President Mori Addresses 63rd UNGA

New York (United Nations Department of Public Information): September 25, 2008 - Emanuel Mori, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, said that the world financial situation, along with the fuel and food crises, had a negative impact on efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and the broader pursuit of sustainable development.

Island nations remained under threat from climate change, he added. Those most affected were those who could least afford a response, most often the small island developing States. Families in Micronesia had been adversely impacted by the inability to secure fuel, he said, calling for the acceleration of development and sharing of technologies for renewable and affordable alternative energy sources. The assistance of the international community and financial institutions should follow.

The energy crisis led to an increase in the cost of foodstuffs, he said, noting that imported rice, a staple of the Micronesian diet, had become unaffordable. The nexus between food security and climate change was being felt in his country, which had farmlands barely a few meters above

sea level. Taro, and other crops, had already been inundated by salt water from the surrounding rising waters. The seas must be managed sustainably to preserve the bounty they provide. Collateral catches and discards in commercial fisheries were also troubling as they impacted

both critical resources and areas of cultural importance to Micronesia.

The world's financial turbulence, while emanating from larger economies, put everyone at risk. He encouraged developed countries not to use this current situation as a pretext to pull back from the agreed target of0.7 per cent of gross domestic product for official development assistance (ODA). He further spoke of Security Council reform, supporting expansion of membership in both categories, and said that India, Japan and Germany should all be made permanent members.

Returning to climate change, he said that it was the greatest challenge to achieving the Millennium Development Goals for small islands developing States. Sea rise could wash away those islands and their culture. Melting glaciers and snow pack from the Tibetan Plateau, and

the disintegration of the Greenland and West Antarctica ice sheets could reach a "tipping point", causing metres of sea rise, putting the entire planet in peril. He called for fast-track mitigation strategies to protect the climate and the ozone layer, such as strengthening the Montreal Protocol on ozone depletion.

While sustainable development was essential, he said that global warming must be approached from a holistic perspective, rather than limited to sustainable development, humanitarian or technical issues, or economic or environmental issues. Climate change also impacted human rights, international peace and security, territorial integrity and the very existence of small island nations. The United Nations, Governments, public and private enterprises, such as academic and research institutions, must work together to combat climate change.