Monday, July 23, 2012

Marshall Islands Joins Fiji, Tuvalu in Regional Climate Talks

Marshall Islands President Christopher J. Loeak was the keynote speaker at the three – day conference on Local Governments for Climate Change held in Fiji this week. The Conference, sponsored by the University of the South Pacific and hosted by President of the Republic of Fiji, H.E. Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, drew Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) leaders, scholars, and university students in a follow-up to the Rio+20 meeting last month in Brazil.

MARSHALL ISLANDS: In his statement, President Loeak expressed concerns on the slow pace of climate actions and direction of global directions on sustainable development. In reiterating prior calls for urgent actions on climate change at the conference this morning and at other conferences, most recently at the RIO+20 in Brazil, President Loeak said that the Marshall Islands cannot afford to wait for others to act.Being one of only 4 low-lying atoll nations in the world, the Marshall Islands has already undertaken adaptation work on the ground to address the impact of climate change and has partnered with neighboring countries in Micronesia under the Micronesia Challenge to conserve 30% of its coastal resources and 20% of its forests.

FIJI: On the last day of his three-day visit, HE Loeak told the Fijian head of government that the Marshall Islands “will continue to rely on Fiji’s leadership regionally on many important issues such as climate change”. “We are also throwing in our support for the bid by Fiji to host the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) meeting here in Fiji,” he said. HE Loeak made these remarks as he handed over a cheque of USD $5000 to Prime Minister Bainimarama for the Prime Minister’s Flood Relief Fund that will go towards assisting those who were affected during the two periods of flooding in the Western division earlier this year. HE Loeak, while extending his appreciation to the Prime Minister for the reception his delegation received since his arrival on Sunday, said the people of Marshall Islands valued the diplomatic ties with Fiji. “As part of the framework that was signed last year between Fiji and the Marshall Islands we have recently recruited teachers and will look at recruiting more professionals from Fiji to work in the Marshalls,” he said. More