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UN Secretary General calls for unity on climate change in Kiribati

The Secretary-General calling on The President, Beretitenti Anote Tong, Tarawa, Kiribati.  © UNICEF Pacific/Naoki Takyo

Tarawa, 6 September 2011— Pacific Island countries have to rise above their differences, join forces and make common cause towards the urgent issue of climate change.

“I know you are frustrated by the divisions, I am too,” the Secretary-General said at a state dinner on Sunday. “Instead of seeing divides, I look for commonalities. Instead of seeing separation, I look for unity.”

The Secretary-General spoke of his personal commitment to the issue of climate change that has sent him to areas around the world which were manifesting climate change-induced changes like the Antarctica and the Amazon River Basin.

“Kiribati will strengthen my belief, my conviction that this climate change is a much more serious security issue,” the Secretary-General said.

Mr. Ban said we needed to protect this world to avoid future generations labeling this generation “irresponsible.” The Secretary-General told those gathered at the Kiribati State House that he would continue to advocate for vulnerable populations like Kiribati.

“I will bring your concerns back to the world, to the United Nations General Assembly, to the climate change negotiations in Durban later this year and to the Rio20 Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012.”

“I will keep pressing for progress until we get real results.”  Mr Ban had earlier been ‘blessed’ by village elders where he had returned the gesture in the local language by a greeting encompassing health (Te Mauri), peace (Te Raoi) and prosperity (ao Te Tabomoa) to the delight of the islanders who had gathered at the Eita District maneaba, a local meeting house.

The Secretary-General at Eita Maneaba, Tarawa, Kiribati, © UNICEF Pacific/Naoki Takyo

“This is a beautiful Kiribati greeting that also sums up the values of the United Nations,” he said. "I am here because Kiribati and the United Nations share important values and important goals. We share the goals of peace, health and prosperity.

“We are both concerned about climate change. I hope by coming here ... I can call attention to this urgent problem. Many countries are dealing with climate change but here climate change is threatening your territory, your culture, your very way of life.”

The Secretary-General who is accompanied by Mrs. Ban and his delegation left yesterday afternoon on his way to attend the annual Pacific Island Forum Leaders meeting in New Zealand.

For further information please contact:
Vika Waradi, Communications Officer, Kiribati : Mobile: +686 93878



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