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UN Secretary-General Underlines Threats of Climate Change in the Pacific

5 September 2011: During his official visit to Kiribati, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated the President of Kiribati on his active participation in multilateral efforts to address climate change, in particular by promoting dialogue among parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Ban met with the President on 4-5 September 2011, and acknowledged the value of initiatives like the Tarawa Climate Change Conference, organized by Kiribati in November 2010, in preparation of the Cancun Climate Change Conference. Both agreed that climate change represents "an urgent and irreversible threat to the people of this region and the planet," and called for urgent action by all parties. They underscored the specific vulnerability of SIDS to the impacts of climate change, adding that it threatens to undo progress achieved in the Pacific region towards achieving sustainable development goals. They both stressed the need for urgent international action to reduce emissions consistent with the science, and for adaptation financing to enable the implementation of critical adaptation programmes.

They noted the actions that can be taken in the Pacific to address climate change, highlighting the actions of Kiribati such as mangrove forest management, biodiversity conservation initiatives, water resource management and the enhancement of coastal resilience. Ban also visited a mangrove planting site and met with the Minister of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development, as well as with communities that have lost homes, land, and fresh water to rising sea levels. [UN Press Release] [Joint Press Statement of the President of Kiribati and of Ban Ki-moon] [Ban's Remarks at Mangrove Planting Site]