Kiribati is set to host a climate change meeting next week with fellow atoll nations to consolidate their stance as frontline and most vulnerable states in the face of climate change. For these frontline nations, climate change is an issue of security and survival.
The four countries, the only four atoll nations in the whole wide world, namely Kiribati, Maldives, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu will be meeting under an affiliation known as the Coalition of Atoll Nations on Climate Change (CANCC).
President of Kiribati, His Excellency Anote Tong says that a united stance as atoll nations in the global arena will gain traction and re-direct international focus to the plight facing low-lying atoll states.
“Whilst the international community is still debating on the level of green-house gas emissions, the reality of the impact of climate change is being felt across the globe and more so for low-lying atoll nations.” President Tong said, adding that he has and will continue to advocate that the time to act is now before it is too late for nations similar to Kiribati.
The end of next year will see the Kyoto Protocol come to its end and whether a new agreement is achieved or not, practical and innovative solutions need to be put in motion to ensure the continued existence of nations like Kiribati.
President Tong also added that this coalition should also highlight to the world as a whole that atoll nations are and should be considered the ‘early warning system’ to climate change.
“With 70% of major cities built on coastal areas, should our atoll nations disappear, these cities will be the next on the frontline.” President Tong said.
The CANCC meeting in Tarawa will focus on three items of agenda which includes the ‘Consolidation of Atoll Nation’s Support to the Ongoing Negotiations on Climate Change Issues’, ‘Adaptation and Survivability Now’ and, ‘Adaptation and Survivability in a Worst Case Scenario’.
The three atoll nations invited by Kiribati have confirmed their participation with high-level delegates comprising of two Head of States. Other invitees from outside of Kiribati include Tokelau and the USA through its embassy in Fiji, though they have yet to confirm their participation.
Resident High Commissioners from Australia and New Zealand and, resident Ambassadors from Cuba and the Republic of China (Taiwan) have also been invited as Observers.
The CANCC meeting will run from 10 – 11 July with an Outcomes Document that will highlight the united stance of atoll nations and be utilized by these atoll nations as a platform to advocate their issues in the global arena one of which is the upcoming UN Climate Change Summit in September as well as the ongoing climate change negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).