26 Sep 2008

Small Pacific countries plea at UN for immediate action over impacts of climate change

2:56 pm on 26 September 2008

Small island developing nations, under imminent threat of inundation due to rising sea levels, have appealed to the United Nations for immediate measures to be taken to ensure their survival.

The Pacnews agency reports that representatives from Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Palau and Micronesia have today called on delegates at the General Assembly to translate words into action.

Kiribati's President Anote Tong noted his country has only several decades before its islands are uninhabitable.

He says the country has no choice but to formulate a "long-term merit-based relocation strategy," given the possibility that all 100,000 people in Kiribati must one day move elsewhere.

Mr Tong says this strategy involves the upskilling of Kiribati's people to make them competitive and marketable in international labour markets.

The leader of the Marshall Islands, President Litokwa Tomeing, said the world's largest emitters have to shift their moral, economic and political behaviour.

Micronesia's leader, President Emanuel Mori, emphasised the strong links between food security and climate change, and said taro patches and other food crops on many of their islands have already been inundated by saltwater.

And Vice President Elias Camsek Chin of Palau framed global warming as a security issue which has gone unaddressed.