|Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) Executive Director, Francois Martel met te Ulu o Tokelau, Aliki Faipule Afega Gaualofa, in the Tokelau Apia Liaison Office (TALO) today. During the courtesy visit Mr Martel updated the Ulu on recent developments in the PIDF and also on events during the COP21 Climate Change conference in Paris last November.
Before taking up the position of PIDF Executive last year, Mr Martel had worked as a Climate Advisor to the Tokelau Government. Indeed he had spoken on behalf of Tokelau during various meetings and press conferences in Paris. The visit was timely as the Hon Gaualofa had taken up this role of te Ulu o Tokelau in February this year.
Tokelau wishes to be one of the full members of the PIDF, and the deeds to that effect are due to be signed later this month when te Ulu o Tokelau will visit Suva in Fiji, where PIDF is based. Mr Martel outlined the prime objectives of PIDF to Hon Gaualofa, and stated its main focus would be on climate change and on the mitigation of environmental disasters resulting from climate change in Pacific Island member states. He welcomed the intention of Tokelau to become a full member as it is one of the few front-line countries entirely affected by climate change.
As such Tokelau is also a member of the Coalition of Atoll Countries against Climate Change (CANCC) that had a major voice in the COP21 meeting in Paris, Mr Martel explained. The other atoll nations are Tuvalu, Kiribati, Marshall Islands in the Pacific, as well as Maldives in the Indian Ocean. All these islands are only a few metres above sea level, hence extremely susceptible to climate change.
Te Ulu o Tokelau confirmed Tokelau’s commitment to the Pacific Islands Development Forum.
Te Ulu o Tokelau, Aliki Faipule Afega Gaualofa (left), meets the Pacific Islands Development Forum Executive Director, Francois Martel in Apia on 5 April 2016.