Committee to campaign for Nobel Peace Prize for Anote Tong | Pacific Beat

Committee to campaign for Nobel Peace Prize for Anote Tong

Committee to campaign for Nobel Peace Prize for Anote Tong

Updated 20 January 2014, 15:34 AEDT

A committee has been formed to campaign for Kiribati's President, Anote Tong, to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in raising global awareness on the threat posed by climate change.

The committee includes a former catholic archbishop of Papua New Guinea, a former Anglican bishop from New Zealand, and former Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser.

Presenter: Richard Ewart

Speaker: Phil Glendening, director, Edmund Rice Centre


GLENDENING: If you look at what perhaps the greatest threat that we're going to face over the course of this century to peace and security internationally across the globe will be the threat that's posed by climate change. Therefore, if you look around the world to say who is leading the charge, if you like, to bring the attention to the world that that that threat to peace and security, well there's no one more eloquent, articulate and able than the President Anote Tong, who is a really cross the world internationally, not just in the Pacific, but across the world, has been able to focus the world's attention on the needs that this threat poses.
EWART: But in essence, am I right in thinking that what this campaign is about is certainly recognising the efforts of President Tong, but at the same time, more importantly, further raising global awareness about the issue. He would really be the figure head, if you like, if he were to win this award?
GLENDENING: Oh, of course, and then to have given awards, international awards have gone to other environmental protectors, if you like, and the former vice-president, Al Gore, jumps to mind immediately. But certainly, the aim of the exercise, if you like, is of course, to hope that the President would be able to achieve the prize, but also to support his vision to bring to the world's attention that any of countries like Kiribati and then Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands and other places around the globe that are fundamentally have they're very future threatened by this reality.
EWART: So how as a Committee do you go about convincing the judges, the Nobel judges, that Anote Tong is the right man to be awarded the Peace Prize. In practical terms, what will you be doing over the weeks and months ahead?
GLENDENING: Well, it's a campaign to put in front of people globally, including the people in Norway, the straight facts of the information. If you look at the work that President Tong has done over many years and international fora from the UN to the various COPS (Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC))  that have taken place, to his own AMBO Declaration, to his declaration of the Phoenix Islands as to be an evolving marine park, which is up to ten per cent of Kiribati's area on the globe. The facts really speak for themselves really and if you say who else in the world is doing quite, such a significant role and who else in the world has got such a platform to stand on is they're own nation's peace and security. And his message, of course, is global. It's not just about Kiribati. It's about the challenges this poses to the world. We might say Kiribati, if you like, is the thin line in the sand on climate change and we need people of vision, who are able to look down the track and say, yes, we have to do something about this and the world has to act and there is noone more eloquent than and articulate on that front than Anote Tong.
EWART: Now clearly, with the stated ambition of the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to President Tong. If you were to achieve that would be remarkable in itself. But I presume, between now and then, because of the nature of the campaign that even if he doesn't win the prize, the degree of awareness surely has to up. You have people involved in this Committee from Europe, from the United States, obviously from this region, from the Pacific and from Australia. So a lot of people are going to be hearing from a lot of your Committee members?
GLENDENING: That's right, because it is a global issue. It may well be that the Pacific are facing it first, and in facing, let's face it, with tremendous hope and expectation that the inevitable doesn't happen.
I mean the people of Kiribati and Tuvalu, and places like that, they want to live in Kiribati and Tuvalu, that's they're country. And so certainly, around the world, there will be people in this campaign making it very clear that what's starts in Kiribati, involves all of the globe, involves all of us. But something needs to be done there, of course, in the short term. But I've many times listened to President Tong present and speak in various parts of the world and I have to say that in terms of an international states person who is leading the way on this, that there's noone better than Anote Tong.

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