Atoll nations declare their rights to remain in their islands
I will not leave the lands of my ancestors! I will not abandon my motherland! I refuse to leave the only place I call home!”
These were the words of 21-year-old youth and future leader of Kiribati, Ms. Tabitha Awerika, at a side event organised by the Coalition of Atoll Nations on Climate Change (CAN-CC), on the sidelines of the Twenty-fifth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP25).
Awerika shared her experiences about the challenges and uncertainties faced by youth in low-lying atoll nations in the Pacific such as Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands and Tuvalu, as well as the Maldives, who are all members of the CAN-CC.
She asked world leaders to listen to the science, as well as the cries and pleas of those living in Pacific small island states who are at the front-lines of climate change and have continued with a business-as-usual approach.
“You may have heard this cry before, but I must con