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Catching the last wave with Anote Tong

The former President of Kiribati enlightens us on the unique security challenges related to climate change in the Pacific

In this episode of Catching the last wave, we’ll have the chance to hear from a guest who needs no introduction: Anote Tong, a world-renowned leader in the battle against climate change.

Tong served as President of Kiribati from 2003 to 2016. Since leaving office, he has continued to speak about the realities of climate change, including the urgency of the issues, the complexity of the causes, as well as possible solutions.

For over 20 years, Tong has been at the forefront of raising global awareness about catastrophic risks caused by climate change, especially drawing attention to the human dimension by highlighting the existential threat faced by his people and those of other vulnerable countries on the frontline of climate change. He is responsible for a number of initiatives to combat climate change and protect the environment, such as calling for a global moratorium on using coal in 2015, as well as overseeing the creation of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, one of the world’s largest marine conservation areas that has also been recorded on the UNESCO World Heritage List. As part of his global advocacy on climate change, Tong has met with various world leaders to discuss the plight of small island states, including Pope Francis and former US President Barack Obama.

Tong has been awarded a number of environmental prizes for his work, including the 2015 Sunhak Peace Prize, the Leadership Award from the Hillary Institute of International Leadership, and the Peter Benchley Ocean Award in 2012.

He is now a member of the Pacific Elders’ Voice, an independent group of prominent leaders dedicated to serving the Pacific’s current and future challenges and opportunities.

In this episode, Tong enlightens us on the unique security challenges related to climate change in the Pacific, including loss and damage and climate-induced migration.

This podcast was originally published at UNDP on 27 September 2022.

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