Simon Kofe, Tuvalu Minister for Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs, joined a virtual Reuters IMPACT Newsmaker session last week to discuss the impacts of climate change and geopolitics on the Pacific state. During the conversation with Reuters Senior Correspondent Lucy Craymer, Kofe urged for collaboration to address global issues like climate change and the need for China and the U.S. to be involved.
“If we’re truly serious about world peace, and we’re really serious about addressing climate change, then there really [are] no good guys and bad guys … We need China on board. We need the United States on board,” said Kofe.
Tuvalu, a nation of 12,000 people made up of low-lying atolls in the Pacific Ocean, is vulnerable to rising sea levels and at risk of being fully submerged. Kofe grabbed global attention when he addressed the COP26 global climate conference in 2021 by standing ankle-deep in the sea to illustrate the realities Tuvalu faces with climate change.
Kofe told Reuters of Tuvalu’s “moral obligation” to warn the world from the front line. Climate change has put the country in the spotlight, and Kofe said it must use the platform to share its message urging climate action globally, not just to decision-makers but to the public. “There is greater power when people, the public, are fully informed of these issues, and it is the public who put pressure on their leaders,” he said.
Kofe also spoke about the importance of regional collaboration and maintaining solidarity as a “Pacific Ocean continent”. While respecting country sovereignty to make decisions that affect themselves, he encouraged countries to consider the well-being of the entire region and to remain mindful of risks that decisions may introduce to the region.
While Tuvalu is taking practical steps to secure its future and preparing for a worst-case scenario, Kofe remains hopeful and calls on nations to act, citing the country’s catchphrase: “‘If you save Tuvalu, you save the world.’… by saving Tuvalu, you are, in fact, securing the global community.”
Learn more about Reuters IMPACT, our global business summit to mobilize business to deliver on climate action, taking place October 3-4, 2022 in London, UK.
Media contact: jj.minder @ tr.com