Climate Change and the Pacific: Regional Climate Diplomacy Forum 2023

Is Australia really listening to the Pacific?

Given the existential threat that rising sea levels and increasing extreme weather events pose to their communities, Pacific Island nations have been some of the most vocal advocates for climate action and, more specifically, an end to fossil fuel production.

The Australian Government wishes to host a UN Climate Conference in ‘partnership’ with the Pacific in 2026. But it is unclear whether Australia – as the world’s third largest fossil fuel exporter – is taking the calls of Pacific nations seriously.

Join the Tuvalu Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Seve Paeniu, and Vanuatu Minister of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology and Geo-hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Risk-management, Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, to discuss the imperative of countries such as Australia to take action on the threat fossil fuel expansion poses and to commit adequate climate funding to address underlying vulnerabilities of Pacific Island nations and strengthen the resilience and security of the region as a whole.

In partnership with the Edmund Rice Centre.


  • Hon. Seve Paeniu, Tuvalu Minister of Finance and Economic Development
    The Hon. Seve Paeniu is also the Minister responsible for climate change, and as such, he has been appointed the Pacific Political Climate Champion for loss and damage for the last 2 years. As Minister of Finance, he represents Tuvalu on both the Boards of Governors of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Tuvalu with Vanuatu were the first two countries to launch the call at the United Nations climate talks for an international fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty, which would phase out the use of coal, oil and gas.
  • Hon. Ralph Regenvanu, Vanuatu Minister of Minister of Climate Change Adaptation, Meteorology and Geo-hazards, Energy, Environment and Disaster Risk-management
    The Hon. Ralph Regenvanu has been in parliament since 2008 and previously served as Vanuatu’s Minister for Foreign Affairs. Minister Regenvanu has been a driving force behind the Port Vila Call for a Fossil-Fuel Free Pacific and the establishment of a global commission on fossil fuels.
  • ‘Alopi Latukefu, Director of the Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education
    Mr ‘Alopi Latukefu is the Director of the Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education. Mr Latukefu has recently joined the Edmund Rice Centre after nearly two decades of work on Australia’s aid, economic diplomacy and foreign policy. During this time he also worked as an adviser and chief of staff to the minister responsible for the Pacific. ‘Alopi grew up in PNG as a child where his late parents worked for twenty years educating many of the Pacific’s future leaders and scholars. His father Rev Dr Sione Latukefu was a highly respected Pacific Historian and theologian from Tonga.
  • Polly Hemming, Director of the Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy program
    Polly Hemming is Director of the Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy program. She has extensive experience working in policy, marketing and engagement roles in both not-for-profit and public sectors. Her current work focuses on carbon and environmental markets, climate integrity and greenwashing. Having previously led the development of a government eco-label recognising voluntary climate action by the private sector, she maintains a strong interest in non-state climate ambition and the policies and regulation that interact with this. Polly’s previous roles have included academic publishing, remote Indigenous education, refugee advocacy and science communication, bringing a range of perspectives and experiences to her work.


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