Minister responsible for defending small island states

Associate Foreign Minister Aupito William Sio has been named Aotearoa New Zealand’s United Nations and Commonwealth Advocacy Champion for Small Island States.

“Aotearoa New Zealand, as a Pacific nation, is particularly focused on the interests of Pacific Small Island Developing States in our region.

“This is a mission to get the global community to support these states and build their resilience, especially around the pressing issue of climate change.

“I want to see an ambitious and effective global response to climate change; and for development partners and creditors to work more closely with small states to identify solutions to their access to finance, climate finance and debt sustainability issues.

“If you ask Pacific leaders what is the greatest security and economic threat to our region, they will universally answer: it is climate change. Aotearoa New Zealand stands with the Pacific on climate change.

“We will build the long-term resilience of Pacific Island countries to environmental, economic, social and climate change through our partnership. So I want the international community to work with small states to do the same, as these are all long-standing priorities for Pacific island countries.

“I therefore look forward to working with other advocacy champions to seek and highlight international action on small state priorities,” said Aupito William Sio.

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Lynn A. Saleh