Tuvalu PM says small states must stick together
The Prime Minister of Tuvalu Enele Sopoaga says small island states will be left adrift unless they focus on working together.
The Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga, says small island states will be left adrift unless they stick together.
Mr Sopoaga has just attended the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders summit in Palau, which included a meeting of the Smaller Island States leaders.
The seven states include Tuvalu, Kiribati, Cook Islands, Nauru and Niue.
Mr Sopoaga told Amelia Langford the meeting resulted in strong resolutions to continue to work together on issues such as climate change.
ENELE SOPOAGA: The main idea is to continue to be on the same canoe and use the leverage to voice our unique concerns to the wider Forum membership and of course to the wider international community.
AMELIA LANGFORD: What do you think are the key issues facing Tuvalu at the moment - climate change would be number one?
ES: No doubt about that. I think it is for not only for Tuvalu but for other small island states because if we have almost perfect or very good strategic plans and all that put in place that is okay but all this would be compromised by the effects of climate change. There is no way we can ignore this. We must continue otherwise all our efforts will be pointless and there is no point of talking about plans, and strategies and frameworks, and whatever you have if we do not address the issue of climate change - it will be a total failure.
AL: Some people say the Forum is losing some of its relevance. What is the feeling among smaller nations about that?
ES: I think we have to be very careful about that because national governments have their own perspectives. It has to do with the costs and benefits and the delivery of service and of course we are in different pathways and levels but one area where we are on the same [level] as the Forum is that we have the collective voice of 16 island countries. All of these are sovereign states and the leverage that we command is significant if you are talking about global international negotiations and engagement. It makes sense to stick together I think and it makes sense to continue. Where we have gaps maybe of delivery of service, that is for each individual sovereign country to identify and raise and I don't see it as a credibility issue. I think it makes it stronger for us to stick together. Certainly for Tuvalu, I want to be in the organisation - I feel more safe than on my own - it is rather unpleasant - quite lonely out there [laughs].
AL: Would you like to see Fiji come back in to the Forum?
ES: Certainly. I think the Forum leaders have made their point and we are all praying hard for proper elections next month in fact and Fiji is a significant leader in its own right and it has contributed to regional development and it is very significant for small islands like Tuvalu - it is a gateway for Tuvalu. We hope that elections can bring back parliamentary democracy and so on. Yeah, that is fine.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: