Estonian UN Security Council campaign has continued with a visit to the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, where an Estonian delegation travelled mid-November. The delegation planned to visit Tuvalu, Kiribati, Indonesia and Cambodia, and introduce Estonia’s key campaign messages to the senior leadership of those countries as well as explore possibilities for bilateral and regional cooperation. The head of the delegation is Ambassador Margus Kolga, Special Diplomatic Representative of the President, accompanied by Ms. Mari Tomingas from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Tuvalu, the first country the delegation visited, is one of the smallest countries in the world located on eight islands in the Pacific Ocean.
In capital Funafuti Ambassador Kolga met with Prime Minister Mr. Enele Sopoaga, Speaker of the Parliament Mr. Otinielu Tausi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mr. Maatia Toafa, Foreign Minister Taukelina Finikaso, Chief Executive Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr. Fakave Taomia, and Secretary to Government Mr. Tine Leuelu.
At all meetings, global security issues and United Nations action to solve these problems were discussed, in addition to the campaign. For Tuvalu, the main security issue are the changes to their traditional habitat caused by climate change. The islands, which reach only as high as three meters above sea level, are worried about the rise of sea level. Already now, the annual floods are impacting people’s everyday life and high tide reaches the streets more often and for longer periods of time. In worst-case scenario, there is a chance that the habitable territory of the islands disappears and the population has to move away.
Tuvalu is in the process of revising its Constitution and at the time of the visit of the Estonian delegation, the National Committee for Constitutional Review was drawing its work to a close. One of the reasons for reviewing the Constitution is to take into consideration the threats and risks stemming from climate change and finding ways to mitigate those. The main issue is the fate of the island population, if the worst-case scenario of climate change were to come true.
In addition to the official consultations, the delegation had a chance to get acquainted with the traditional culture of Tuvalu, visit the Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute on Amatuku Islet, and participate in the singing and dancing festivities of local island communities.
From Tuvalu the delegation travelled to the Republic of Kiribati.