Mr. Andrew Yatilman
Director of the Office of Environment and Emergency Management
Federated States of Micronesia
at the United Nations Climate Change Conference
Bali, Indonesia, 13 December 2007
Check Against Delivery
Thank you Mr. President, Excellencies, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of my delegation, allow me to say how grateful we are to the government and People of Indonesia for facilitating the progress of the Protocol and for their kind hospitality.
As a fellow member of the Pacific Island community, we congratulate Australia for ratifying the Protocol and warmly welcome them as a party. At the same time, we must express our sincere condolences to those that have been affected by the recent deplorable acts in Algeria.
My delegation aligns itself with the statements made by Tonga, on behalf of the Pacific Islands, and Grenada, on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States.
Mr. President, as we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol, we must reflect on what has been accomplished since the agreement. The process has moved slowly, belaboring issues of contention. In stark contrast with this slow process, we see rapid increases in the incidence and severity of environmental hazards felt by my country, as well as other island states. Looking forward to the 10-year anniversary of our meeting here in Bali, our nation is deeply concerned that the tipping point for abrupt climate change could be at hand, as Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon recently cautioned. Beyond this point, the environment can no longer rebound from the increasing human impacts and our nation, in particular, may have no chance at survival. Our future is clearly at stake.
Mr. President, my delegation would like to draw attention to what is at risk in our homeland. Our islands, many of which are low-lying, span almost 2.9 million square kilometers of ocean with 700 square kilometers of land and are home to 60% of all known coral species. Sadly, the grave impacts of climate change are already upon us. The delicate balance in our complex and vulnerable ecosystems is at stake.
Climate change is drowning our islands due to sea-level rise.
It is ravaging our coastal communities through increased extreme weather events, such as typhoons, tropical storms, and droughts.
The coral reefs, on which the livelihood of our people depends, are being destroyed by increases in sea temperature and the subsequently impacts on the health of our fisheries.
Our food security is also being jeopardized in our agricultural sector due to salt-water intrusion and inland flooding causing damage to agricultural crops.
Climate change is literally threatening our islands. Our existence. Our future.
At the same time, we are faced with the grim reality that available resources are limited. We are committed to doing all that we can. However, we call upon developed countries to support adaptation measures, including increased funding support, technology transfer, and capacity-building. Our position is clear. All possible actions should be taken and all parties should contribute to the solution, including private sector and NGOs. Even the lowest emissions pathway presented by the IPCC may not be adequate to give us protection. For us, a target of two degrees temperature rise is unacceptable. Immediate actions, such as achieving adequate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, must now be undertaken to preserve the integrity of Earth's environment.
Mr. President, we look towards utilizing a Bali Roadmap that will be the framework for future negotiations. Without an adequate framework, our islands are in grave danger of vanishing beneath the surface of the sea, leading to the displacement of our island communities. Our culture and our basic human rights are at stake.
Mr. President, this conference has facilitated the congregation, in one place, of the world's top scientists, scholars, environmental experts, and stakeholders, in addition to government delegates, ministers, and even world leaders. The entire world is being represented here. Combining our resources, we can fashion a Bali Roadmap that will lead us to a strengthened climate change regime. Such a regime must be inclusive, protecting all cultures, peoples, and environments. We, therefore, reaffirm the AOSIS position that "no island should be left behind."
Mr. President, our nation's contributions toward the causes of climate change are negligible. However, we are determined to do all that is in our capacity to contribute to a solution. As eluded to by His Excellency, President Tommy Remengesau of Palau, the Micronesian Challenge is a shining example of the collaborative efforts between governments and NGOs that should be undertaken to protect and preserve the integrity of the Earth's environment. Such adaptation and conservation measures will benefit not only our ecosystems, but also the livelihood of our inhabitants.
It is imperative, however, that there be a reciprocal relationship between our efforts and those of the nations currently emitting high levels of greenhouse gases. This global problem requires cooperative leadership and action. We ask our fellow leaders to unequivocally embrace the promise to make effective strides towards the greatest commitments and reductions that are needed to curb and reverse global warming.
Mr. President, our future is at stake. Our environment is at stake. Our culture is at stake. Our human rights are at stake. However, we have not lost hope. The entire world is represented here. The will is here. The time for action is now. It is imperative that it be a collaborative effort.
Speaking as an islander on this island of Bali, it is fitting for me to recall a few lines from another islander, John Donne. He cautioned years ago that, "No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main." Let us combine all of the pieces to create a Bali Roadmap that guides us to a future that preserves all environments, all cultures, and all nations.
Thank you, Mr. President.