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NEWS: Pacific Islands Forum opens as momentum builds for Majuro Declaration


As the 44th Pacific Islands Forum opened today in Majuro, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, momentum continues to build for the proposed Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership. The Office of the President of the Marshall Islands reports from Majuro.

This year’s Forum is attended by more countries than ever before as a sign of the rising importance of the region. As host, the Marshall Islands have proposed for adoption the Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership designed to be a platform for an upward spiral of ambition in phasing down greenhouse gas emissions over time.

Early consultations indicate wide support for the Majuro Declaration from Forum Members and strong interest from key Dialogue Partners who are among the biggest emitters in the world. The Forum’s Dialogue Partners include the United States, China, Japan, Republic of Korea and India, as well as the European Union and some of its Member States, including the United Kingdom and France.

Earlier this week a group of the world’s leading climate change experts backed calls for “a new wave of climate leadership” during their own meeting in the Marshall Islands, which has been struck by a spate of climate induced disasters in recent months. The “Panel of Experts on Climate Leadership” included presentations by the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres; the EU Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard; and the US Secretary of State, John Kerry.

Yesterday, members of the Panel of Experts had the opportunity to visit Anebok atoll near Majuro that has been almost entirely consumed by rising seas in recent years. Reflecting on the visit, the host of this week’s Panel and the Minister-in-Assistance to the President, Tony de Brum, said:

“In my lifetime I have already seen an island disappear from the face of the earth. It was owned by our Ambassador to the UN, Amatlain Kabua, who could only watch on through satellite images in New York as the land she owned was engulfed by the rising seas.”

“We have asked countries to come to Majuro ready to commit to be climate leaders, and this includes the big emitters. We want our Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership to move us forward from where we got to in Copenhagen, and to capture recent and more ambitious climate action by countries. One example is President Obama’s own Climate Action Plan, announced in June.”

“As everyone steps forward, momentum builds and we hopefully produce an upward spiral of ambition that has us on the right track on the way to the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in 2014, and the deadline for inking a new global climate agreement in 2015 under the UNFCCC. With this mind, President Loeak hopes to present our Majuro Declaration to Ban Ki-moon in New York later this month.”

Footage of the Panel of Experts on Climate Leadership will be available shortly: www.majurodeclaration.org

For more information contact Thom Woodroofe in the Office of the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands: thom.woodroofe@independentdiplomat.org

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