Small island states address the General Assembly on Climate Action

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30 September 2014 - Climate action has been in the world’s spotlight. Events such as the People’s Climate March, Climate Week and the Climate Summit highlighted the fact that people aren’t satisfied talking about action, they want it to happen.

Adding their voice to the people, officials from small island states have called for immediate action at the 69th UN General Assembly as climate change poses an immediate threat for their homes. “We support the call to urgently address the adverse impact of climate change,” King Tupou IV of Tonga stated.

“Responsive access to financial resources is needed to cement the adoption of a meaningful Development Agenda and its full implementation,” he continued, adding that the recommendations put forward in the Intergovernmental Report of the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “should be integrated into the post-2015 development agenda. “Without them,” King Tupou warned, “our joint aspirations for sustainable development and economic growth will not be achieved and we will be left behind.”

604785-tongaIn their statements King Tupou IV of Tonga, Fijian Prime Minister Josaia V. Bainimarama, Arnold J. Nicholson, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Jamaica and Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga of Tuvalu all underlined the link between climate change and sustainable development.

Mr. Nicholson called for the concerns of the small island developing states to be addressed in the context of the post-2015 development agenda. He also urged all countries to come together and push for a lasting commitment at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change conference set for Paris in 2015.

In addition, King Tupou called on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to appoint a Special Representative on Climate Change and Security “to research this linkage and report back to Member States.”

While Fijian Prime Minister Josaia V. Bainimarama similarly called on neighboring Member States to urgently unite in the implementation of more sustainable and climate-friendly policies, while also criticizing industrialized nations for not doing more to reduce their impact on the environment.

“While the threats of climate change may be theoretical for some, it is very real for those of us who live in the Caribbean,” confessed Mr. Nicholson. “All countries must be engaged in a cooperative effort to devise an appropriate response to climate change that will result in a steep reduction in global greenhouse emissions,” he concluded.