states say they are already facing the adverse effects of climate change due to rising sea levels that campaigners assert could potentially displace millions of people in coming decades.

Delegates at the assembly called for solidarity from churches in highly industrialised countries to reduce the causes of human-induced climate change.

"We further urge these countries to take responsibility for the ecological damage that they have caused by paying for the costs of adaptation to the anticipated impacts," they stated.

Tevi was elected on 7 September and at age 37 is the youngest person to hold the office of the church conference’s general secretary. He follows in the footsteps of his mother, Lorrine Tevi, who was PCC general secretary from 1977 to 1981.

Assembly delegates said they would campaign for a regional immigration policy allowing citizens of countries most affected by climate change, especially by rising sea levels, to resettle in other Pacific Island nations or Pacific regional countries of their choice.

They would also campaign for an inter-regional sea level rise financial assistance scheme to finance, the cost of mitigation, adaptation and resettlement, they stated.

More than 200 delegates from 25 churches and 7 national councils of churches were listed as attending the proceedings under the theme, "Atua [God], empower us to be liberating communities." The Roman Catholic Church is a full member of the PCC. 

Ecumenical News International