4 Jul 2017

Tuvalu's PM says relocating is not answer to climate change

3:49 pm on 4 July 2017

Tuvalu's Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga strongly believes that relocating to another country is not the answer to climate change.

Tuvalu Enele Sopoaga

Tuvalu's Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga Photo: RNZI / Jamie Tahana

Responding to the offer by Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, Mr Sopoaga said Fiji was Tuvalu's second home.

At the opening of the Climate Action Pacific Partnership Event at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on Monday, Mr Bainimarama said Fiji would continue to stand with Tuvalu and Kiribati.

Mr Bainimarama also told delegates that Fiji had offered to give permanent refuge to the people of Kiribati and Tuvalu, its closest neighbours under threat.

However, Mr Sopoaga said it was a matter of addressing the cause of climate change and global warming and, of course, sea level rise.

He said it was much bigger than sending a ship to go and pick up Tuvaluans.

"It's much bigger than ourselves, so we really have to contextualise it," Mr Sopoaga told the Fiji Times.

"It's not literally what Mr Bainimarama said - 'to go bring the Tuvaluans'."

"It's not as simple as that because you have to be concerned of your protection and sovereignty rights, human rights and therefore you have to be very careful and you have to prioritise this issue," he said.

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