TARAWA, Kiribati — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday vowed to the leader of Kiribati, a low-lying Pacific nation threatened by rising seas, to keep pressing for “real results” against climate change.
Ban described the small Pacific nation, where some villagers have already had to relocate to escape rising sea levels, as standing on “the frontlines” of the global warming debate.
“I will bring your concerns back to the world, to the United Nations General Assembly (this month) and to the climate change negotiations in Durban later this year,” he told an audience including Kiribati President Anote Tong.
“I will keep pressing for progress until we get real results,” the UN chief said on a visit to the tiny nation.
The November 28-December 9 Durban climate summit aims to kickstart talks on how to address the issue of global warming, before the binding emissions targets of the Kyoto Protocol expire next year.
However, a range of powers including the United States and European Union have already said it will not result in a binding deal on carbon emissions.
The Kiribati leader applauded Ban for his political commitment, but remained pessimistic after past climate summits which have dashed the hopes of low-lying nations such as his own.
“It is most unfortunate, but perhaps correct, to say that any further significant progress on climate change negotiations is highly unlikely in the near future,” Tong said.
Ban headed from Kiribati to New Zealand later Monday to attend the Pacific Islands Forum, a summit of 16 regional nations beginning Tuesday where climate change is expected to dominate the agenda.