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President Obama’s meeting with island leaders

President Obama’s meeting with island leaders likely to change mood of negotiations on ‘sticky issues’. A meeting convened by United States President, Barack Obama with leaders of five small island developing states in the Pacific and Caribbean Tuesday is likely to change the mood on some of the sticky issues raised by these vulnerable nations.

One of the Pacific leaders present in the meeting, President Christopher Loeak of Marshall Islands has welcomed the personal concern of the US President on the effects of climate change in the five island nations – Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Barbados, St Lucia and Marshall Islands.

“In our meeting on the sidelines of the COP21, President Obama confirmed that he will stand with the island states as we enter the final stretch of negotiations on a new international climate agreement. We welcome his support in our hour of need.”

“As an island boy, he understands the unique challenges we face, said President Loeak.

The meeting, the Marshall Islands leader said was ‘a chance to talk, at a very personal level about how vulnerable we are to climate impacts, and that we all need to work together to tackle what is now the gravest risk to humanity.’

“This will require an Agreement that reflects the science, and keeps up political momentum by having countries back at the table every five years to I know, and everyone I love, is in the hands of all us gathered here in Paris”.

President Loeak, who has just been returned to Congress in the country’s national election, said coming to COP21 has been the most important trip of his life.

“I need to be able to return to my people and say that we joined a Paris Agreement that gives us hope and a pathway to survival, not one that signs our sovereignty away. After what President Obama said to me, I am more confident than ever before that we can secure the ambitious agreement we need, said President Loeak.

Key negotiating positions for Pacific Small Island Developing States at COP21 are: the capping of global temperature at 1.5 degrees, an international mechanism for loss and damage in the Paris Agreement and climate financing.

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