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Current Affairs

Unique gesture by Tuvalu’s foreign minister

Date: 12 November 2021 Tags: Climate Change

Issue

The foreign minister of Tuvalu gave a powerful speech during the COP 26 summit by standing in knee-deep sea water.

 

Background

Tuvalu is a tiny Pacific island nation located between Australia and Hawaii. The gesture seemed to highlight the plight of tiny island nations.

 

Details

The foreign minister said that tiny island nations were most vulnerable to climate change and sea water level rise.

 

Reasons for the gesture

  • The aim of the gesture was to highlight the negative effects of climate change that is threatening his nation.

  • Tuvalu, being an island country, faces extreme threat of submerging under water if immediate actions are not taken to prevent sea level rise.

 

Impact of climate change on Tuvalu

  • Since 1993, the island nation is witnessing rise in sea level by 0.5 cm every year. Currently, the population of the country is 11,000.

  • The place where the video was filmed was once a dry land. It is now submerged due to sea erosion and rise in sea levels.

  • The citizens are contemplating relocating in case the island gets completely submerged in future. It however wants itself to be recognised as a state.

 

Effects on other island nations

  • A World Bank report says that many small nations such as Marshall islands could lose the status as a nation if sea levels continue to rise at this rate.

  • Many countries such as Maldives, Antigua and Barbuda, Fiji, and Dominica are some of the countries that have repeatedly highlighted threats faced by them as a result of climate change.

 

Definition of state

  • It is based on four main criteria such as a permanent population, a defined territory, a government and the capacity to enter into relations with other states.

  • If rising sea levels submerge islands completely, they are likely to lose their independent status of statehood.