Posted by: islandsfirst | May 5, 2008

Indigenous Islanders

The Independent has an article today about the effect climate change and ocean destruction is having on some Melanesians. But these islanders aren’t from a small island developing state – they’re from Austrialia. Hardly an advanage, however, if, as the author states, similar challenges faced by Tuvalu and Kiribati are better known than those of the Torres Strait Islanders.

The story comes on the heels of a meeting here in NYC of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which represents a group of people who are no strangers to marginalization. GA President Srgjan Kerim pointed out that indigenous peoples are the “most directly affected by environmental degradation caused by climate change.”

Islanders represent no small part of our planet’s indigenous peoples. Linguistically, Papua New Guinea is the most diverse, Vanuatu the densest. Doubly on the front lines of sea-level rise and oceans destruction, the voices of indigenous islanders should be heard at least twice as loud.

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