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Island nations discuss threat of climate change at U.N.

Aug 5, 2015 Climate change represents “the gravest threat to survival and viability” to small island developing states (SIDS); as such the topic became a major talking point during the United Nations Security Council meeting in New Zealand.

While opening the meeting, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said:

“The Security Council has rightly highlighted the threat of climate change to international peace and security. Rising sea levels, dying coral reefs and increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters exacerbate the conditions leading to community displacement and migration. They threaten to increase tensions over resources and effect domestic and regional stability. Over the years SIDS leaders have been consistently calling for global climate action.”

New Zealand’s foreign minister, Murray McCully, who chaired the meeting, also had this to say:

“The important strategic question for this council and for the wider U.N. community is, in my view, how do we take some meaningful steps to make SIDS less vulnerable in the face of threats to their security from natural disasters and from man-made challenges?”

Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi also called for urgent, global attention to the issues affecting small island developing states and said:

“One can reliably say that we have largely maintained a peaceful and secure environment. On the surface of it, because we don’t belong to the world’s trouble spots or homes to any of the current conflicts, it is tempting to equate this perceived tranquility as the absence of security challenges for our islands. Nothing can be further from the truth,”

He went on to say:

“We have witnessed significant, serious, transnational organized crime activities in the region. This includes drugs and firearms trafficking, financial crimes and money laundering, human trafficking and people smuggling, labor and sexual exploitation.”

Minister of Finance Jean-Paul Adam of the Seychelles in his speech further emphasized the danger posed by changing climate on the survival of the islands:

“Increases in global temperatures are currently set to be well above two degrees and this wills literally wipeout the islands of many of our nations.

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