Video Producer: Mayank Chawla
Video Editor: Sandeep Suman
On 9 November, standing knee-deep in seawater, Simon Kofe, the foreign minister of Tuvalu, delivered a powerful message at the United Nations (UN) COP26 climate summit. The island nation of Tuvalu is located halfway between Hawaii and Australia.
More than what he said, the minister’s speech was more memorable for how he delivered the message.
‘Cannot Deliver Speeches When Sea Is Rising’
The Tuvalu foreign minister said that we were living the realities of climate change and, the sea level was rising as we stood watching him speak.
“We cannot wait for the speeches when the sea is rising around us all the time. Climate mobility must come to the forefront. We must take bold alternative action today to secure tomorrow,” he added.
The foreign minister emphasised the low-lying island nation’s vulnerability to rising sea levels.
He also highlighted how the island nation has been negatively impacted by climate change and face the threat of disappearing completely if sea levels continue to rise.
‘We Are Sinking, But So Is Everyone Else’
Tuvalu is home to 11,000 people and, the island nation has been witnessing a rise in sea level by 0.5 cm every year since 1993, according to a 2011 Australian government report. The foreign minister chose to film his video from a coastal region that was once a dry land.
"Climate change and sea-level rise are deadly and existential threats to Tuvalu and low-lying atoll countries. We are sinking, but so is everyone else. And no matter if we feel the impacts today like in Tuvalu or 100 years, we will all still feel the dire effects of this global crisis one day."Simon Kofe, Tuvalu Foreign Minister