Tuvalu at the United Nations

Tuvalu Remarks
at the CSD14 Opening Session
by H.E. Ambassador Enele S Sopoaga
Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Monday 1 May 2006

Mr Chairman

The need to address both the opportunities of energy and industrial development and the challenges of the resultant pollution and climate change, in a balanced manner is not only important. It is URGENT.

Tuvalu wishes at the outset to fully associate itself with the statement made by the distinguished Permanent Representative of St Lucia to the United Nations on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) this morning at the opening session of the CSD14. We wish, however, to highlight a couple of specific points.

First, it is very clear that after fourteen years of Agenda 21 and all its offspring sustainable development plans including the JPOI and BPOA, the unique vulnerability of SIDS like Tuvalu has not been adequately addressed. Tuvalu and many like us continue to lack the fundamental resilience especially when it comes to high energy costs and impacts of climate change. Many of these challenges are well defined, explained, prioritized and presented in the MSI – but the task now is to ensure effective and sustained implementation of concrete projects on the ground in SIDS.

As in the MSI, Tuvalu is fully committed to its own sustainable development; its national sustainable development (NSDS) was completed last year and launched here in the United Nations at the margins of the World Leaders Summit. A round-table meeting on the NSDS will be held in Fiji on 16-17 May, and the participation of development partners, bilateral and multilateral, will be warmly welcomed.

We are grateful that many barriers and options for progress to address our unique vulnerability are identified in the SG’s report and the papers for this session. Tuvalu believes, however, that the main challenge for SIDS remains to be the lack of simplified access to, and the securing of, adequate international financial and technical support in the form of grants.

Second, oil prices at the current levels of 2-300% above world prices due to our isolation and fragmentation, make development in SIDS like Tuvalu simply unsustainable and unattainable if continued in this path. There is a critical and an urgent need for the earliest development and use of renewable energy sources, particularly such as solar, for resilience building in Tuvalu.

A global funding mechanism for renewable energy is urgently needed to facilitate international cooperation, and we believe the global fund should be seriously considered by this review session for a policy decision in CSD15.

Finally, Mr Chairman, the increasing intensity and adverse impacts of climate change and sea level rise on SIDS like Tuvalu present a real sense of fear and urgency for concrete actions. We are concerned however to hear of the continuing denial of climate change in many quarters, and sadly also in the language of the SG’s report projecting the impacts of climate change into sometime in the future. The devastations of economies, loss of livelihoods and lives in Pacific islands like Niue, Cook islands two years ago, king-tides and swells in Tuvalu, Marshall Islands and Kiribati over the past three years, and many similar predicaments in all other SIDS regions, underscore that climate change is happening, now.

There is an urgent need to implement concrete adaptation activities in Tuvalu and SIDS supported by Annex I countries as obligated under the UNFCCC. At the same time there is an urgent need for the full implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, and for ALL countries to contribute to the further reduction of GHG particularly through significantly accelerating the development and use of renewable energy. For SIDS the use of renewable energy will also yield huge domestic savings much needed for adaptation projects to the adverse impacts of climate change in the islands.

Tuvalu strongly feels the case for Renewable Energy is now even more concrete, necessary and urgent – for development and for climate change.

Tuvalu looks forward to participating in this session of the CSD14.

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