30 Sep 2019

Tuvalu Language Week highlights fragility amid climate crisis

6:48 am on 30 September 2019

New Zealand's Minister for Pacific Peoples says climate change will have a profound impact on Pacific languages.

Aupito William Sio said when he was in Tuvalu recently for the Pacific Island Forum the leaders re-affirmed climate change as the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of Pacific people.

But he said the regions youth reminded everyone that an often overlooked issue is the effect the crisis will have on the Pacific languages.

He said Pacific youth remind us that their languages and cultures are an integral part of their identities and personal wellbeing and they must be safeguarded.

This week is Tuvalu Language Week in New Zealand and Aupito says "it provides an opportunity to reflect on how the words we use help to foster an understanding of the world we live in and inspire us to take action to build a prosperous future."

Local children welcome Pacific Islands Forum leaders to Tuvalu

Children in Tuvalu highlight to leaders attending the Pacific Islands Forum their struggle against rising sea levels due to climate change. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Jamie Tahana