Tuvalu News

Statement by
His Excellency Mr. Panapasi Nelesone
Chairman of the Delegation of Tuvalu to the Millennium Summit

55th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
September 6-8, 2000

Excellencies,
Co-Chairpersons,

It is a great honor and privilege to address the Millennium Summit on behalf of the Prime Minister of Tuvalu who unfortunately has had to leave the Summit due to some unforeseen but unavoidable urgent matters at home.

As the youngest member of this great family of independent nations, Tuvalu places the highest value in the work of the United Nations. Over the last three days, the high spirit of goodwill and commitment that has been enunciated as member States reflect on the future role of the United Nations, has indeed given Tuvalu greater inspiration and pride in joining this August body. It has also given Tuvalu the highest expectations and hope for the success of the United Nations in promoting peace and prosperity for all mankind.

Excellencies, peace is the absence of threat to the security and survival of a nation. Without peace there is no development, and no progress. Like many of our island sisters and brothers in the Pacific and other regions, Tuvalu's severe capacity limitations and extreme environmental and economic vulnerability to external forces culminate as the most serious threat to our survival. Whilst we welcome the vast opportunities for all countries under processes of globalization, international indifference to the situation of the inner Pacific societies can only lead to severe undermining of our small economies.

Tuvalu therefore strongly supports the development in full and adoption of the environmental vulnerability index (EVI) that can better reflect the extreme capacity limitation and vulnerability of small island developing states.

In the same vein, the compelling findings on the consequences of global warming and climate change, in particular rising sea levels, are of the greatest concern to Tuvalu and many small island developing States. Already some of our valuable lands have totally disappeared, washed away by high seas, and even as this historic Summit progresses, our people face the real threat of being inundated by seawater. In accordance with the spirit of the Kyoto Protocol, therefore, Tuvalu urges member States and the international community to seriously take heed of the pleas of small island states on climate change, and combat this threat more aggressively before it is too late. To this very end, we also fully support the need to further promote frameworks such as the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) as a means to promote and further ensure the security and survival of our people.

Excellencies, in joining the United Nations Tuvalu cannot but notice the extent to which strong champions of democracy and human rights and those who have genuinely contributed to the development of prosperity and well being of the international community, such as the Republic of China, are being excluded from the United Nations. Tuvalu strongly believes that the United Nations cannot be universally representative of democratic peoples of the world until the representation of the Republic of China in the United Nations is appropriately addressed.

To conclude, Tuvalu has the strongest hopes that the Millennium Summit and General Assembly will lead to constructive reforms of the United Nations that will make it a more meaningful and representative organization as it moves into the new century.

May God bless the United Nations and may God bless the dreams of its peoples. Thank you.

 


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