26 Sep 2008

Small island states appeal to UN for action on climate change

7:12 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.

"Ultimately low lying island countries like Kiribati will have to face up to the reality of their islands being unable to support life and to plan accordingly beyond existing adaptation strategies. Kiribati is not a major emitter of greenhouse gases. Its mitigation efforts would therefore be insignificant on the global climate change situation."

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.