More than 100 heads of government and 40,000 other attendees are currently meeting in Paris for the United Nations Conference on climate change, the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21), with a strong delegation representing the Pacific Islands.
Talissa Koteka of the Cook Islands presents a side event entitled "We the Pacific" at the event co-ordinated by the Pacific Island Development Forum and the Pacific Island Climate Action Network.
Representing the Prime Minister, Koteka reminded all that the emissions of the Pacific islands are negligible – while we have not caused the climate change problems experienced, but are the victims of its' effects.
Fellow speakers were the President of Kiribati, Anote Tong; Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga, the Secretary General of PIDF Francois Martel and the Minister of National Disaster Management of Fiji, Inia Seruiratu.
Brianna Fruean is the SPREP Youth Ambassador hailing from Samoa, and was lucky enough to be there at the opening of the Indigenous People's Pavilion, showcasing indigenous cultures from all corners of the world.
Speakers spoke about indigenous people in the forefront of Climate Change and our ability as people who have a spiritual understanding of the land to lead change - going back to our roots to find solutions.
"My Pacific Island brother from Tokelau told the jam-packed pavilion today the story of the coconut and how it represents sustainability of the islands as it provides leaves that thatches homes, juice that quiches thirst and flesh that fills the stomach. He reminded the room that indigenous societies are the pioneers of sustainability and together with the rest of the world we can take methods of the past to ensure a better future for not just our earth but our children’s earth."