H. E. Mr. Litokwa Tomeing, President
25 September 2008
© UN Photo
Click for caption and to enlarge
LITOKWA TOMEING, President of Marshall Islands, said his country, like other island States in the Pacific, was struggling to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Its efforts had been made more difficult by unpredictable global forces, such as the current energy crisis sparked by higher fuel costs. The vast distances between islands had made transport in the region excessively expensive, and the adverse impact of fuel price spikes had been immediate and severe. The transportation of essential goods and the movement of people to and from far-flung islands had been sharply curtailed as a result.
Further, the dispensation of essential services and food products had been acutely impaired, crippling the country’s ability to sustain normal public services and threatening food security and medical services. The country had been forced to declare a state of economic emergency. He asked the international community to consider creating a comprehensive financial facility that could help the small island States cope during crises. Such a facility could also help those States shift from fossil-fuel-based energy to affordable and renewable energy sources.
Turning to climate change, he said the Marshall Islands could not alter the size or height of the islands to deal with rising sea levels. If the sea level rose by two metres, Tokelau, Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands would be completely submerged under the sea. The issue, therefore, demanded an effective and immediate global response, and he urged the United Nations to elevate this threat as justification for a total war against climate change.
On relations between China and Taiwan, he said the new era of goodwill sparked hope for improved economic possibilities and political stability. That era presented an opportunity for the international community to encourage, and strengthen, the process. The Marshall Islands believed it was time for Taiwan to be accorded full participation in the specialized agencies of the United Nations. On the issue of reform, he said the Security Council should be enlarged to reflect the new world realities, and Japan’s aspiration to seek a permanent seat on the Council deserved favourable consideration.