President Ikililou Dhoinine of the Comoros addresses the General Assembly. UN Photo/J Carrier

Comoros voices climate change concerns while Cape Verde flags development needs

The leader of the Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros, President Ikililou Dhoinine, took the podium at the United Nations General Assembly today to appeal for international aid to help small countries like his confront the potentially devastating impact of climate change.

“The time has come to re-launch with greater resolve several international projects that have been suspended, notably those that favour mitigation and adaptation measure in the face of climate change,” President Dhoinine told the 67th Assembly on the third day of its annual General Debate, at UN Headquarters in New York.

“We must react effectively to this phenomenon that affects the whole planet, but especially small island states like Comoros,” he said, noting that two weeks of unusually torrential rains in April had delivered a disastrous blow to his country’s economy.

Turning to the general world situation, President Dhoinine called for rapid action to put an end to the “terrible suffering” of the people of Syria, where over 18,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands of others driven from their homes since an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad erupted 18 months ago.

He called for full UN membership for a Palestinian state based on a two-state solution with Israel and Palestine living side by side within secure and recognized borders, and condemned attacks against civilians and the destruction of sacred sites in northern Mali, where Islamic militants seized control earlier this year.

As other African leaders have done at the General Debate, he also called for reform and expansion of the 15-member Security Council to give Africa the representation it deserves.

Addressing the same gathering, the leader of another small island nation on the other side of the continent, Cape Verde, also appealed for measures to boost development, calling for strengthened ties between the United Nations and the African Union for a “true partnership” to achieve this goal.

“We appeal, for decisions on concrete measures that will result in the decision taken within the framework of this Organization, in terms of development such as, those related to the cancelling of the external debt of developing countries, particularly Small Island Developing States, because we are certain that such decision would represent a stimulus for all these countries, Cape Verde’s President Jorge Carlos Fonseca said.

He also called for global negotiations to be based on “fair and equal rules and with ethics” to deal with global trade and climate change.

Both President Dhoinine and President Fonseca are among scores of world leaders and other high-level officials presenting their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends on 1 October. UN News Centre