The president of Kiribati, Anote Tong, says international awareness is slowly growing about the vulnerability of small island states to the effects of climate change.
Mr Tong is on a state visit to New Zealand which is hosting this year's World Environment Day events.
The President is also expected to talk to New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark about a migration plan for his people because the low lying islands of Kiribati may be unlivable within 60 years due to sea-level rise.
The president notes that bigger countries like Australia are gradually changing their view of climate change.
"There is always that view that it is all right for them, but we don't want to live like them. But I think that this is the message that has got to be understood, worldwide, that we are living in one planet and that whatever we do, or don't do, will affect other people, which will in time affect us, which ever country we are in."
Kiribati President Anote Tong