November 30, 2015

Kiribati commends Fiji at COP21

President Anote Tong of Kiribati used his 3 minute address at COP21 in Paris to publicly commend Fiji for offering to open up its country to the people of Kiribati and Tuvalu who may need relocation due to sea level rise.

“We have seen what has unfolded here in Europe in the migrant crisis,” President Tong told delegates at Plenary Room 1. “We have witnessed what can be achieved, the compassion in how many countries have responded.

“In our region, and in response to our repeated calls, it is so heartening to hear that Fiji in response to our calls to the international community has undertaken to accommodate our people from Kiribati, our people from Tuvalu in the event climate change renders our home inhabitable.

“Thank you Fiji,” to which leaders and officials in one of the two plenaries where world leaders are addressing COP21 gave a hearty applause.

President Tong urged negotiators to approach the next two weeks as global citizens, and not to bring their national political agenda into the global negotiations. He also reiterated his call for a moratorium on new coal mines, urging them to go for an agreement that is legally binding and inclusive.

“The future of every men, women and children, all cultures, cities, villages hang in the balance, we must not remain indecisive going forward. To those of us whose survival is at stake, our plea is simple, let us give substance to the pledges that have been made.

“Let us not pay lip service, let us have a legally binding agreement, even if its not perfect but at least it will guarantee that future generations in each of our nations will continue to have their homes as is their right.

“Let us listen to the voice of our people. The voice of the future. Let us return to our people with clear guarantee that their future is secured. We owe this to our people, we owe this to our grandchildren, we owe this to our conscience," said President Tong.