Throughout this year and despite the challenges brought forward by the Covid 19 global pandemic, Miss Solomon Islands Gladys Habu has continued to perform her role in various ways.
Apart from her daily job as a pharmacist at the National Referral Hospital as well as her work as being Miss Solomon Islands and a UNICEF Pacific Supporter, she has utilised her platform to continue her climate action advocacy. A course which she has been passionate about since she was a teenager.
One of her recent engagement was with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) where she and a fellow Solomon Islander, Solomon Yeo- Campaign Director of the Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change, were selected and given the opportunity to write a blog surrounding the theme ‘Loss and Damage’.
Their blogs have recently been published on the IIED website, both giving two different perspectives of how climate change has impacted the Solomon Islands.
Following this, they have been given the opportunity to co-produce an animation that will bring their blogs to life – one in English and also one in pidgin, which they are very thankful for. They hope to use this to help raise awareness on climate change not just internationally, but locally as well.
In September this year, Gladys successfully got accepted to become one of the event organisers for Mock COP 26 representing Oceania along with young Australian climate activist – Luca Saunders.
What is Mock COP 26 and what are we doing?
COP – Conference of the Parties is a United Nations initiative that brings world leaders together to discuss collective action on climate change annually. This year should have been the 26th COP, however due to the global pandemic it got post poned to the following year. As a result youth from all over the world have come together to lead action, through an inclusive online Mock COP 26.
From the 19th November to the 1st December youth fill the void of the postponed COP26 with a big, inclusive online Mock COP. The event is run by young climate activists with the aim to get between 3 and 5 delegates from as many countries as possible, with a focus on the Global South.
The two-week event comprises empowering and informative keynotes and panels by global names and youth activists, followed by high-level opening statements by the youth delegates and facilitated workshops and regional caucuses. The discussions are framed around five conference themes: climate justice; education; health and mental health; green jobs; carbon reduction targets.
Ultimately this event will culminate in a powerful conference statement to world leaders from the youth of the world, raising ambition for COP26. From here the organisers will subsequently support and mentor delegates to engage their domestic politicians in the year to COP26.
Gladys has been working alongside 17 other student staff and 218 youth volunteers from 118 countries worldwide to coordinate this global movement. Part of her duty is to ensure the event is promoted and supported well through crowd funder donations, recruiting as well as mobilising delegates from the Oceania region, engaging with press and ultimately making sure the delivery of Mock COP 26 is impactful.
Currently there is youth representation from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji,
Papua New Guinea, Tonga and the Solomon Islands within the Oceania region. The delegate representing Solomon Islands is Belyndar Maonia Rikimani who is also the vice president of the Pacific Islands Students Fighting Climate Change.
Belyndar has been doing a great job in contributing to the Oceania High Level Statement on Mock COP 26. Together these delegates will join the others from around the world to vote for the Mock COP 26 global statement which will then be pushed to our world leaders so our demands for climate action are considered and met.
What is the progress so far as an event organiser?
Miss Solomon Islands stated that it has been very successful, despite the challenge to bring everyone together for the virtual summit. Mock COP 26 has provided so much experience and exposure for her, as she continues to advocate on the issues we face in our country due to climate change.
Already Gladys’ powerful story about the loss of Kale Island in Isabel Province, has been featured on various international media including Channel 4 UK, Scotland News and various other climate change news platforms.
More recently Gladys’ work on climate action has also been recognised by BBC World News and contacted through her Twitter and Miss Solomon Islands 2019/2020 Facebook handles.
Gladys has been asked to feature in a one day climate change program on the BBC on Wednesday 2nd December 2020 at 7am UTC, which will be 6pm Solomon Islands time. In this program, guests from around the world will come together to discuss issues affecting their country as a result of climate change.
Gladys will be the guest speaker opening the day with the opportunity to join the BBC breakfast show, which will be prime time for audience around the world to learn more about our country.
Gladys has therefore liked to encourage anyone who is free at that time and has access to BBC to tune in for the live discussion. She hopes that she can represent our country well in the discussion and encourages other youth to continue to speak up for climate justice.
Solomon Islands continues to be affected in many different ways, despite being one of the lowest emitters of greenhouse gases. Therefore as a country, we all need to be fighting for the action we need to see. Gladys hopes to encourage more stories on personal and deep losses from climate change are shared so others can learn to recognise the sad reality that many of our people face because of climate change, and especially sea level rise.
(Source: Solomon times 01 December 2020)