ISLAND NATIONS ON THE FRONTLINES OF CLIMATE CHANGE
President James Michel has made a powerful call on world leaders to listen to the developing world and vulnerable communities which are most affected by climate change, and collectively address the development challenges faced by small island states and developing nations in the face of global warming.
The President was speaking at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit in India, which was inaugurated by Indian Prime Minsiter Dr. Manmohan Singh.
During the summit, President Michel repeated the call which small islands have consistently asked for; that atmospheric carbon dioxide should be capped at 350 parts per million of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and for the earth’s surface temperature increase to be kept within 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“We continue to repeat this call, because amidst all the debates, amidst all the polemics, we can’t change the facts. The facts tell us that climate change will delay our efforts at sustainable development. The facts indicate clearly climate change will affect our fisheries, our agriculture, our water resources, hence our ability to feed our people. And the facts tell us that climate change will inflict poverty and threaten our very existence as a nation. But we will always continue to fight for our right to exist because island nations are on the frontlines of climate change," said President Michel.
The President noted that the trends of global governance show tht the world is moving towards increased marginalization of small island states rather than increased support.
"The rules will have to be changed. We could start by democratizing the Bretton Woods institutions to make them more relevant, more responsive to contemporary realities. The global governance architecture has to be modified to reflect justice, fairness and realism. The most recent UN Human development report completely ignored 10 Small Island Developing States and left them unranked. Small islands have been asking for increased recognition for many years. Small islands have been asking for increased recognition for many years. The reality is that small islands are at real risk of falling between the cracks of international development architecture, " said the President.
President Michel reitereated the right of small island states to exists as nations and asked that nations whichseek to ensure their economic prosperity above other considerations to conside the human rights implications that these decisions entail.
"But what about our right to exist as a people, as a country, as a nation? When some make decisions or pursue obstinately principles to maintain their own economic targets and interests at the detriment of the wider community of nations are they not creating conditions for whole nations to disappear from the face of the earth? Is that not another form of crime against humanity?”
President Michel commended India for its work to develop clean energy solutions. He sais that renewable energy is the next frontier which can transform the world economy, adding that " India has pioneered several innovations in renewable energy, water resources management and sustainable agriculture, to name a few, and is today poised to sustain its growth potential through technologies and practices that are sustainable."
Present on occasion were H.E. Mr. Hamid Karzai, President Afghanistan, H.E. Dr. Leonel Fernandez, President of Dominican Republic, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, the Indian Minister for New Renewable Energy, Mr. Jairam Ramesh, the Indian Minister for Environment and Forests, H.E. Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Former PM of Norway, along with ministers from 19 countries, three Nobel Laureates - - Prof. Joseph Stiglitz, Professor, Columbia University, USA; Dr Yuan-Tseh Lee, President, Academia Sinica, Taiwan; and Prof. Sir James A Mirrlees, Professor of Political Economy, University of Cambridge & Master, Morningside College Chinese University of Hong Kong, and other eminent dignitaries from national and International organizations.