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Kiribati President supports Pope’s call for climate action

President Taneti Maamau  and Lady Maamau presenting a woven photo of Pope Francis at the Vatican. Photo: SUPPLIED

BONN, Germany – November 14: 6.12pm (KPM/Nuku’alofa Times): Kiribati’s President Taneti Maamau says he and his government supports the call by Pope Francis for world leaders to make bold decisions on climate action now.

He was part of the Pacific delegation of leaders who visited Pope Francis in Rome, Italy to discuss ways to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement on cutting carbon emissions and helping to prevent global warming.

President Taneti Maamau with officials in Italy. Photo: SUPPLIED

President Taneti Maamau with officials in Italy. Photo: SUPPLIED

While presenting his gift of a designed woven mat picturing the image of the Holy See, President Taneti talked to the Vatican Radio and explained further about the real problems of Climate Change currently affecting the livelihood of the people in Kiribati, especially in coastal erosions and sea water intrusions in land.

President Maamau reiterated people always wanted to stay in Kiribati and as a new Government, we supported the non-migration policy, building up capacity of our people to stay on the island and we did not believe that Kiribati would be sinking.

“We believe that we will have to maintain and preserve our islands with the help of our donor partners, we can do that so Kiribati will not get submerged from the adverse impact of Climate Change,” he said.

President Maamau also extended his word of thanks to Pope Francis for his letter which inspired and reminded leaders of the world that that they had the mandate and duty to regenerate and to find more environmental ways to managing the environment.

“The earth is our home, our motherland and we have to take care of it. That’s the divine mandate we were given, but sometimes, we are too greedy, hoping we can take everything in our hands to satisfy our needs. But sometimes we take too much and that’s causing trouble. My message to Pope Francis is, thank you for your holy and very inspirational reminder!” President Maamau said.

President Taneti also explained his administration’s long term vision for the next twenty years known as the Kiribati Vision 20 or KV20 was the Government’s response to combat the severe impact of Climate Change.

The KV20 would transform Kiribati into a more resilient, secure and prosperous nation and would accelerate development aspirations on a quantum leap basis to make Kiribati a brighter future for the next generations.

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