Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New York, NY (BBN) – United Nations chief announced on Tuesday that the United Nations and Samoa plan to establish an Inter-Agency Climate Change Centre to help coordinate support to Pacific Island countries to combat the impact of global warming in their region.

Given the direct impact of climate change on vulnerable States in the region, the new agency will focus its support on the mitigation, adaptation and reduction of the risk of disaster facing the Islands, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a message to the Pacific Islands Forum Summit meeting, held in Alofi, Niue.

“I am very heartened that the Pacific island countries are making their voices heard on the subject of climate change,” the UN chief said. “Climate change is not science fiction. As your countries know all too well, it is real and present.”

His statement was delivered by Noeleen Heyzer, the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), according to a UN press statement.

Several UN agencies already collaborate with the Pacific Island Forum assisting on a number of issues ranging from farming and fisheries to urbanization and disability.

Mr. Ban also expressed his condolences on the death last week of Greg Urwin, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, stating that “he inspired us all with his vision of a cohesive and prosperous Pacific region.”