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Former PM of Tuvalu Announced as ACFID Keynote Speaker

Oct 4, 2019 | ACFID News

The former Prime Minister of Tuvalu, the Rt Hon Enele Sopoaga MP, has been announced as the keynote speaker at ACFID’s annual conference 2019, taking place in Sydney on 23-24 October.

The former Prime Minister is one of the Pacific’s leading climate champions and has put Tuvalu at the forefront of the international climate change movement, bringing international attention to the Blue Pacific and the imminent threats posed by climate change. In August, this year, he hosted the Pacific Island Leaders Forum, and played a pivotal role in ensuring the that Forum Communique had a key focus on climate change.

Welcoming the announcement, CEO of the Australian Council for International Development, Marc Purcell said:

“Since becoming Prime Minister of Tuvalu in 2013, Mr Sopoaga has won acclaim on the international stage in his calls for urgent action on climate change. He has resolutely spoken-up to protect the people of Tuvalu and the Pacific whose livelihoods are threatened by climate change.

“It is a great privilege for our membership to host Mr Sopoaga and we are delighted he will open our national conference.”

Mr Sopoaga was Tuvalu’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2001 (when the Permanent Mission of Tuvalu was established) through to 2010 and has addressed the UN General Assembly and a series of UN Climate Change Conferences. In Tuvalu, he developed a Climate Resilience Fund to help communities affected by the impact of climate change and was also the driver of Tuvalu’s development strategy known as Kakega II.

In 2015, at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21), the former Prime Minister was the lead spokesperson for the Pacific Small Island Developing States. In addressing the conference, he concluded with the now famous words: “Let’s do it for Tuvalu. For if we save Tuvalu we save the world.” Mr Sopoaga was instrumental in ensuring that the Paris Agreement set a goal of limiting global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which is now the benchmark for greenhouse gas limitation levels.

He now serves as the Leader of the Opposition in Tuvalu.

Mr Sopoaga’s speech at ACFID’s conference will be followed by a Pacific leader’s panel which comprises:

  • Ambassador Amena Yauvoli (Director General, Melanesian Spearhead Group)
  • Siale Ilolahia (Executive Director, PIANGO)
  • Reverend James Bhagwan (General Secretary, Pacific Conference of Churches)
  • Serena Sasingian (CEO, Digicel Foundation)

To find out more and to register for the conference, visit the ACFID Conference website at conference.acfid.asn.au