2023 International Dinner Remarks from Ms. Frances Namoumou

2023 International Dinner Remarks from Ms. Frances Namoumou

By Frances Namoumou, Program Manager, Pacific Conference of Churches

Ni sa bula vinaka! Bula is Life and Vinaka is Good. An affirmation of Good life and Good health to you all. 

I would like to take this time to acknowledge Global Ministries for the invitation to be part of this General Assembly along with other international partners here; but also to listen, to learn and experience a very creative way of expressing our faith and love for God, others and self. 

I work with the Pacific Conference of Churches but I specifically look after the Ecological Stewardship and Climate Justice Program. There have been times when people would ask me, “Frances, how would you like me to introduce you? What is in your bio?” Three things – Indigenous, Methodist, Activist. And that has been how my learning and the approach I have taken in engaging with communities in the Pacific and have shaped also my view. 

The relationship between the US and the Pacific goes back to both good and bad experiences. Part of this history that has continued to paint or leave scars in our ocean, land, communities, peoples, body and identity is the Nuclear Testing in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Micronesian Sub Region in the Northern Pacific. 

The Pacific – while small dots on the global map (point of ref. is Australia/NZ) because of our land mass, we like to coin ourselves as large oceans states. That’s important for us because however small we are, we know the ocean links us to the rest of the world. The ocean, the last frontier we are defending as corporations, governments and other sectors feel the need to explore and extract raw materials from the ocean to create more digital/ technology equipment. Fukushima Nuclear Waste to be dumped in the Pacific Ocean for the next 40 years. The Blue Ocean (of course it’s Blue); The Blue Economy- concepts that are being pushed around in the development spaces to put a price tag on natural resources/ God’s creation. This is particularly important for indigenous communities around the world because we are an extension of our land, ocean, and environment. We co-exist together! 

We are at a critical time. Scientists have already warned us, what state are we in. We have crossed the green “safe” space across six out of nine planetary boundaries and the risk of destabilization of the Earth system that would threaten human societal development. 

Loss and Damages: ️
70% of forest is gone; 
80% of the Great Barrier Reef gone and likely to reach 70% very soon
200 species a day going extinct

And we can go on about wild fires…. 
Intensified and frequent disasters from cyclones, hurricanes, flooding, droughts that have multi effects on our people and communities… 

Climate Change is not a stand-alone issue but connected and linked to Food Security, Water Security, Education, Health, Human Mobility and Security…and the list goes on….. Socio- economic, Ecological and climate issues.

The bottom line friends, is that this is about OUR SURVIVAL- of a people, creation, a race, a species, ecosystems, and so forth. 

Before I conclude I must thank you all for your generosity through Global Ministries that have allowed us to reach communities/groups… to meet communities halfway and facilitate gaps/ create opportunities to adapt, mitigate, empower… provide a platform for them to raise their voice, to speak truth to power, to provide pastoral accompaniment and identify local solutions that are replicated to other communities. Your generosity, love and support have allowed us to show God’s love in action through these various engagements and has given us a sense  hope and resilience in the face of climate crisis.

We see you!
We recognize you!
We thank you!