by Ms Paula Faiva, Head of the Tokelau delegation
ON BEHALF OF THE ULU O TOKELAU,
HON. ALIKI FAIPULE SIOPILI PEREZ
HIGH-LEVEL EVENT ON CLIMATE INDUCED MIGRATION,
10 OCTOBER, TARAWA, KIRIBATI
Your Excellency President Anote Tong,
Your Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco,
Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Honorable Enele Sosene Sopoaga
Assistant Secretary to the United Nations, Mr. Haoliang Xu
Ambassadors and Heads of CANCC delegations
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Ladies and Gentlemen
Malo Ni and Mauri to all.
|Our people want to maintain their identity and dignity, way of life, familial land rights and traditions that are unique, and one day claim our islands sovereignty, as mandated by the UN Commission on Decolonization. So the questions related to forced migration are also critical to Tokelau: we need commitment from the international community, we need plans in place for nations in the frontline, we need protection for our displaced people, we want to retain sovereignty and our EEZ. If low-lying atolls and other Pacific Islanders are not refugees in the making, the question remains what are we, and what conventions can be put in place to protect us.
Tokelau, would like to commend you Mr. President for having the courage and foresight in leading the world on acknowledging the issue of climate induced migration, so that steps at the international law, the Law of the sea and human right levels are agreed, adhered to, funded and enforced in the eventuality of the worst possible scenario for our people. Thus, Tokelau stands in full support to the concept of “migration with dignity” advocated by sovereign atoll nations and trust the international community will recognize it as an essential planning instrument of a legally-binding climate deal to be negotiated in Paris this December, so that mistakes of the past in most attempts at resettlement of atoll people during colonial days (Chagos, Banaba, Bikini, to name a few) are not repeated.
In our engagement leading to Paris, as part of the New Zealand delegation, we will advocate for a “climate change displacement coordination facility” to be inserted in the final agreement for COP21, so that appropriate planning of potential relocation is provided, as well as compensation, to our people fleeing rising sea levels, extreme weather and loss of livelihoods.
We are grateful to the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, as well as to the Nansen Initiative and UNESCAP, for recognizing the issues raised by climate induced migrations and look forward to addressing the difficult questions raised by the migrations of low-lying atoll people to other lands as a result of climate change impacts beyond our capacity to adapt. Thank you for always keeping your Tokelau friends in mind so we are not left behind in the process.
Thank you Mister Chair. Fakafetai! And …..(Koropa!).
See also Media Release
Ms Paula Faiva, Head of the Tokelau delegation; and Mr Francois Martel in his swan song as Tokelau Climate Change and COP21 adviser, before he takes up his role as Chief Executive of the Pacific Islands Development Forum based in Fiji.