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John Kerry recognises devasting impact of climate change on Pacific Islands

 

“I just came from the Solomon Islands yesterday, a thousand islands, some of which could be wiped out if we don’t make the right choices. The Pacific Islands across the entire Pacific are vulnerable to climate change. And just yesterday, I saw with my own eyes what sea level rise would do to parts of it: It would be devastating. Entire habitats destroyed, entire populations displaced from their homes, in some cases entire cultures wiped out. They just had flash flooding in Guadalcanal. Unprecedented amounts of rainfall and that’s what’s happened with climate change. Unprecedented storms, unprecedented typhoons, unprecedented hurricanes, unprecedented droughts, unprecedented fires, major damage, billions and billions of dollars of damage being done that we’re paying for instead of investing those billions of dollars in avoiding this in the first place.”

Kerry made the comments during an address on the ‘U.S. Vision for Asia Pacific Engagement’ at the East West Centre in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 14. He noted that East Asia is one of the largest fastest growing most dynamic regions in the entire world and recognised that “America’s security and Prosperity are closely and increasingly linked to the Asia Pacific.”

He said he would be increasing his efforts in the region over the next two and a half years. “And that’s why I want to talk to you today about four specific opportunities: creating sustainable economic growth, powering a clean energy revolution, promoting regional co-operation, and empowering people.” He believed these could be realised by co-operative behaviour and fostering regional integration on shared challenges, “through a rules-based regional order, a stable regional order on common rules and norms of behaviour that are reinforced by institutions.”

Kerry stated the importance of strengthening America’s partnership with Pacific Island Nations:

“Now, the United States and China have a special role to play in reducing emissions and developing a clean energy future. But everybody, every nation, has a stake in getting it right,” he said.

“That’s why we are deepening our partnerships with the Pacific Island nations and others to meet immediate threats and long-term development challenges. And we’re working through USAID and other multilateral institutions to increase the resilience of communities. And we’re elevating our engagement through the Pacific Islands Forum. And we’ve signed maritime boundaries, new maritime boundaries with Kiribati and the Federated States of Micronesia in order to promote good governance of the Pacific Ocean and peaceful relations among island nations. And we’re also working on a Pacific Pathway of marine protected areas that includes President Obama’s commitment to explore a protected area of more than a million square miles in size the U.S remote Pacific.” 

Read Story: Matangi Tonga Online

 

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