Estonian UN Security Council campaign delegation visited the Republic of Kiribati on 15-18 November. Kiribati is a United Nations member state in Micronesia; being a member of the UN since 1999, it is the only member state, which to date has not joined any UN regional group. The land territory of Kiribati consists of 33 atolls on both sides of the equator. Estonia has diplomatic relations with Kiribati since 2014.
The Estonian delegation, headed by Ambassador Margus Kolga, had meetings in Tarawa in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Communications, Transport and Tourism Development with the aim of introducing Estonia’s activities in the United Nations, our key campaign messages and approach to climate change. According to the Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Matea Nauto, the main security issue for Kiribati, similarly to the other small island states, is related to the consequences of climate change. If the islands of the Caribbean are mostly threatened by more destructive and more frequent hurricanes, the main concern of the Pacific island states are the rising sea levels, which already now are causing serious flooding in some of the traditional habitats during high tide. The changed behaviour of nature creates new tensions and puts pressure on the countries’ economy, affecting consequently people’s welfare and livelihood. Therefore Kiribati wishes that the preventive and mitigating actions, undertaken in the United Nations framework and targeting global security threats, would also take into consideration climate change and its consequences.
At the meeting with the ICT Director of the Ministry of Communications, Information, Transport and Tourism Development, Mr. Wayne Reihe the focus was on the development of bilateral relations. Estonian e-Governance Academy is already active in the region and implementing a project jointly with Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), the aim of which is to advise the small island developing states on the development of e-government and e-services and designing roadmaps for that. Kiribati has also joined the project, hoping to give impetus to national e government development. Estonian delegation expressed readiness to support Kiribati and stressed the longer-term perspective of this cooperation.
From Tarawa the Estonian delegation travelled to Indonesian capital Jakarta, where meetings were planned with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chairman of the Foreign and Security Policy Committee of the Parliament.