Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Opening remarks to the press at Mangrove Planting Site Kiribati

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Tarawa (Kiribati), 05 September 2011

Thank you very much, President [Anote] Tong of Kiribati for giving such a moving experience for me, to join common efforts of the world to address climate change. And I thank Parliamentary Secretary Richard Marles of Australia for joining us. And I am also very much happy to be joined by so many young people who care for their own future.

This planting of mangroves is the cheapest and surest way to protect the environment.

It protects the coasts.

It protects the ecosystems.

This is a very creative idea and I really commend highly the initiative and vision of President Tong.

This is a very important visit for the Secretary-General. I am here to see for myself how climate change impacts those small island developing states like Kiribati and Solomon Islands and many Pacific Island countries.

Their lives are threatened every day. It''s not tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. Their lives are threatened at this moment.

I met a young boy today among a few hundred people who were asking me what the United Nations is going to do for us. I was so moved and so sad. They were afraid of their own future. I think we have a moral and political responsibility to make a better world for all, for our young generation, and their great-great-grandchildren.

Planting mangroves may be simple and may not [seem] much. But it even helps the economy. It generates some income. Then, planting mangroves gives us a good lesson that if you care, if we care, for nature we will be better off in making this Planet Earth more environmentally hospitable, environmentally sustainable.

If we neglect, then this will threaten our lives and our ecosystems. And let us work together, and I am committed as Secretary-General of the United Nations to work with all the countries to make this world environmentally sustainable.

Thank you very much.