Poorer nations need urgent help to mitigate impact of climate change, UN told

24 September 2008

The leaders of Nauru and Suriname, two developing nations struggling to protect their vulnerable environments from the ravages wrought by climate change, issued a call to the General Assembly today for increased assistance to boost their resilience to the effects of global warming.

Phosphate mining has stripped Nauru of its farmable land, and greenhouse gas emissions are leading to a sea level rise – one metre in this century by conservative estimates – that will flood the remaining habitable terrain, President Marcus Stephen told the Assembly’s high-level debate.

“Our people will be literally trapped between the rising sea and an ancient, uninhabitable coral field,” he said.

But Mr. Stephen said that “the cost of rehabilitating 80 per cent of our lands is well beyond our immediate means,” appealing for support from the United Nations, along with other donors, to help restore Nauru.

Similarly, Runaldo Ronald Venetiaan, President of Suriname, urged increased funding to help the South American nation maintain its forests.

Due to its low deforestation rates, he said that his country is “forgotten in mechanisms devised to compensate for deforestation.”

However, he stressed “the importance of new financing mechanisms, since good management of forests and other natural resources cannot and should not be at the expense of the development of our own peoples, the peoples of countries with high forest coverage and low deforestation rates.”


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