Pacific Leaders Call upon International Community to Protect Vulnerable Nations from Climate Change
22 september 2009
President Marcus Stephen of Nauru welcomes world leaders to the reception hosted by the Pacific Small Island Developing States in honor of the people most vulnerablel to climate change.
Leaders from the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) attended the high level summit on Climate Change in New York convened by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today. The Secretary-General described climate change as the defining challenge of our times.
World leaders had round table discussions on key issues affecting the on-going climate change negotiations, which culminate this December in Copenhagen where nations will meet to conclude an international climate change agreement. The Secretary-General wants world leaders to direct their negotiating teams in Copenhagen to accelerate progress toward a fair, effective, comprehensive and scientifically ambitious global climate agreement.
Pacific heads of state used this opportunity to call upon the leaders from around the world to agree a deal in Copenhagen that will protect the most vulnerable countries including the small islands of the Pacific.
The President Marcus Stephen of Nauru stated, “If we do not protect the most vulnerable nations, then it will not be a global response. Let us not fail in Copenhagen to protect the most vulnerable. Let us agree that here today.”
Following the Secretary-General’s High Level Summit, President Stephen, in his capacity as chair of the PSIDS, hosted a reception in honour of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Organized by Islands First, the reception was attended by over 150 heads of state, foreign ministers and environmental ministers from around the world.
The President congratulated his colleagues in the Alliance of Small Islands States for the success of the previous day’s AOSIS Summit and the resulting declaration. “We have given our negotiators a strong mandate to speak with one voice and call for the international community to protect the most vulnerable nations. The positions set out in the AOSIS Climate Change Declaration provide realistic solutions to the climate crisis and are consistent with the scientific imperatives to ensure the survival of our island nations.” Said President Stephen.
Following the President’s welcome address, special guest speaker Armand Assante, the accomplished film and television star, delivered an impassioned plea to those in attendance to act on the science and pursue a bold agreement in Copenhagen. Mr. Assante also used the opportunity to honor the work of Ursula Rakova. Ms Rakova is the head of Tulele Piesa, the NGO leading the Carteret Islands relocation in Papua New Guinea. She described the situation of her people, considered by many to be the world’s first “climate refugees”, to many of the guests in attendance.