Tuvalu at the United Nations

United Nations High Level Meeting on Climate Change

Tuvalu calls for Climate Change Polluters to Pay

New York, 29 Sept 2007. The Deputy Prime Minister of Tuvalu, the Hon Tavau Teii said that major greenhouse polluters should pay Tuvalu for the impacts of climate change. This claim was made during his speech to the United Nations High Level Meeting on Climate Change held at the UN headquarters in New York.

“Tuvalu is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change so we are seeking new funding arrangements to protect us from the impacts of climate change,” Mr Teii said. “Rather than relying on aid money we believe that the major greenhouse polluters should pay for the impacts they are causing.”

“According to recent reports, funding to assist countries adapt to the impacts of climate change will cost in the region of US$80 billion per year. This cannot be met by aid budgets it must be new funding based on the polluter pays principle,” said Mr Teii.

In his speech to the United Nations he suggested that new funding to assist vulnerable countries, like Tuvalu, could come from a levy placed on all airline airfares and maritime freight charges.

[Editors note: Current greenhouse gas emissions from aviation and maritime transport are not covered by the Kyoto Protocol. A small levy on airfare and maritime freight charges is unlikely to reduce emissions but it may provide the necessary funds to assist vulnerable countries meet the costs of adapting to the impacts of climate change.]

The Deputy Prime Minister of Tuvalu also suggested establishing an international insurance mechanism to provide relief for countries and communities affected by the impacts of climate change.

“We need an internationally sourced pool of funds to help the most vulnerable countries recover from climate change impacts. As we are not able to afford insurance ourselves, an International Climate Insurance Pool needs to be established”, Mr Teii said.

The Deputy Prime Minister also expressed his disappointment with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and its approach to adaptation funding. Based on his country’s experience with the GEF he said that if the Kyoto Protocol’s Adaptation Fund was managed by the GEF, the most in need of adaptation funding would be the least likely to receive funds. This is due to the numerous procedural problems with the GEF.(1)

The Deputy Prime Minister suggested that the United Nations Development Programme would be better suited to manage adaptation funds. They are already administering funds under the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and a link with funding for climate change impacts would be very logical.

The Deputy Prime Minister also called for the establishment of a new International Strategy on Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change. He suggested that Ministers who attend the climate change conference in Bali in December should agree to start work on developing this new strategy.

For further information contact:
Ambassador Afelee Pita
Permanent Mission of Tuvalu to the United Nations
Tel: 1 212-490 0534


(1) Countries are likely to decide at the Bali climate change conference in December (the Thirteenth Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, whether the GEF should or should not administer the Adaptation Fund established by the Kyoto Protocol. Countries are divided over their support for the GEF.


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