13 December 2009

Video: Tuvalu at Copenhagen: 'The Fate Of My Country Rests In Your Hands'

12/12/09: Ian Fry, Tuvalu delegate to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, makes a plea for a legally binding agreement on climate change. Fry noted that it is “an irony of the modern world that the fate of the world is being determined by some senators in the US Congress”.
The Video is here:

The transcript is here:
The entire population of Tuvalu lives below two meters above sea level. The highest point above sea level in the entire nation of Tuvalu is only four meters.

Madam President, we are not naive to the circumstances and the political considerations that are before us. It appears that we are waiting for some senators in the US Congress to conclude before we can consider this issue properly. It is an irony of the modern world that the fate of the world is being determined by some senators in the U.S. Congress.

We note that President Obama recently went to Norway to pick up a Nobel Prize, rightly or wrongly. But we can suggest that for him to honor this Nobel Prize, he should address the greatest threat to humanity that we have before us, climate change, and the greatest threat to security, climate change. So I make a strong plea that we give proper consideration to a conclusion at this meeting that leads to two legally binding agreements.

Madame President, this is not just an issue of Tuvalu. Pacific island countries — Kiribas, Marshall Islands, Maldives, Haiti, Bahamas, Grenada — Sao Tome in West Africa and all the LDCs: Bhutan, Laos, Mali, Senegal, Timor-Leste — and millions of other people around this world are affected enormously by climate change.

This is not just Tuvalu.

Over the last few days I’ve received calls from all over the world, offering faith and hope that we can come to a meaningful conclusion on this issue. Madame President, this is not a ego trip for me. I have refused to undertake media interviews, because I don’t think this is just an issue of an ego trip
for me. I am just merely a humble and insignificant employee of the environment department of the government of Tuvalu. As a humble servant of the government of Tuvalu, I have to make a strong plea to you that we consider this matter properly. I don’t want to cause embarrassment to you or the government. But I want to have this issue to be considered properly.

I clearly want to have the leaders put before them an option for considering a legally binding treaty to sign on at this meeting. I make this a strong and impassioned plea. We’ve had our proposal on the table for six months. Six months, it’s not the last two days of this meeting. I woke this morning, and I was crying, and that’s not easy for a grown man to admit. The fate of my country rests in your hands.