Island States at UN Assembly call for stronger global partnerships

​Leaders from, small island States took their turn at the podium of the United Nations General Assembly last week to call for the strengthening of cooperation between international organizations in solving global crises.

From Tuvalu in the South Pacific, Foreign Minister Taukelina Finikaso noted that climate is an existential issue for his small island nation, whose highest point is only 15 feet above sea level.

“Sea level rise continues to inundate many of our small island coastlines and inundate our food plantations,” he said. “That is a security issue, an urgent one and an inter-generational one. It is an existential issue for Tuvalu and other Pacific countries and also bigger populated countries in the flood plains, and wilt displace many people.

“Whilst many of our citizens are opting to migrate on their own terms because of existential issues, migration does not solve global warming and the UN does not sanction climate change migrants as refugees. That is a dilemma for us in Tuvalu.”

He stressed that the Paris conference must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep the global average temperature rise to beiow1.5 degrees Celsius, as well as provide credible, timely public finance and clarity from developed countries to the pledges of US$100 billion for climate change finances.

Kiribati, a Pacific Island State straddling the Equator, stressed the need for a collective global effort to help those nations most threatened by climate change. “We cannot do it alone,” Natanaera Kirata, Minister of Public Works and Utilities said.

“We call for new and accessible financial resources to assist the most vulnerable to adapt and build resilience to climate change,” he added. “We must all step up our national and collective efforts to mitigate global greenhouse gas emissions. We must urge major greenhouse gas emitters to do their part.”

He said the new challenges demanded all the resources available to the global community since sustainable development and global challenges such as climate change should not be confined to the sphere of Governments only.

“Let us call on those with the ability to assist and who have a contribution to make, to join in the global dialogue and more importantly, join urgent action to address this major challenge,” he declared.