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Port Vila call to phase out fossil fuels

Six Pacific nations pledge to phase out fossil fuels "as soon as possible" but need international partners to finance the transition.

A Pacific minister's climate conference was attended by seven nations over three days in Vanuatu last week - only days after back-to-back category four cyclones.

The conference resulted in six countries signing the Port Vila call for a just transition to a fossil fuel free Pacific.

The signatories - Tonga, Fiji, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu - acknowledged the cyclones as the latest example of "fossil fuel-induced loss and damage" in the region.

The nations agreed to establish a Pacific Energy Commissioner for a "Just Transition to a Fossil Fuel Free Pacific". The commissioner is to be formalised at the Pacific Islands Leaders Forum Summit meeting in October or November.

The countries are also calling for a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty, which seeks the end of fossil fuel expansion. The treaty was already signed by Tuvalu and Vanuatu prior to the meeting.

They also agreed to join the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, an international coalition to facilitate oil and gas production phase-out.

Joseph Sikulu from climate change organisation said the message from the Pacific nations was a clear rejection of fossil fuels.

"[The message was] we want renewables, we have the solutions, we just need the world to really step up with the finances that have been promised," Sikulu said.

"Our leaders have set out a clear pathway through this but it's now up to us as civil society and as a community to support that as much as we can."