A.D.B. President pushes climate change message

The Asian Development Bank (A.D.B.) President Takehiko Nakao has advocated for urgent action to help the Pacific Islands and the immediate threat of climate change to its peoples.

For the first time, the international finance institution chose to hold its Annual Meeting for thousands of delegates in the Pacific region, and President Nakao used the opportunity to speak of the bank’s ongoing commitment to adaptation and mitigation against the effects of climate change.

Speaking to the media in his first press conference at the venue of the annual conference in Fiji, the President spoke of both the challenges and opportunities that small island countries face.

“As you can tell we are surrounded by the beautiful ocean, but there are many challenges for these small island countries, especially in light of climate change, which is becoming more clear, with sea level rise and more frequent extreme weather events,” he said, championing the increased internet connectivity in the region.

“We should pay attention to the special needs of these countries as we allocate larger amounts of concessional support to smaller economies.”

With the A.D.B. continuing to commit millions towards fighting the effects of climate change, with funds newly dedicated to the oceans, to disaster resilience, and renewable energy this week, the bank wants the international community to step up as well.

“This is a good moment to see the challenges and the opportunities of Pacific island countries, how climate change is affecting these countries and how international community, including the A.D.B. can support these countries.”

President Nakao said he has seen how internationally, there has been recognition of the need to help small island nations adapt to climate change, and that it must be done collectively.

Ports, roads and other infrastructure needs to be able to withstand the rapidly increasing sea levels, among other dangerous effects of climate change.

“It is so important that countries, including big Asian countries and other emitters recognise this and adhere to the values of the Paris Agreement.

“The U.S. said it would go away from the agreement but at a state level they are still making efforts.”

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