This article of David Kabua, President of the Marshall Islands, was first published on Guardian
Now is a time for courage. It will take sacrifices from everyone for us all to survive, the president of the Marshall Islands writes.
My country joined the United Nations nearly 30 years ago, in September 1991. But unless my fellow member states take action, we may also be forced from it: the first country to see our land swept away by climate change.
As the UN general assembly meets in New York, celebrating the 75th anniversary of its formation, we must ask: how many of the 193 nations that it brings together will survive to reach its centenary?
Once, the Marshallese travelled between atolls on canoes. Night after night on the open water, a watchman stayed alert to warn of oncoming danger.
Today, we are the world’s watchman.
Climate change is here. Countries on the frontline like mine are already planning how we can adapt to survive, and know that we cannot do so unless the developed world lives up to the commitments of the Paris agreement and provides us with the support we need.
This pandemic is a reminder of how connected we are. At the beginning of Covid-19’s spread, we closed our borders early, and through this urgent action we have avoided any cases of this virus.
But isolation comes at great cost.