By Stella Naimet
Climate Change and its impacts pose serious challenges for our communities in the Pacific Islands. The impacts come in heavy doses because we are small nations with limited resources.
The Canberra City Uniting Church in collaboration with the Niu Oceania Cultural Centre (International Pacific Island students and local Pacific Island communities in Canberra) are hoping to start and form a platform for conversation, or as we say in the Pacific, Talanoa.
The Pacific Island Communities here in the ACT Region support and provide for the needs of their families, communities and friends back in the Islands with remittances. However, mounting threats to food and water security, infrastructure, public health and safety is leading to the forced migration of people around and out of the Islands. In turn, the local communities in Canberra are impacted as the need and demand for remittances rapidly increases.
The Pacific Island community in Canberra feels burdened by news of the negative impacts of Climate Change in their Island homes. That is why we decided to provide a platform for conversation to take place.
Time is precious and it is time for a Talanoa amongst the Pacific Island Communities and their friends to hear concerns and to find a way forward.
Where do we find most of our Pacific Islanders? Where else but at Church. This is where they feel closer to home.
The first Forum was held at Canberra City Uniting Church on 31 August with speakers from across the Pacific.
We acknowledge our gratitude to Canberra City Uniting Church for their heartfelt support and for initiating the idea for a forum to support the Pacific Islanders in the congregations and in Canberra.
We hope this is a beginning of many talanoa to come.