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UN chief: Pacific island region on front lines of climate change

(Xinhua)

16:05, September 06, 2011

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said here on Tuesday that climate change is real and the Pacific island region is on the front lines of climate change.

Delivering speech at Auckland University, his first engagement in New Zealand, the UN chief said, "Climate change is not about tomorrow, it is lapping at our feet-quite literally in Kiribati and else where."

Ban Ki-moon just arrived Auckland from his visit to the tiny island nation of Kiribati and the Solomon Islands.

He came here to attend the 42nd Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting which opens Wednesday. He is the first UN Secretary General to attend the Pacific Islands Forum.

"For those who believed climate change is about some distant future, I invite them to visit Kiribati," he said. Kiribati is a low-lying and impoverished state north east of Fiji.

The UN chief also praised New Zealand's efforts in supporting sustainable and renewable energy.

He said the ocean economy is a lifeline for this region. But with waves rising ever higher in this neighborhood, the oceans are also sending a signal that something is seriously wrong with current model of economic development.

"We will not succeed in reducing emissions without sustainable energy solutions," he added.

The UN chief wanted climate change solutions that were fair for all.

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