I thank President Christopher Loeak of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum for this opportunity to convey my best wishes to the 44th meeting of your important regional group.
I commend all the leaders for your focus on “Marshalling the Pacific Response to the Climate Challenge”. The Pacific Islands region was among the first to raise the alarm on the implications of climate change not only for your own countries but for our world.
While climate change affects us all, your region is among the most vulnerable. As we work towards a legally binding agreement, the international community will count on your continued leadership. I thank you for your eloquent moral voice for action on this vital challenge for humanity.
I will never forget the child I met in my visit to Kiribati who shared his fears about the climate threat, and asked for help in securing his future. This child’s plea is shared by so many others in the region and around the world.
In September 2014, I will convene a Climate Change Summit in New York. My aim in bringing leaders together in this way is to catalyze ambitious action to reduce emissions and enhance climate resilience while mobilizing political will for a universal and comprehensive agreement in 2015. I welcome your active participation.
I also look forward to continuing to strengthen our UN-PIF partnership. Our Joint Statements have identified areas of common interest and we remain committed to deepening this collaboration. I invite you to continue the dialogue with UN partners at the local and global levels, so that together we can work on mitigating the effects of climate change, including the potentially adverse impacts on regional peace and security.
I am also pleased that you have reaffirmed your commitment to the Millennium Development Goals. The region has achieved important progress, but there is much work ahead. I look forward to your recommendations and plans to accelerate action to meet the MDGs and shape the post-2015 development agenda.
Next year will also bring another important opportunity when leaders will gather in Samoa for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States. The United Nations system stands ready to support preparations for the conference.
The fortuitous timing of this event, in the run-up to the key year of 2015, will help inform both the regional and global push for progress,
Excellencies, I wish you all the best for your meeting and I look forward to learning about the outcomes of your deliberations. Thank you for your leadership and commitment.