Forum reveals human face of climate change

Monday, 3 November 2008

3 November 2008: The human reality of climate change hit home recently, as Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Islands spoke about the devastating effects rising sea levels are having on their communities at a forum organised by the Pacific Calling Partnership, and hosted by ACU National's Strathfield campus (Mount Saint Mary).

The forum, Pacific Calling for Climate Justice: a human rights framework, was aimed at  shedding light on the human rights issues resulting from climate change, as well as developing practical solutions.

Bonita Mabo, who last night featured in the SBS series ‘The First Australians’, opened the event, which featured speakers who came from Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Torres Strait, Fiji and Vanuatu, where rising salinity and narrowing coast lines caused by tidal surges are displacing communities.

ACU National’s Institute for Advancing Community Engagement Director Professor Jude Butcher said that the University was privileged to host the event.

“These forums allow us to engage with the public as well as politicians and leaders on timely and key issues,” said Professor Butcher. “Those who attended this forum were able to determine appropriate and inclusive ways forward and agree on resolutions for addressing these issues.”

Resolutions focused on the importance of a more inclusive and proactive approach to climate change, particularly through education and the formation of regional alliances, as well as developing a regional approach to migration for displaced communities.

They will be presented at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Poland this December.

ACU National’s Institute for Advancing Community Engagement is a member of the Pacific Calling Partnership, an initiative of the Edmund Rice Centre. It will be hosting another forum in late November and early December, “Liberating education: A right for people, communities and nations”.

 The forum will look at issues regarding the right to education.

Australian Catholic University (ACU National) – established as Australia’s only Catholic, national, publicly funded university – is open to all. The University empowers its students and staff with a strong sense of social responsibility and concern for the moral and ethical dimensions of their study and their professional and personal lives. Visit