3 October 2014
Ulu o Tokelau, Aliki Faipule, Kuresa Nasau
Statement by the Ulu o Tokelau
Aliki Faipule Kuresa Nasau
High Level Ministerial Segment of the 25th Annual SPREP Meeting
Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands
Mr Chairman the Honourable Tony de Brum
Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, Representatives and Heads of Delegations
Director General of SPREP
Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen
Iakwe (ya-quay) & Malo Ni! I convey warm Tokelau Greetings. I want to acknowledge God our Heavenly Father for His guidance in making this event possible. Chair I would like to congratulate you for assuming the chairmanship role and I have all the confident that you will guide us through our deliberations. I would also like to commend the Government and the people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and especially those here in beautiful Majuro for hosting the 25th SPREP Officials Meeting and today's High Level Ministerial Segment, komol tata (ko-mole-tah-tah)!
I would like to thank the presenters for their reflections on this important issue. From the onset I would like to acknowledge and thank the SPREP Secretariat for the strategic agenda of the segment. As Ministers we are called to take action in regard to our vulnerability to natural disasters and climate change. Climate change is already having a negative impact on all of us. This is of deep concern to us due to our fragile biodiversity and the pressure towards a more sustainable development that meet the needs of our communities.
As the region with the biggest ocean in the world we face the greatest threat not only because of our size but also due to the fact that the energy added to the climate system is stored in the ocean under the form of ocean warming. This translates to extremes of heat, rainfall and drought, sea level rise, tropical cyclone intensity and ocean acidification. A significant climate change impact on Tokelau and other small atoll communities like ours will be on reef and lagoon ecology. The increased sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification changes will have a major impact on the critical services and resources provided by the reef ecosystem which will in turn impact on food security and other livelihood factors for the communities on our islands.
Translating climate change financing from talk to action is important, as we have heard from the presentations,s as it would help our small atolls and islands address the livelihood issues for our people. I would like to acknowledge and commend the metropolitan powers and development partners who have contributed generously to the climate change funds and other funding instruments to address this important phenomenon.
The leaders of the region have conveyed on several occasions the sentiments of frustration in exploring how to access climate change fund in the face of an already threatening environment, acknowledged through undeniable evidence. The current challenges around conditions to access the fund is non-responsive to the urgency that the world and this region have 'marshalled' to address this issue.
We are small islands - big oceans! We have the world's largest ocean that joins us. Through that context we can draw an opportunity for a stronger region and voice through our collective partnership. The 3rd SIDS Conference in Samoa last month, showed what we can achieve together and I acknowledge the Government of Samoa for their role and leadership and others that helped.
Today, through that collective voice, we call on the global community and development partners to work together to urgently translate climate change fund from words to action! As a regional family we must face the challenges of climate change financing head on. This is our duty to future generations. We must not fail.
To the SPREP Secretariat, we continue to ask that you do all you can to ensure that our focus on climate change and the biodiversity of our land and oceans is at the forefront of our agenda as SPREP family members. Thank you for your efforts.
I wish us well in our deliberations today and pray that God will continue to to support our efforts to bring us closer to the ultimate goal of ensuring a safer and sustainable future for our region and beyond.
Thank you & Komol tata!