Tuvalu ready to support Marshall Islands in climate change leadership

By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor in Majuro, Marshall Islands

Thu 05 Sep 2013

Marshall Islands
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MAJURO, Marshall Islands --- Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, Enele Sopoaga says he is ready to assist Marshall Islands in providing leadership on climate change, in the international arena.

Enele Sopoaga, who is no stranger to international climate change negotiations, told PACNEWS the Pacific will need the support of other Small Island Developing States to promote the proposed Majuro Declaration.

He led Tuvalu’s climate change negotiations during his term as the island nation’s top diplomat at the United Nations in New York.

“Tuvalu will support Marshall Islands in this huge task. What we are proposing is that we need to take this issue forward collectively as Pacific Small Island Developing States to have a voice of our own in global processes as well and come up with strong positions.

“We must also work with the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), especially now when the Pacific is leading the AOSIS processes, PM Sopoaga told PACNEWS.

But he said climate leadership must begin at home.

“I think we have to say what we are doing to our own people. We must start with our own people and then to the world. At the same time we must seek partnership from developed nations and development seeking for urgent actions.

“I think Marshall Islands has done very well to come up with this Declaration and we will support this resolution.

However, the Declaration must be ambitious.

“There is no provision for climate refugees but the indicators are there. That is why I have put in there predicted catastrophic impacts on dislocation and resettlement.

“This is urgent and we need to take leadership, now, said Sopoaga.
Sopoaga, who has just been office for over a month, after defeating the government of Willie Telavi says his government is stable.

“We believe we are. We have a by-election coming up on 10 September and we are confident of getting that.

“I believe stability comes if you deliver services to the people. It’s not a matter of begging voters to support you or politicians to be with you. You have to be clear on your roadmap. That is why we are putting up a roadmap.

The roadmap, the first ever for Tuvalu will be launched on 18 September.

“The ministers are going to speak on their own portfolios, and we are going to tell the people of Tuvalu what we can deliver to them before the end of the year.

“We are going to deliver on our promises. That is the stability platform we need. We don’t have to campaign but simply tell the people what we can do for them. That is the foundation of political stability.

“We will deal with corruption and be transparent in our services. We want to deliver something that will make a difference in the lives of the people.

“It’s the first time my government is doing this. The roadmap is better than development plans. Roadmaps have shorter time frame that can be delivered and much more practical than fancy strategic plans that have a life span of 5 to 15 years. That’s too long and the momentum just gets lost, said PM Sopoaga.

The Prime Minister is attending the 44th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting with his Foreign Affairs Minister, Taukelina Finakaso.

On Wednesday, Tuvalu received development assistance worth K5 million from Papua New Guinea for climate change adaptation.

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