금요일, 7월 24, 2015

[Hankyoreh] Climate change, those of us on the frontline can survive?

Kiribati is located on the vicinity of the equator and the population is more than 105,000. It is considered very vulnerable to rising sea-levels because it consists of small islands with an average altitude above sea level of 2m. President of Kiribati Anote Tong has led the country since 2003. He has been speaking out the expected threat of his country people should leave their land by 2050 and sough for action by the international communities. President Anote Tong has been consecutively nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Last month, Indian biologist Dr. Modadugu V. Gupta and Pres. Tong have been selected the first dual laureates of the Sunhak Peace Prize through recognition of their sacrifices for peace. I met President Anote Tong in Kiribati with the Sunhak Peace Prize Committee and heard his thoughts on climate change. The interview took place at President Tong’s private house 10 minutes away from the office of the President in the capital Tarawa.

[Interview with President of Kiribati Anote Tong]

- I heard that Kiribati stands at the forefront of global climate change. What kind of practical effects have surfaced?
“Villages are disappearing due to coastal erosion and the seawater has contaminated the freshwater and destroyed the crops. Earlier this year in March, we had the cyclone Pam which hit Vanuatu. Kiribati has never been subject to cyclones. We are on the hurricane-free belt on the equator so we should not be seeing these events. So these things are happening more frequently and it’s an experience totally new to us.

- Please explain the current efforts and future plans of the Kiribati government and its citizens in response to the climate change situation.
“We are hoping that the international community will assist in building our resilience so that after what arises, we will be able to continue to survive on these islands. But at the same time, we’ve got to be realistic that it is very highly unlikely that the international community will come up with the level of resources that would be required to raise all the islands. So whilst we are committed to ensuring that our islands, in one way or another does not disappear, that we remain as a nation, a viable nation in the future in whatever form, we have to accept the reality that some of our people would also have to be prepared for migration. We cannot build our resilience on our own, because we do not have the resources. If the international community does not come forward, then we are talking about our entire population having to relocate.”

- I think that is why you are preparing the ‘immigration with dignity.’ So please explain what the ‘immigration with dignity’ is and what some of the challenges in preparing for it are.
“What I don’t want is for our people to become climate refugees. I reject the notion of refugees. It’s degrading and undignified. It is not because we have mismanaged our economies, our politics. We would have lost our homes, but we do not want to lose our dignity as well. We would prepare our people to migrate as trained and skilled people, people who when they migrate to whatever community they do, they will come in as citizens with skills, worthwhile citizens who will make a contribution to the community they are coming to. They will not be a burden to whichever society they decide to go to. They will go as dignified people. Not as second-class citizens in the countries they go to looking for special consideration.”

- How have you been using the purchased land in Fiji up until now? And what are your future plans for this land?
“The way I've been explaining about the land is that it is an investment. It’s an investment in establishing some degree of food security in the future. I’m often asked by many journalists, “so you’re going to relocate your people to Fiji?” and my answer has always been no. Why I say that is because I am fully appreciative of the political sensitivities with this large number of people migrating to one area. Somebody else might make that decision in the future. The Fiji government has expressed their willingness to accommodate our people if and when it becomes necessary. And this is the kind of humanity that I’ve been challenging the international community to come up with.

- Is there any technological solution such as the method to elevate the islands that will allow the people to continue to live on the islands of Kiribati despite the rising sea-levels?
“I have no doubt that the solutions are there. In fact, I’ve asked the Korean government to assist on this and we’ve had technical people come to visit to do assessment. But we cannot do it on our own; we do not have the capacity to do it. We need supports from the international community. Kiribati needs a special approach because our problem is very urgent and serious. Otherwise, we have no other choice except to migrate.”

- What is the future of Kiribati as a sovereign state? Please share your opinion.
“I can assure you that we have made a commitment that we will continue to have a nation, in whatever form, in whatever scale. If it’s just a piece of land, it’s important that we have this. It may not be able to accommodate everybody. But it’s got to be able to provide somewhere to be pointed to and say “that is our country.” And we will do whatever it takes to maintain our sovereignty over the seas that are part of our Exclusive Economic Zone because there are huge resources there. So yes, we will continue to exist as a nation.”

- Do you believe that the global community will emerge victorious in the war against climate change eventually?
“The entire destruction of the planet is not an acceptable option. So we have to win this war, but the question is those people who have the ability to make the most significant impact, are they going to be willing to sacrifice their welfare and luxuries, in order for those of us on the frontline can survive?”

- How would you evaluate the UN in the international community’s response to climate change thus far?
Well up until now the rate of progress under the negotiations have been very disappointing. We don’t have to think of it from a national perspective. We have to regard ourselves as global citizens with a single planet, a single home. But if we continue to talk about our GDP, what will happen if we agree to do this. What will happen to our GDP? These are unfortunately what guide much of the discussions. No matter what level of greenhouse gases are agreed in Paris, no matter what Celsius degree we agree for the temperature rise, it will not make a difference to us. What I’ve been asking is that we need special progression for that. Don’t say that it is too late for you. No, that is not acceptable.

- Out of the 196 nations in the climatic change convention, the Republic of Korea is a nation with the 7th highest output of carbon dioxide emissions. In the quantity of its green-house gas and the emissions per capita is greater than twice the global average. Is there anything you’d like to say or request to the Korean citizens?
“Climate change is not entirely about its impact on the environment. We’ve gone past that. Now it’s about survival of nations like mine and other nations that are very vulnerable on the front-line. The issue here is the corporations are thinking in terms of their profit and loss statement and they are not thinking about people. But I understand we have very different circumstances. Korea is a country with extreme weather conditions. Very cold, you need energy in order to survive the winter and we don’t. We should be trying to do that rather than going ahead and doing things regardless of what its consequences are for the rest of humanity.”

[source: http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/society/environment/701187.html]

수요일, 7월 22, 2015

[Webtoons of the laureate of the Sunhak Peace Prize] The story of President Anote Tong

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[ABC Radio Australia] Kiribati president Anote Tong garners Sunhak Peace Prize for climate work

President Tong’s interview upon receiving the Sunhak Peace Prize

12 June, 2015 

Tong : It is exciting. Of course I have been nominated also from Australia I believe for the Nobel Peace Prize and so this came to me as a complete surprise. I am excited. I think it would add a lot of momentum to the advocacy and the campaign. The timing is very good. It comes before the meeting in Paris at the end of this year and the campaign that I have been on for more than twenty years now has been something that…it’s had its disappointments, but I think more recently, there have been more people getting engaged and for me that is quite a change from what it was. And so this award I think, I’ve received other awards that recognized the same thing and undoubtedly they’ve added a boost to the campaign.

MC : There is a $1 million US dollar prize attached to the award I understand. Now I presume that money will go straight back into the ongoing campaign.

Tong : I know that the campaign will be ongoing. I finish my term in office at the end of this year, most probably the beginning of next year. But I see the campaign as not ending there. I know that my colleagues in the region are also very much engaged, so I think yes, we will continue the campaign. Whatever resources and whatever support we can get, I think it’s important we need to continue to shape international thinking on the issue because there are still people who don’t believe that climate change is an issue that merits urgent attention. So I’m hoping very much that this award will come a long way towards making that emphasis.

MC : So what are your intensions when you come to the end of your period of office? Are you intending to become a full time climate change campaigner?

Tong : I’ve had 3 terms. That is of course the limit, 3 four-year terms. I will not be running for parliament. I don’t expect that I will do that, but after a good break, I can make a decision as to what to do next, but certainly climate change has always been and I believe will continue to be very much on my agenda.

MC : The positive news of course is that you have been recognized through the winning of this award, the Sunhak Peace Prize. But it comes at the same time as climate change talks have been taking place over there in Germany, in the city of Bahn. And the word we’ve been getting there is that they haven’t been entirely successful. What is your understanding, and are you satisfied with the outcome?

Tong : We don’t want to repeat the mistake that we made in Copenhagen in 2009. We all went with very high hopes of a very positive outcome. But I think the world is a lot more complicated. There are a lot of interests at play here. But I think the very fact that it was at the top of the agenda is in itself a very strong indication that it is being taken seriously. I know that there is a focus of attention. It is going to be difficult to get absolute agreement on the final detail. There are countries particularly in Europe that are giving it a lot of attention. There will always be some differences as to the extent to which countries collectively will wish to go. So I don’t think I am too disappointed.  I try not to be too optimistic. I’ve learned my lesson.

MC : You mentioned earlier being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Australia. Ironic, bearing in mind that perhaps Australia and Canada are seen as the arch-enemies at the moment in terms of the global battle against climate change.  

Tong : It’s a question of priority. I know that perhaps Australia does not regard the threat of climate change as the top of the agenda. And I can understand that. You’ve got places to go with the sea-level rises. But I think the question is more of a moral one. Do we have the moral conscience to understand that what we do will impact those on the other side of the world, or even close by. And that’s always been the way I’ve shaped my advocacy on climate change, the greatest moral challenge that humanity has ever faced. And I think the future of humanity and this planet will be determined by what we do. We’ve got to understand this, and if not our very future, then the future of other people’s children. And so do we have the moral conscience or go ahead and disregard those costs. That is the question that will judge us as human beings.

MC : The Paris Summit of course comes in December. It may very well be one of your last acts as president to be involved in those talks. So I assume you would want to go out on a high, and get a meaningful agreement.

Tong : I’ve been working at it for most of my Presidency for the last 12 years. I’ve been working on this from the end of last year until the beginning of this year, I’ve been visiting a number of capitals in Europe trying to get some support. I am very encouraged by what is coming forward. At the end of last year, of course we’ve had the support of the United States and China, which was something that has always been the missing part of the whole process. We needed these two to be part of this in order for it to be meaningful in many ways. And so that is an achievement. Of course I have also visited other parts of the world following that meeting. I have had the opportunity to meet the prime minister here, and he has promised me a commitment. He is planning to meet with the leaders again in the few weeks ahead. And so I am seeing positive signs. That perhaps we will come away with a more forthcoming agreement. And of course, the host, the President of France, has also met Pacific Leaders and he has made an undertaking that he will do everything in his power to see that we have a positive outcome.

화요일, 7월 21, 2015

[Introduction Video of the laureate of the Sunhak Peace Prize] Pioneer of the Blue Revolution Dr. Modadugu V. Gupta

Hello~ this is the Sunhak Peace Prize for future generations.

We’d like to show you a video introducing the achievements of Dr. Gupta the first laureate of the Sunhak Peace Prize.Dr. Gupta pioneered a new way never discovered before and gave people hope and love.

Shall we make our efforts for world peace following Dr. Gupta?