2 Apr 2014

Marshalls deBrum - country risks being wiped off map due to climate change

10:14 am on 2 April 2014

The Marshall Islands foreign minister says ambassadors and climate negotiators from around the world will see the realities of climate change on the ground while meeting this week in the Marshalls capital, Majuro.

The Cartagena Dialogue group, representing about 40 nations, is focused on increasing traction for a global climate treaty at its four-day conference that opened Tuesday in Majuro.

Marshalls foreign minister Tony deBrum says his low-lying atoll country is on the front line of the battle against climate change.

He says early last month, they were hit by the highest king tides in more than 30 years, which displaced more than 1,000 people and forced our government to declare a State of Emergency.

He says even the most conservative scientific predictions suggest his country risks being wiped off the map by the end of this century.

He says to prevent this, the Marshalls has put climate change at the top of their country's political and diplomatic agenda.

Marshall Islands officials see the Cartagena Dialogue gathering in Majuro as an opportunity to gather momentum on the road to UN Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon's Climate Leaders' Summit this September in New York.

Mr DeBrum says many countries in the process are focused on the inking of a new global climate agreement in Paris at the end of 2015.

He says they believe this is an opportunity for those countries truly committed to an ambitious and effective global treaty in 2015 to set the pace of negotiations through to Paris.

He hopes the meeting in Majuro will be an opportunity for negotiators to see with their own eyes what this means on the ground for countries like his own.