Statement of Intervention
by His Excellency Reverend Filoimea Telito
Governor General of Tuvalu
at the Second France-Oceania Summit
Paris, 26th June 2006
- I want first of all to thank you, Mr President, for your kind welcome, and to say that our Honourable Prime Minister is unable to attend this important Summit due to the ongoing session of Parliament in Tuvalu, which is the last in this current House. He sends his best wishes for the success of this Conference.
- It is a special privilege to be here, and I want to lend our full support to the remarks of the Pacific Islands Forum Chairman, His Excellency Sir Michael Somare, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, His Excellency Mr Tommy Remengesau, President of Palau, and other Pacific leaders who have spoken before me.
- Indeed this gathering is of significant importance. We see this as the vehicle that not only symbolizes the cooperation values we all long share, but also concretizes France’s commitment to the Pacific in our efforts to cope with our unique challenges while securing real opportunities for our communities in the Pacific.
- Excellencies, central to our partnership, and to the addressing of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and our sustainable development as under the Mauritius Strategy for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), is the issue of environmental sustainability. On this, I want to raise two specific issues: climate change and waste.
- At the forefront of increasing environmental degradation and concerns are the Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Many like my own Tuvalu in the Pacific face an uncertain future due to climate change and sea level rise.
- Everywhere scientists are telling us that tropical sea-surface temperatures have warmed by half a degree Celsius. The impacts are seen in all regions, in the Arctic and in the low-lying islands. For people who live on atolls, like us in Tuvalu, we face the threat of losing our entire nation. We could be one of the first nations to disappear. This is no Atlantis myth this is the reality of this century.
- Left to ourselves, we will be totally overwhelmed. We are grateful for France’s and the EU’s wise stand on climate change under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. But there is an urgency to expand and intensify cooperation on mitigation against climate change, and similarly to accelerate actions on concrete adaptation to the impacts on the ground in small island developing States.
Waste and Wastewater
- Excellencies on waste, tomorrow the French Ministry of Environment will kindly host here in Paris a meeting of senior officials to prepare the agenda for the High Level Inter-Governmental Ministerial Review of the Global Plan of Action (GPA) for the Environment and Marine Polution from Land-Based activities of the UNEP.
- The GPA pays special attention to small island developing States and is currently integrating the Mauritius Strategy as it pertains to coastal and marine resources, freshwater resources and waste.
- To be considered is a global UNEP-SIDS partnership on waste, including chemical waste, and wastewater management to help SIDS including those in the Pacific, improve capacity to build resilience against our environmental challenges.
- We need France’s and the European Commission’s support in terms of a special window of funding for SIDS in the partnership and its implementation, which will form part of the global response to the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States.
- To conclude, I extend our sincere appreciation to the President, Government, and people of France for your warm hospitality. It is our hope that out of the beauty of the Eiffel Tower and this famous City, this Summit will lead to tangible results of mutual success.