Peace, security and climate change
Ambassador of Netherlands
Remarks at credentials presentation
I have the honour and privilege to present to You the Letter of Credence addressed to Your Highness by His Majesty King Willem Alexander, accrediting me as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Independent State of Samoa.
His Majesty has instructed me to convey to You His good wishes for the country and people of Samoa. I also present to Your Highness the Letter of Recall of my predecessor, Ambassador Rob Zaagman.
I consider myself fortunate and privileged to serve as Ambassador to Your beautiful and friendly country.
The ties between our two nations date back to the year 1722 when Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen was the first European to set eye on the islands during his Pacific travels.
Jacob Roggeveen was much impressed at seeing Samoan fishermen in their canoes far out at sea and referred to them admiringly as “Navigators”.
The sea has always been a defining factor in the history and culture of our nations. Today, the sea is as important as it was then, be it in a different way. Both our countries are vulnerable to the rising sea levels caused by climate change.
Almost half my country lies below sea level. It is the territory where more than half of the Dutch population lives and most of the crucial economic activity and infrastructure is located.
Apart from the European territory at the North Sea, the Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of three Small Island Developing States: Curacao, St. Maarten and Aruba.
Shared challenges and shared experiences mean that the Kingdom of the Netherlands feels a bond with Samoa.
Climate change requires an urgent response as was also highlighted by the most recent report of the International Panel on Climate Change.
The Government of Samoa is a leader in this respect and an active advocate in international meetings on Climate Change such as in the COP meetings and SIDS meetings in the Pacific and elsewhere.
With the strong support of your country, for which I would like to thank you again, the Kingdom of the Netherlands was elected as member of the UN Security Council.
We try to act as a voice for SIDS, raising global awareness of the climate- and water-related security risks.
We have especially focused on this as a non-permanent elected member of the UN Security Council in 2018.
Preventing conflicts is much more (cost-)effective than resolving them. For this reason, tackling the root causes of conflict and addressing threat multipliers of instability during and beyond our year in the Security Council is our priority.
As part of this effort, we continue to actively call for greater awareness of climate-related security risks in the UN Security Council. To this end, the agenda has gained momentum.
The Netherlands believes that being prepared and building resilience to these challenges are major priorities that require us to work in durable partnerships at different levels.
In addition to our efforts as a member of the UN Security Council in 2018, the Netherlands is therefore supporting SIDS in building resilience and capacity in a variety of ways such as by providing expertise and blue diplomacy training including for Samoan officials.
The Netherlands and Samoa will continue to work side by side, at the bilateral as well as the multilateral level, in promoting issues that are of importance to our two nations, such as human rights, international peace and security, climate change and sustainable development.
To conclude, let me assure you that I shall do my utmost to further deepen and strengthen our relation during my tenure as Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Independent State of Samoa.