Migrating with Dignity: A conversation with Anote Tong

Podcast EP 28

Title: Final Warning: Migrating with Dignity: A Conversation with Anote Tong

Akka Rimon [00:00:17] Mauri and welcome to the Pacific Wayfinder, your guide to navigating the crosscurrents of security in the Blue Pacific Continent. I’m Akka Rimon, your host, and I wish to begin by acknowledging that we are broadcasting today from unceded Land. I especially want to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which we broadcast the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people and pay our respects to their elders, past, present and future. And for this special episode, I’m joined by the Australia Pacific Security College Deputy Director Jay Caldwell. Hello Jay. How are you?

Jay Caldwell [00:00:53] Mauri Akka, I’m very well. Very well. Glad to sneak back in here into the studio with you.

Akka Rimon [00:00:56] Great. Yes. And it’s so nice to have you back on one of the podcasts. Jay, are you excited for our episode today?

Jay Caldwell [00:01:05] I am excited for the conversation we’re about to have. I think it’s a really critical conversation. And both in terms of our special guest, who will get to introducing in a moment, and also in terms of yourself, in terms of expertise. I’m really looking forward to learning in terms of what we’ve got happening today. So today, if I set the scene, our discussion is going to build on the IPCC 2023 Synthesis Report with a focus on migration and particularly how climate change is driving displacement and migration worldwide. And we have with us here a world leader who we’ve had the delight of having around the ANU over the past week, who’s been in a number of conversations. But one of the most important voices that there has been on climate migration who continues to inform it. But I’ll let you do the introductions here, Akka.

Akka Rimon [00:01:55] Our special guest today is Mr Anote Tong, the former President of the Republic of Kiribati and the founder of the Migration with Dignity Policy. Anote served three terms from 2003 to 2016. During his term in office, he was responsible for drawing international attention to the human dimension of climate change and for declaring what was then the largest UNESCO World Heritage site, PIPA, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, which his government called a gift to humanity. Tong has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize. Anote, welcome to the Pacific Wayfinder. So my first question on the impact of human activities. I think if anything that the report has given us, it’s the level of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. It has been confirmed to have reached 1.1 degrees Celsius warmer. Now clearly, this will have detrimental impacts on our natural environment, particularly in the Pacific, but not just the Pacific. It’s the whole world, the whole of planet Earth that’s affected. How does it impact our way of life and on our people in every region of the world? What does this mixed message signal for you, Mr Tong, in terms of the movement of people or human mobility?

Anote Tong [00:03:22] Well, let me begin with an acknowledgement, thank you for having me. And of course,   ask the Custodians of this land, past, present and emerging to be with us and join us and bless us as we have this conversation. The numbers which are of course, scientifically based, as far as people in the Pacific are concerned, they’re just numbers. I think it’s about what the implications of those numbers would mean. And of course, most of our people in the region don’t understand what these numbers mean. COUGH But for those of us who keep track of what’s going on, 1.1 rise in global temperature is getting very close to the limit that we set ourselves in 2015 at 1.5. But of course, it’s got to be truly understood that. Let us go back to the fourth assessment report of the IPCC, which then predicted that even by the end of the century, the impacts of climate change would already be disastrous for us – the countries on the front line, the low-lying atoll countries like Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and all of those other communities which have basically atoll nations, atoll islands. You know, I think here I understand this includes Tokelau, the Wallis and Futuna, maybe your Northern Islands in the Torres Strait. I think they will also be subjected to the same impacts. And so that fourth assessment report so well predicted that by the end of the century, those islands, including ours, would be submerged. In the subsequent reports, including the six assessment report which came out in February last year, I think 2022, that assessment had been updated and the science better reaffirmed. But only to say that no, it won’t be the end of the century it would be by 2060. And so the scenario is getting tighter and tighter. The tipping points are getting closer and closer. And so it’s not about the numbers. It’s what it means for people. Okay. And this is what we need to focus on. And I think you want to bring it down to the human level. We’ve got to talk about the impacts, the impacts, of which I know from my own personal experience, we are already experiencing. And so we have a serious challenge ahead of us. Can we hold this in time for the rest because we’re already gone? I think two scenarios indicate that unless we can reverse this process, those countries like Kiribati and other Pacific island countries in the region really are looking at a very radical adaptation in order to stay above the rising seas. But otherwise, we’re all going to be subject to huge displacement of our people.

Jay Caldwell [00:06:21]  I must admit, it was sobering in preparing for this conversation, sir, to read through, and obviously, there are implications other than sea level rise, but that implications around sea level rise in terms of one in 100 year storms becoming annual events by the end of our century. The baked in element in terms of sea level rise, it’s incredibly sobering all over again to see it in such stark language and with such a high degree of confidence in the current report.

Anote Tong [00:06:58] If I may just add to that. You know we’ve always been focussed on the rise in the sea level, but I’ve always believed that’s not the most immediate danger because already where the water is now, you know, at the beginning of this year in my own home, I’ve got photographs and videos to show you if you wish. But the water was coming over my sea wall under my front door. And that was a calm day. Now, if there was a change in the weather pattern, that there already seems to be a trend towards then even as we are where we are today with the level of sea level, it would be disastrous. And so the change in the weather pattern, I think in 2015 there was Cyclone Pam which hit Vanuatu or destroyed it, but then it did what it’s not supposed to do and that is go northwards towards the equator. It originates in the equator and they’re not supposed to go back. But this one did flood all of the islands of Tuvalu, flooded our southernmost islands and flooded the rest to a lesser degree. But it destroyed food crops and the rest it destroyed homes.

Jay Caldwell [00:08:07] It’s been quite stark seeing Vanuatu with the cascade of climate events in terms of what that looks like. Akka, can I pick up a question in regards, I guess, you made the point, sir, in terms of what we’re already seeing. And according to the UNHCR, that trend towards hazardous weather you pointed to, we’re going to continue to see that and including things like prolonged droughts as well. So it’s not just sometimes the absence of water that’s actually kind of a real challenge that Pacific islands are going to be facing. And UNHCR puts the figure on 20 million people per year that are displaced in some form from climate related drivers. Are we seeing this already in the Pacific? And are there particular instances you’d like to raise for people? Akka, you may have some examples as well in terms of where we’re already seeing climate-based displacement occurring in the Pacific Islands.

Anote Tong [00:09:10] You know, we don’t have to look at what’s happening today. We’ve had experiences of this in the past. We’ve had our people relocated from our islands, subjected to drought events. And if I might explain, this happened some time ago when people in some of the islands had to be relocated in the Phoenix Islands, a part of Kiribati, and then relocated in the Solomon Islands simply because of the weather conditions. Now, that is happening again. We are just coming towards the end of a prolonged drought period where the government has declared a state of emergency, where people are really suffering because we use the underground aquifer as our source of water. And so as the rain remains dry, then the water becomes very brackish. And it’s very difficult to have had the experience of drinking when that water has been in that condition. And you have to struggle to drink it. It’s not healthy. But if you have no choice, what else can you do? And so we’re coming towards the end of that as the El Nino begins to swing into place again. Okay. So as I was leaving home, the rains have started to fall. And I guess here in Australia you begin to experience your dry weather maybe, or your bushfires. Okay. So yes. But I think what we are experiencing is intense, these effects have become more intense.

Akka Rimon [00:10:49] Yes, sorry. I also wanted to add to the discussion, Jay, and thank you for posing that question, because I think it’s the conception held from outside the Pacific that they don’t fully understand that, you know, the marginal increase in sea level rise is devastating. It’s catastrophic on small island countries like ours in Kiribati. And you ask if there are displacements happening. I think for me, the bigger question is really about the ability to access life, full dignity, access to water, access to resources. And these resources have been affected in such a way that their ability to recharge themselves naturally has been impacted one way or another. And that is not giving us the full dignity of life that we expect. So I think it’s bigger than displacement. It’s beyond that. It’s about livelihoods, it’s about survival, it’s about access to everything else that everyone can access across the globe that we’re not.

Jay Caldwell [00:11:54] Fantastic. That’s a different framing, I think, from what often at the technical level there’s a talk about the numbers and movement. But that’s the lived experience.

Akka Rimon [00:12:05] But again, you know, spring tides, you know, we’ve had incidences, Mr Tong you’ll recall that I think it was the Cyclone Pam of 2015 where we saw some of the islands having to relocate their communities because of the flooding. And it was massive. You know, it was a big disaster for us and we weren’t prepared for it. It happened. And adding on to the shoulders of government, you know, the burden of having to bear the cost of these unforeseen incidences.

Anote Tong [00:12:42] You know, if I might just go back on some of the very experiences that we’ve had where given, as Akka says, the very small margin between the height of the sea during the spring tide and what land remains above the margin, and then all you need is a bit of a breeze. Okay. aecause 30 kilometres an hour wind for us is a storm. Okay, almost a storm. But if we had that in coincidence with these very high tides, then the homes would be destroyed. Okay. There have been occasions where the weather was fine, but there’s a pressure difference somewhere and it would press down and push the water up. And we’ve had the occasions when homes were destroyed. We had to bring in emergency relief. And when that happens, sometimes it’s not easy to bring in relief because the airports have been flooded. They cannot, they can’t allow the planes to land. So it’s got to be by boat. And that takes quite some time, maybe more than a couple of days, especially to reach the furthest islands. And so we do have this problem and it’s always there on the very edge, waiting to happen, given the right conditions. All of this would happen. But of course, there will come a time when the sea water would come. It probably would not go. And if it comes up with sufficient strength, then it would leave nothing behind.

Akka Rimon [00:14:19] So if I may jump in now, Jay, and just ask a question and I want to take us back to, you know, this week it has been, well, this was a packed week for me of learning and insights from the To Hell With Drowning [Conference]. You know, we’re talking about the IPCC report but at the ANU  we have this conference that’s brought together leaders like Anote, Kaliopate Tavola, Dame Meg Tayor from PNG and others and the wealth of wisdom and guidance that we’ve sought from this Pacific Elders voice has been, you know, critical. But I want to take us back to your time in government, Mr Tong, if you can tell us a bit more about migration. We opened up with that question about the impacts of climate on human mobility. And in 2003, when you came into government, sir, you introduced the Migration with Dignity policy. And I know coming from the conference there were heated debates around migration, you know, not being the solution, but what was your thinking on this? If you can just walk us through that. Help us to unpack, to understand why migration is such a critical option for a country that is barely three metres above sea level, a country that has nowhere to turn, no higher ground to turn in the face of sea level rise.

Anote Tong [00:15:52] In order to truly appreciate what is happening in our part of the world, one has to understand the structure of the islands, the geography. We talk about three metres. It is not three metres. We talk about an average elevation of two metres. It’s not even two metres. Okay?. The tidal changes that we get at the most two metres. When it comes over two metres, then there is serious danger. And so how do we deal with that? And I must say that when I first saw the report of the IPCC, the third assessment report, which was pretty basic at that time, and I saw these two words sea level rise, and my immediate reaction was one of panic, because I understood very well the vulnerability, because having lived in a situation like that, you know, we regard these weather events as part of the normal cycle. But when you’re getting new information coming in and telling you that, yes, it’s normal, but it’s getting more abnormal as the days go by and that the sea level will not continue to be rising the way it’s been for the last number of years. And so you just extrapolate beyond that understanding from, certainly from my reading of the reports, that it’s not a linear escalation. It is exponential. And so it’s going to happen much, much faster than we’d seen in the past decades.  And so, you know, in my struggle to find a solution for the people that I am, I’m supposed to protect. And one of the greatest fears that I had was to be asked by one of my people, “You know, we are hearing about the sea level rise. And we understand that given our vulnerability is going to be a huge threat. What solutions have you found for us?” Because the honest and frustrating response would have been, you know, there is nothing we can do about it because it’s beyond our control. And that was the only answer that I could give. But it was never good enough. It really demonstrates that actually, one is not deserving of leadership if that is the kind of answer you’re going to give. You’ve got to do more than that. And so I must admit that I struggled for a long time. Went crazy, I guess with a crazy situation, trying to find out. I talked to people about floating islands, raising the islands. At the end of the day, I had to find something that I could put on paper and say, these are the options. And so at that time, the options would have been like this; given the scenario that had been predicted. That the islands would be submerged. In order to survive as a country, we would have to undertake very, very radical adaptation measures. Maybe most probably by raising the islands above the rising seas and continuing to do that. Hopefully that would safeguard. But I also acknowledge the reality that we could never mobilise the resources to be able to do that to all of the islands. And it may be the case that we could only mobilise the resources to raise one or two islands, but then this would raise the question of what do we do with all of those people? And so there is no doubt in my mind that there will be those of our people who will choose to migrate. But. Do we just allow them to do it on their own, or do we take a proactive position by actually preparing them to make that choice consciously so that they do not migrate as second class citizens. Let’s just look at what’s happening in Europe. The massive migration of people from North Africa. I monitored that very closely. What happened in Europe was people were scrambling to get across, and I’m sure it was from climate driven impacts. And so what has been the result? People were dying in the process. People were moving into situations where they were not always entirely welcome. And because they were not prepared, nor were the communities they were moving into prepared. And so it was really an attempt on my part to try and put some dignity in one of the most undignified events in any country’s history. I can tell you it’s not an easy thing to come to terms with. And I know that sometimes my suggestion that my advocacy of migration with dignity has been misunderstood and in some cases actually rejected. But I think we’ve got to be brutally realistic, given the scenario of what’s at stake. I can assure you that the world that we know today will not be the world that we will have in the next few decades. And we have to come to terms with that rather than hope and pretend that it will not happen. Let’s plan for it. Just in case it happens, because I believe it is going to happen.

Jay Caldwell [00:21:25] So that point you make about people misunderstanding and rejecting the point you’re making there and the policy and the initiative in the struggle, I guess, that you’re talking about in terms of that policy. Why do you think that rejection occurs? Why do you think people struggle with it in the way that you’re talking about?

Anote Tong [00:21:50] I can understand because those are my very sentiments from a nationalistic point of view. You don’t want to give up. You don’t want to be defeated. You don’t want to be seen as being not nationalistic. Okay. Again, there are those who believe maybe that by suggesting that we migrate that it would undermine our negotiating positions for the loss and damages and whatever else we’d be negotiating. Okay. But I don’t think this is about negotiations. This is about the survival for our future generation. I’ve got 20-odd grandchildren and I don’t want their lives to be a point of negotiation. I want to be able to provide a 100% guarantee that they will be safe. And so the propositions that I put forward were, yes, let’s build our resilience so that at least those that choose to migrate with dignity, on merit if necessary, it does not have to be about special consideration. I am serious because I’d rather have our people migrate on merit with qualifications and being able to come here, places like Australia who is terribly short of skilled labour. Let’s train our people to be skilful so that they can come and build a place here as worthwhile citizens, contribute to the economic welfare of this country, not as second-class citizens occupying the slums as we see in some cases where people from the Pacific have gone into cities like Auckland and gone into the backyards. This is not what we want and we have the opportunity to plan in order to avoid that, rather than take up the emotional argument, say, no, no, no, it won’t happen. We don’t want it until the last moment and it happens and then we are not prepared. Let’s give our people the opportunity to make that choice themselves, but let us prepare them in order to make that choice. This is the concept of migration with dignity, but it’s a two way process. It also needs preparation of the communities they are going into, so that there is a very good acculturation program from both sides so that the tensions would be removed and I came up with this because I spoke with some German elderly people and I asked them, how do you feel about the mass of people coming in from North Africa? Because Germany is one of the most accommodating countries in Europe. And they said we were very happy to assist initially, but then we began to be overwhelmed and so they began to worry. And so that is going to happen. But given the numbers in the Pacific, I don’t think we’ll ever going to take over Australia.

Akka Rimon [00:24:47] I was going to ask a question in relation to what Tong just said. As you are aware, Tong, the Government of Australia is introducing a Pacific Engagement Visa. How would you advise, if you had any guidance or wisdom to share, to strategically organise the quota and how this selection process will be driven? What would be your advice?

Anote Tong [00:25:14] Well, my advice would be to simply just say that it’s not a new thing, that it’s already been happening here in the Pacific because the Pacific has been divided into roughly three groups. Okay. And let me say this because it’s been so obvious, but maybe not obvious to some people with the Polynesians more aligned with Australia, with the Cook Islands having free access, Niue having free access, Tokelau having free access to New Zealand with the Northern Micronesians having free access to the United States with Australia having a very close relationship with Papua New Guinea. But it’s the rest of us who are former British colonies who remain in isolation. And this is where you’ve got the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Vanuatu as well, who were former British colonies, just waiting there for somebody to come and want them to be there. And so I think that’s something that is not new. It’s not breaking new ground. It’s just doing what it’s been happening. I understand that the Prime Minister of Samoa came up with an interesting proposition, and I think it’s been proposed in the past and I’m proposing it also, Compact type arrangement, similar to what New Zealand has with those Polynesian countries and what the United States has with the Micronesian countries. There is no reason why it cannot happen. You know, a free movement of people. Okay. And in the process, hopefully, combined with the program of upskilling our people in our own countries and filling in those skills gaps, which is the problem here in Australia and New Zealand. This is why you have our seasonal workers coming in to prop up your farming industry. Well, we’ve supported the farming industry in the past with the phosphates that we provided. And on this occasion, we have more than enough labour to provide that support again and at the same time draw some benefits out of it.

Jay Caldwell [00:27:28] Can I build on that question? I think the Samoan Prime Minister’s challenge really was a challenge, and it had great ambition in terms of an EU style arrangement, in terms of open access within that extended Pacific family and in terms of using that kind of phrase and thinking and you’ve been a national leader and you’ve dealt with this issue as a national leader, and often the challenge is directed to a country like Australia. But is there a role for the region as a whole here in terms of shaping up a system of both thinking about migration with dignity at a regional level, that we could actually create a structure that you think would work consistently for everyone?

Anote Tong [00:28:14] Well, I think Australia has started doing it with the Australia Pacific Technical Colleges. Okay. And I hope it was the result of our discussions with John Howard in Madang at the retreat and the Forum in 2005 where he proposed this, the Australia Pacific Technical Colleges. And I remember talking to John Howard, I said, John, I know you bring in 30 to 40,000 people from Asia every year, why can’t you bring our people in? And he said, but you people are not trained. So train them. And so the APTC program has the potential to do that, but it needs to be propped up at the national level so that they dovetail into the APTC program. Because I understand that some of my colleagues have complained about the brain drain. Quite frankly, I don’t subscribe to that notion because we have too many brains. They’re just not being developed. We need to develop those brains and export them and in the process maybe get some remittances back. But I think the seasonal worker scheme and all of these things are actually making it easier for our people to come into your different cultural environment, because crossing that environmental barrier is quite an obstacle. It’s not easy, I can assure you. And so coming in and out, getting used to it, and then they will learn to appreciate what it is that they are coming into, what it is that they can offer and understand and overcome the hurdles that they would otherwise face if they were just to come in one go and try to adjust. But this is more of a slow adjustment process. We have had this experience with our own seamen who have worked on German ships and gone into Europe and they come back very westernised in some ways, in some ways in a positive sense and in some way in a negative sense. But there is no denying the fact that they’ve seen a different world and are beginning to appreciate it and understand it.

Akka Rimon [00:30:27] Okay. I’m going to throw in the next question around the international political landscape around climate displacement. And we do understand that there is no law or protective mechanism for climate displaced people. How do you see migration with dignity responding to this very absence of a policy, internationally?

Anote Tong [00:30:54] I think if I might make that distinction between migration with dignity and refugee status, because I think by definition, migration with dignity does not at any level refer to refugee status. But I think I acknowledge because when I was advocating this and they try to match it with the definition, the international definition of climate refugee, which does not exist in that way, simply because the international definition is lacking. And yet we remain with, you know, this is something that is lacking. I don’t see what is the reason why we cannot change that? Because climate change was never a challenge until most recently. And so surely how inflexible can that law be as not to realise that changing circumstances and accommodated accordingly, but migration with dignity would be something that would be part of the normal process of migration. And I think it must also be understood that this process will happen of its own accord. But there is no doubt in my mind that there will come a time when the migration with dignity pathway will not be adequate and it would run out of utility because the disaster comes and then there would be a scramble, there would be no time to train people that they can migrate with dignity. And that is the time that the international definitions need to be able to step up.

Jay Caldwell [00:32:36] Can I just ask about the recent UN resolution that called for the International Criminal Court or Court of Justice? Thank you. To make its judgement or call for a judgement in regards to climate impacts and responsibility. Do you see a pathway there in regards to, and I see you shaking your head already, in terms of climate refugee status.

Anote Tong [00:33:06] You know, I don’t know. I never truly understand people’s position on the climate change issue because what it is climate change is destroying the livelihoods and the homes of people. It’s a slow process,  but nevertheless the most effective process ever in the history of mankind in destroying the lives of so many people in their homelands. Yet, there’s never been an acknowledgement. And I think that is because those who would be responsible for all of this are, in fact, maybe defining those definitions. Okay. And I guess in my moments of deep frustration, I said, it’s no different from, and I’ve said I’ve spoken in the US and I’ve said, let me give you an example. There are these two guys living next door to each other. And this guy, he’s got a tree in his driveway so he decides to cut his tree, but his tree fell on the other guy’s house. Okay. And so what does he do when somebody comes? Oh, and so what does he say? Too bad. No, he doesn’t. He pays for it. So why are those destroying our homes, not paying the same compensation? Where is the justice? Simply because there is no international regime to deal with this. But our moral compass conscience should tell us what the right thing to do is. And I’d like to think that our international legal system is based on morality.

Akka Rimon [00:34:51] Well, I’m going to ask a last question, Jay, if you have any more questions, let me know. But we’re also running out of time. But bringing us back to the region and our region has seen a lot of opportunities, if I may say, challenges, tensions in the past year or so. Where do you see our region in ten years time? And by saying this, I want to acknowledge, sir, that, you know, you have been among our Pacific leaders who have done great work raising the visibility of our Blue Pacific Continent internationally at the UN, bringing climate change to the fore of the discussions, changing from terrorism to a climate change focus as you’ve been saying, and including the oceans in the climate change discussions as well. But where do you see our region and also in a climate that’s increasingly geo-politicised, if I may say, the pressures of the geopolitics have come to our region more profound than ever before.

Anote Tong [00:36:01] But let me say that the focus on climate change was in the past, on the science, and it was wonderful science, extremely interesting, attracting a lot of grant funding for the researchers, and we had to turn it into a human issue. Now the human issue is about that, and I think it reinforced the pressure to cut back on emissions, and that’s been the focus on carbon emissions. But there’s been no genuine discussion of what to do with the people who would be affected. That is still missing in the international debate simply because nobody is willing to say, yes, we understand it’s going to happen. We are ready to deal with it. Okay. Nobody, no country has stepped forward except Fiji has done that. And I announced it because Fiji has been the only country with the moral courage to step forward and say, yes, if it comes to that, we will step forward. But here we are continuing to tighten border controls. And so that has been the problem. And we need to understand that and I keep saying it, the world that we know today is going to be a very different world even in ten years time. But are we ready for it? What’s going to be our reaction with the pressure for migration from displaced people? What’s going to be the response of countries, are they going to tighten up their borders or are they going to loosen them to allow for the humanitarian actor. It’s not that you have to do the right thing. And that is a challenge. And I think. I don’t have the answer because nobody has stepped forward. But I think the pressure is there. I think if some of you would go back to my statements in the past, I have drawn the analogy of the Titanic and again, I have been misinterpreted when I draw that analogy of the Titanic. It’s about the morality of people on the lifeboats and those in the waters and whether those on the lifeboat would have the compassion to bring those swimming on board or are they going to push them away so they can retain the wonderful life, that lifestyle that they’d been able to have. They don’t want that to be compromised. And that is a challenge. I’ve always said, and I continue to say, that climate change is the greatest moral challenge to humanity ever. And in the years ahead, our humanity is truly going to be tested.

Jay Caldwell [00:38:52] Can I just say one thing? I think that we’ve been struck and people have been struck in this region and so thankful for your leadership over time and in the climate change space. And I think in that recent International Court of Justice or the UN resolution, the fact that there was a group of Pacific youth who are actually at the heart of that, driving that, there is an incredible confidence to make the claim around climate from countries and from organisations across the Pacific. But part of that is because of the leadership yourself and others have shown and sort of making the Pacific position clear and giving space for that. And I think there’s a real thankfulness across the region and it’s a real tribute when you see examples like that in terms of Pacific youth standing up, in terms of the leadership you’ve been able to provide over time.

Anote Tong [00:39:49] So it is not our world, it’s what we’ve done. It’s what we are doing to prepare the world for them to come. Because so far, I must say that I don’t know that I will survive until 2060, when the waters are coming over the home islands. And I hope well before then that. Some kind of solution would have been identified. I think we’ve got to come to terms with the reality that we’ve got to stop thinking about me. Okay. And getting what it is that is good for me. But it doesn’t matter if it’s not good for anybody else. I think we’ve got to change the narrative. I think from my understanding it is that maybe it’s the system that we have that’s been dominant, which is maybe the capitalist system, where greed is good. No, let’s get away from that. Now, let’s share with you some of our Pacific ideologies, which is. Come on, let’s look after each other. Okay? It’s about us. It’s not about me alone.

Jay Caldwell [00:40:57] Thank you, sir.

“One is not deserving of leadership if they can not answer to their people. What are you doing on climate change?”

Former Kiribati President Anote Tong joins the Pacific Wayfinder to discuss the IPCC Synthesis Report and reflect on his own journey leading one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Join Akka Rimon and Jay Caldwell as they explore the Former President’s time in office, his Migrating with Dignity policy and what can be done in response to the IPCC’s report findings.

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