Ban vows to help Pacific Island States mitigate climate change impact

4 March 2011

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today pledged United Nations support to help Pacific Island States mitigate the impact of climate change, noting that many of them are “on the front lines” of the battle.

“As you know, the clock is ticking. We must do whatever we can, wherever we can, as quickly as we can, to protect the most vulnerable,” he said in a message to the Ministerial Regional Conference on Climate Change in the Pacific, which is being held in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

“It is critically important for the Pacific Island countries to continue to raise their voices on climate change. Your communities are on the front lines of this global threat. Small island developing States are among those that are most vulnerable to climate impacts. You know first-hand the destructive potential of rising sea levels, more intensive storms and other hazards.”

Mr. Ban said it was crucial to make progress in international negotiations to tackle the various aspects of climate change as the world prepares for the next conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Durban, South Africa, in December, warning that leaders “must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good” when it comes to securing tangible agreements.

This, he added, is the lesson to be taken from the last UNFCCC meeting in Cancún, Mexico, last December, when agreement was reached on formalizing climate change mitigation pledges and ensuring increased accountability for them, as well as on taking concrete action to tackle deforestation, which accounts for nearly one fifth of global carbon emissions.

“We must also continue to press for deeper emission cuts in line with what science is telling us is necessary,” he said. “And we need resources for adaptation and capacity-building efforts, which I know are a priority for many countries attending this gathering.”

National action must lead the way in delivering clear results on the ground,” he stressed, welcoming efforts by some Pacific Island States to strengthen resilience and reduce disaster risk.


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