Friday, July 26, 2013

Climate change is destroying the Marshall Islands

Senator Tony de Brum, Vice-President of the Marshall Islands, will speak on "Climate change is destroying my country" at the Australian National University in Canberra, 5:30 PM, 29 July 2013
Across the Pacific, climate change is not some abstract concept but a real and present danger. Earlier this year, the Marshall Islands – one of only four island atoll countries in the world – declared a state of emergency after a prolonged drought across its northern islands. But just as international help arrived, a king tide hit the capital Majuro and other islands in the south, flooding many homes and closing the airport. Ultimately, without much stronger action to tackle climate change, the Marshall Islands and other vulnerable countries like it will disappear from the map. But the fate of the most vulnerable is just a preview of greater dangers that lie ahead for all countries. This September, the Marshall Islands will host the 44th Pacific Islands Forum, where the region's leaders will look to adopt a 'Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership', calling for a new wave of political commitment and more ambitious action from Pacific partners and stakeholders to fast-track the fight against climate change.

Senator Tony de Brum is the Minister-in-Assistance (Vice-President equivalent) to the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) with responsibility for climate and energy issues and the former Foreign Minister. After growing up on Likiep Atoll during the 12-year period when the United States tested 67 atomic and thermonuclear weapons in the atmosphere and under water in the Marshall Islands, Senator de Brum is now fighting to save his country from another existential threat posed by climate change. Senator de Brum also played a key role in the negotiations that led to the first compact of free association between the U.S. and the RMI and his country's independence, and participated in the development of RMI's Constitution. In October 2012, Senator de Brum was awarded the 2012 Nuclear Age Peace Foundation's Distinguished Peace Leader Award and in February this year addressed a special session of the UN Security Council on the threats posed by climate change.

This event is hosted by the ANU Pacific Institute.

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