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Christopher J. Loeak, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, addressed the general debate of the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly, in New York, on September 26, 2013. The following is a submitted statement of his speech:
Mr. Secretary-General, President of the General Assembly, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,It is my honor to convey to you the warm greetings of Yokwe from the government and people
of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Every September, world leaders take the stage of the UN General Assembly to broadcast our
common concerns. But I am concerned that this poetic ritual too often buries the true degree of necessary political will.
During a courtesy call by US Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell on Friday, September 6, 2013, President Loeak conveyed greetings of “Iokwe” and a warm welcome to Secretary Jewell, on behalf of the people and Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. He described Secretary Jewell’s visit to Majuro as a very important one, not only for all Pacific Islands Forum members, but especially the Marshall Islands, given our historical relationship. Secretary Jewell’s visit to the Republic of the Marshall Islands was her first international trip after she became the newly appointed Secretary of Interior in April.
On September 5, 2013, the Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) adopted the Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership. According to the Majuro Declaration website,“the Declaration captures the Pacific’s political commitment to be a region of Climate Leaders, and to spark a “new wave of climate leadership” that can deliver a safe climate future for all.”
MAJURO DECLARATION FOR CLIMATE LEADERSHIP
1. Climate change has arrived. It is the greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific and one of the greatest challenges for the entire world.
FORTY-FOURTH PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM
MAJURO, REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS
3 – 5 SEPTEMBER 2013
PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SECRETARIAT
The Forty-Fourth Pacific Islands Forum was held in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands, from 3 – 5 September 2013 and was attended by Heads of State and Government of the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu.
The Director for the Secretariat of the Pacific Community's (SPC) North Regional office based in Pohnpei, Mr. Gerald Zackios, is back on island making his round of calls and meeting with Government heads. He will be accompanying the SPC Director General to this week's 44th Pacific Islands Forum meeting on Majuro.
Final preparations are underway for the 44th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders’ meeting, to be held in Majuro, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), from September 3 to 6.
As usual, this year’s Forum meeting will bring together the Leaders of the Pacific Island countries, Australia and New Zealand. The PIF members will be joined by delegations from their 13 Post-Forum Dialogue Partners, including the United States, China, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea and India, as well as the EU and Member states France, Italy and the United Kingdom. After its recent “pivot to the Pacific”, it is anticipated that Secretary of State John Kerry will lead the US delegation.
New Website: www.majurodeclaration.org
President Christopher J. Loeak called last week for national unity in the Republic of the Marshall Islands - the need to forge strong partnerships and working together to find solutions to the pressing issues facing the country. Addressing the nation during the Nitijela (Parliament) 34th Constitutional 2nd session’s opening ceremony, the President said that the global financial crisis has affected investments and economic development. These have been exacerbated by the recent natural disasters. The Government, however, continues to provide its mandated services to the people of the Republic.
Minister Tony de Brum, Minister-in-Assistance to the Republic of the Marshall Islands President, is due to depart Majuro this weekend for a five-day visit to Australia to raise the profile and explain RMI's vision for the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders' meeting, including RMI's proposal for a “Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership.”
President Christopher J. Loeak was in Palau for the 13th Micronesian Presidents' Summit (MPS) held 10-12 July in Koror, Palau. He joined the Federated States of Micronesia President Emanuel Mori and the host of this year's MPS, Republic of Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. The Micronesian Presidents Summit concluded with the signing of the Ernguul (Old name for Koror) Communiqué.
As President Obama rose to the podium to announce his long-awaited ‘Climate Action Plan’ on Tuesday, a king tide again brought the devastating reality of climate change to the people of the Marshall Islands (RMI).
With emergency teams still scrambling to deliver water and food to RMI’s drought-stricken northern atolls, the capital Majuro was struck by heaving waves that breached the city’s sea walls, flooding the airport and other major areas of the atoll nation’s major population center.
On June 25, 3013, extremely high tides combined with 6 to 8 feet surfs caused coastal inundation of up to 2 feet along the south facing shores of Majuro. Meteorologist-in-Charge Reginald White submitted the following report:
During the highest tide (around 6:00 a.m. ) the sea began to inundate the southeast to the southwest parts of Majuro. The saltwater breached the coastal roadways and littered them with debris.
In response to high tides in the Marshall Islands, the following public service announcement was broadcast on the national radio station, V7AB:
Iakwe kom. Jej kio kabononoik regular program kein im bokwaj non kom juon special weather statement jen jikin katu eo ad ilo aelon kein...“Report ko rej kwalok bwe emaron iuwe dren ilo berijet ko ilo jet ian aelon ko ilo aelon kein iloan ran jet kein maanlok.
In a letter to United States President Barack Obama, Republic of the Marshall Islands President Christopher J. Loeak expressed appreciation and heartfelt gratitude to President Obama, on behalf of the people and Government of the RMI, for declaring a State of Disaster for the Marshall Islands due to the ongoing severe drought in the northern atolls and islands.
The Independent Diplomat has appointed Dr. Mahendra Kumar, as Climate Diplomacy Advisor, to assist the RMI with efforts in its “New Climate Diplomacy” strategy, aimed at mainstreaming climate change into its foreign policy. Dr. Kumar is currently working at the Office of the President and will assist the Office of the President, relevant Ministers and senior Government officials with preparations for RMI’s hosting of the 2013 Pacific Islands Forum Summit, in particular aspects relating to climate change, energy and sustainable development.
During a presentation of credential ceremony at the Cabinet conference room Thursday, President Christopher J. Loeak accepted the Letter of Credence of French Ambassador Gilles Garachon. The special ceremony was witnessed by members of the Cabinet, government officials, and the Honorary Consul of France.
The Marshall Islands state of emergency declared last month was elevated to a state of disaster last week as prolonged and severe drought affecting the northern islands continues unabated, putting lives at risk.
On Monday, May 6, 2013, the Cabinet declared the Northern Marshall Islands as disaster areas on the recommendation of the Disaster Committee and after receiving reports from assessment teams who surveyed the conditions on the ground caused by several months of severe drought.
Severe drought conditions in the northern islands/atolls of the Republic of the Marshall Islands has prompted the Government to issue a State of Emergency. After relevant action plans were formalized, President Christopher J. Loeak signed the declaration on April 19, 2013, for the immediate mobilization of people and resources to mitigate the impact of drought in the affected islands/atolls.
RMI President Christopher J. Loeak left Majuro today for his first state visit to Republic of China (Taiwan) since he assumed the Marshall Islands’ Presidency in January of last year. The President, First Lady Lieom Anono Loeak, and delegation are visiting Taiwan March 26-30 at invitation of ROC President Ma Ying-jeou. They are accompanied by ROC (Taiwan) Ambassador to the RMI, Ambassador George T.K. Li.
To mark International Women’s Day, a ceremonial program was organized by The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the International Women’s Day coordinating committee at Delap Park on Saturday, March 9, 2013. First Lady Lieom Anono Loeak delivered the keynote address, expressing felicitation to women for their dedicated services towards society and for preserving and encouraging cultural heritage and custom.
Republic of the Marshall Islands President Christopher J. Loeak yesterday signed a Proclamation that declares March 8 of every year as Women’s Day in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, in recognition of the many achievements and contributions made by Marshallese women to the country’s nation building and other aspects of the Republic’s continued growth.
During a credential ceremony held February 19, at the Cabinet Conference Room, President Christopher J. Loeak accepted the Letter of Credence and welcomed Republic of India Ambassador Amit Dasgupta to the Republic of the Marshall Islands and to his new post as India Ambassador to the Republic of the Marshall Islands.