United Nations, New York, September 24, 2019 – Prime Minister Jacinda Arden in her opening address to the United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019 did not mince her words when she introduces Tokelau climate change story to the world.

CANCC Leaders 22092019-710
The photo was taken after the CANCC leaders meeting featuring from L-R:  Kiribati, Maldives, Marshall Islands (Chair), Tokelau and Tuvalu.

“Earlier this year, I visited the remote atolls of Tokelau in the South Pacific. With a population of 1,500 people that is only accessible by boat, they have a story not often head but a message that must be shared,” she said.

“It’s a message underscored by their new coastal walls which are already toppling over from the assault by the sea. By their seaside burial grounds, which are eroding and shifting. And by the children who tell you they are worried about the future of their home.”

The Summit, convened by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, aims to demonstrate a leap in collective national political ambition and massive low-emission movements in the world economy, in the face of worsening climate crisis. According to the UN, the world would need to increase its efforts between three- and five-fold to contain climate change to the levels dictated by science – a 1.5°C rise at most – and avoid escalating climate damage already taking place around the world.

“We are here on New Zealand’s invitation. Our goal is to ensure our climate experience are shared with the international community. We also want to learn from other countries and partners’ experience, especially those who have similar climate profiles to us,” said Hon. Kelihiano Kalolo, Ulu of Tokelau and Minister for Climate Change, who was in the audience.

“We appreciate Prime Minister Arden very much for her use of ‘Malo ni’ [greetings in Tokelauan] in addition to English and Maori in her opening address. She articulated our situation eloquently and accurately.”

The Ulu acknowledged the continued and unreserved support of Tokelau communities residing in Tokelau and abroad.

The Ulu and members of his delegation, Ms Paula Faiva, Director, Climate Change, and Penehuro Lefale, Climate Adviser, expressed their sincere appreciation to Prime Minister Arden, members of her delegation, including Hon. Aupito Sio, Minister of Pacific People, and Craig John Hawkes, Permanent representative of the New Zealand Mission to the UN and his staff, for the outstanding services rendered to them during their stay in New York.

The Ulu also acknowledged and thanked Pacific SIDS, Pacific regional organisations and partners, the Pacific NDC Hub in particular, for their ongoing support to Tokelau at the Summit.

For further enquiries, contact Ms Paula Faiva, Director, Ministry of Climate, Ocean and Resilience, Office phone: +685-20822/20823 Mobile: +64 4 210 470 167, Email: A copy of Prime Minister Arden speech is available at: Information on the outcomes of the Summit, visit: