Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand Director, Julianne Hickey, will bring the voices of Pacific peoples affected by climate change to a global audience at the historic Paris Climate Change conference (COP 21) in December.

Julianne Hickey
Julianne Hickey

Selected as one of only two leaders to represent the 165 member organisations of the Caritas Internationalis confederation, Mrs Hickey will speak at an event with other non-governmental organisations taking place on December 7 as part of the conference.

Drawing on Caritas’ State of the Environment in Oceania report released in October, Mrs Hickey will focus on climate finance in Oceania and the fact it is not addressing real need and must focus more on climate adaptation for the most vulnerable.

“It’s an honour to be invited to speak at this global event. But more importantly, I am concerned that those most affected by climate change in Oceania have a strong voice at the discussions in Paris. World leaders need to hear about the real life impact of climate change as they make decisions,” Mrs Hickey says.

“For too long the voices of the most vulnerable, who also happen to be those most affected by rising sea levels and extreme weather events, have been ignored or unheard. We want to help change that. It is vital that we get a strong commitment from global leaders to take urgent action on climate change. The time for timidity is over, it is a time for courage. The time for action is now.”

Speakers at the event will present lessons learnt and assess how far the Paris Agreement will reflect climate justice principles. Other NGOs represented will include: CIDSE (an international Catholic development alliance) and Friends of the Earth International.