In its Charter, the Commonwealth highlights the necessity of protecting the environment and recognizing the needs of small and vulnerable states, especially because 32 Commonwealth Members are small states. Climate change and sea-level rise are now one of the most critical issues facing the global community.
A Secretary-General with firsthand experience with this looming threat is a tremendous benefit to global Commonwealth leadership, particularly regarding the needs of small states, which are disproportionately affected by climate change.
As Commonwealth Secretary-General, I would be the first representative from a Pacific Small Island Developing State (SIDS) to hold the position, and, given the daily existential threats climate change poses to Tuvalu, I am confident that there is no better voice to champion the needs of the Commonwealth’s small and vulnerable states, especially regarding environmental issues.
Tuvalu is recognized as standing at the forefront of the climate-change crisis and has always been a leader in calling for international action to stop the impacts of climate change.
Having experienced the effects of climate change and sea-level rise over the long term, I will serve as a poignant advocate on this issue for all Commonwealth Members. I will also champion strong Pacific messages on climate change in Commonwealth fora, particularly the 2019 Kainaki II Declaration for Urgent Climate Action Now and the 2021 Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders Ocean Statement.
With 54 Member States, we, as a Commonwealth family, can act now to stop the effects of climate change before we in the Pacific and our neighbors throughout the world experience its most dire impacts.
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