Bairiki, Tarawa, 17 July, 2014—The Coalition of Atoll Nations on Climate Change (CANCC) meeting hosted by Kiribati concluded last Friday at the Marine Training Centre’s conference room with a signed Outcome Document calling for immediate and urgent actions now.
Chaired by Head of State and President Anote Tong, the meeting concluded with an outcome document underscoring two important points that calls for immediate and urgent action now – that the atoll nations are on the ‘frontline’ and that they are an ‘early warning system’ in the face of climate change.
As outlined in the Outcome Document, which was signed by President Anote Tong, the Tuvalu Governor General, Sir Iakoba Taeia Italeli and Special Envoy of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Amatlain Kabua, – “the CANCC expressed grave concerns that global action on climate change is far too slow and urge that global momentum must match the rate at which these impacts are being felt on the ground by their people.”
In his opening remarks at the inaugural opening of the CANCC meeting, President Tong said that as full participating citizens of the world, it is time that we no longer stand on the side-line, but to take action to shape our future and our destiny.
“Our voice should count and our stories should be told, and the world should listen and take action. For we are the trial, we are the ‘early warning system’ to what the world will face when sea level rise continues unheeded.” President Tong said.
He added that as atoll nations, it is their responsibility to remind all that they will be the next frontline when they have gone below water.
The call for immediate and urgent actions translates into immediate resourcing of options aimed at building resilience through support of urgent priorities to ensure that atoll nations remain viable sovereign nations.
The urgent priorities are Protecting and supplementing our water resource; Protection of our coastline; Climate-proof infrastructure and sustainable development initiatives; Building up our islands to heights above the predicted sea level rise and; Strengthening our people through education, workforce skills, communication and public awareness.
However, in an interview with the ABC’s Pacific Beat, President Tong said the world’s atoll nations are in desperate need of funds pledged by the international community to help them adapt to climate change.
“For us climate change is not an event in the future. It’s an event that we’re dealing with now. We’re not talking about reducing carbon emissions because we’re already beyond that stage. What we need is urgent action to address what we are facing at the moment.” President Tong said during the ABC Pacific Beat interview last Friday.
Tong added that they (atoll nations) will now lobby the international community to deliver on long-promised funding to help mitigate the effects of rising sea levels at the upcoming UN Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) summit and the UN Climate Change Summit both in September in the lead up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Paris in 2015.