28 Aug 2019

Pacific atolls voice climate concerns at Maldives conference

4:16 pm on 28 August 2019

A climate change development workshop in the Maldives hopes to bring awareness to the risks facing low-lying atolls.

A high tide across Ejit Island in Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands on March 3, 2014, causing widespread flooding. Officials in the Marshall Islands blamed climate change for severe flooding in the Pacific nation's capital Majuro.

Flooding caused by huge spring tides which Marshall Islands officials have blamed on climate change. Photo: AFP

Representatives from the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu are in the country for a conference run by the Asian Development Bank.

The bank's president, Takehiko Nakao, said the atoll countries - with an average elevation of around 2 metres - face an "immediate emergency".

He said the conference, which opened on Monday, is a vital opportunity for affected nations to voice their needs and experiences.

"It is also an opportunity to learn how ADB is supporting Maldives and other island nations in addressing climate change and other development challenges," he said.

"Due to their low-lying topography, atoll nations are the most vulnerable countries and peoples on the planet to climate change given there is nowhere to retreat or run from the effects."

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