The outgoing chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum says the small Pacific Island nations that are vulnerable to climate change are the trailblazers returning balance to the earth.
The President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau, made the rallying cry as he opened the meeting of seven small island states in Port Moresby on Monday, ahead of this week's regional summit.
Climate change is expected to dominate talks in the lead-up to the UN's major climate change conference in Paris at the end of the year.
Mr Remengesau says the region needs to take a message to Paris that it can be proud of, one that will protect their environments and cultural heritage.
He says the small island states may be perceived as small, but they are in fact pioneers and trailblazers in restoring balance to the earth.
The Forum Secretary-General, Dame Meg Taylor, says the small island states need special attention as they grapple with the devastating impacts of climate change and natural disasters.
The leaders at the summit are also expected to discuss cervical cancer, human rights issues in Indonesia's West Papua and communications technology.