THE Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga, says the recently-released University of Auckland research pointing to an increase in his country’s land mass is flawed. Enele Sopoaga told Fijian media at a press conference in Suva this afternoon that Tuvalu was not expanding and said the University of Auckland research released by New Zealand media two days ago was flawed and risky.
Mr Sopoaga rejected the research by the university’s coastal geomorphologists, Professor Paul S. Kench, Dr Murray R. Ford and Dr Susan D. Owen, which was largely based on 40 years worth of imagery of the Tuvaluan shoreline.
PM said the expansion of Tuvaluan shoreline did not equate to habitable land for the people of the ‘sinking’ country. Entitled ‘Patterns of island change and persistence offer alternate adaptation pathways for atoll nations’, the research paper was submitted to the university in July 2017 and approved on January 9, published online on February 9. “Results highlight a net increase in land area in Tuvalu of 73.5ha (2.9 per cent), despite sea-level rise, and land area increase in eight of nine atolls,” the research abstract explains. “Results challenge perceptions of island loss, showing islands are dynamic features that will persist as sites for habitation over the next century, presenting alternate opportunities for adaptation that embrace the heterogeneity of island types and their dynamics.” PM Sopoaga said the report and the release of its findings were “rather unfortunate”.
“As the leader of the Tuvalu, about which most of the report has paid most of its focus, I find it totally unfortunate and perhaps untimely in that the news item was never allowed responding or verifying by Tuvalu authorities,” the PM said. “It was simply put for public consumption without proper verification. I strongly feel this is irresponsible reporting and irresponsible disclosure of information which should have been properly verified.” The PM said the report should have been contextualised with features of climate change effects such as saltwater intrusion. Alluding to mischievous agenda, Mr Sopoaga said neither the researchers nor the University of Auckland had sourced the partnership of Tuvaluan scientists or government and he questioned why the scientists had not brought the research to light at COP23 in Germany last November. “We should have been given the chance so that our scientists, our experts on climate change and on the movement of atoll islands be given the opportunity to at least look at the report and comment,” Mr Sopoaga said. The Tuvaluan government will respond to the report and also upload an alternative viewpoint to the Talanoa Dialogue Portal, which was set up by UN Climate Change (UNFCCC) in late January.
From Lice Movono Fiji times
As a normal gesture when attending special important functions overseas, the Prime Minister, Hon Enele Sosene Sopoaga presented gifts of Tuvalu handicrafts to two Pacific leaders whom he visited recently. When he was in Nauru, he presentes gifts of a Tuvalu decorated mat and other smaller items to President Baron Waqa. While in New Zealand he also presented gifts of a mini Tuvalu village and other smaller handicraft items.
The Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Hon Enele Sosene Sopoaga and the President of Nauru, Hon Baron Waqa holding the gift of a decorated mat from Tuvalu. The photo was taken in Nauru by Penivao Penete.
Te Ulu o te Maaloo, Enele Sosene Sopoaga mo te Peleistene o Nauru, Tena ‘Malu Baron Waqa e puke fakatasi ne laua te mekei mai i Tuvalu. Te ata ne pei i Nauru ne Penivao Penete.
NZ’s Prime Minister, Ms Jacinda Artern and Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, Enele Sosene Sopoaga holding tohether the gift of a mini Tuvalu village in Wellington, New Zealand.
Te Ulu o te Maaloo o Nusila, Tena ‘Malu Jacind Artern mo te Ulu o te Maaloo o Tuvalu, Tena ‘Malu Enele Sosene Sopoaga e puke fakatasi ne laua a te meaalofa tela se fa’kai Tuvalu foliki.
(Ms Afasene Iosefa)
Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Hon. Enele Sosene Sopoaga has left the country on Saturday last week. He is to attend the second PNA Leader’s Summit to be held in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Hon. Sopoaga said that prior to this meeting which is scheduled to the 2nd of March is the Special PNA Ministerial Meeting from 26 – 28 February also to take place in Majuro. This is a preparatory meeting for the 2nd PNA Leader’s Summit.
However, the Prime Minister said the main objective of the Leader’s meeting is to develop the future pathway for the PNA.
‘We, leaders to the PNA will also look and make plans for the protection of our sea resources. There are so many foreign fishing vessels fishing in our waters and the parties to the Nauru Agreement have been concerned mainly with the management of tuna purse-seine fishing in the Western and central Pacific Ocean. So we have to preserve and manage our sea resources properly,’ he said.
“For Tuvalu, we have two main resources, one is our people and secondly is our sea. And Tuvalu is fully supporting the idea of increasing the fishing licenses for foreign fishing vessels fishing in our waters.’
Both meetings are funded by the PNA and the Forum Fisheries Agency, FFA.
Nanumaga Community performing for the Kiribati’s delegation who came to discuss a new air link. Kau fatele a te fenua ko Nanumaga o talimaaloo te malaga mi I Kiribati e uiga mo se alaga-vakalele
The Prime Minister, Hon Enele Sosene Sopoaga was invited by the President of the Republic of Nauru to attend the celebration of his country’s 50th Independence Anniversary. Hon Sopoaga was accompanied to this invitation by his wife, Salilo Sopoaga, Protocol Officer from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labor, Mrs Asogali T. Panapa and Security Officer, Sgt. Penivao Penete. The two leaders (Hon Enele S. Sopoaga and Hon Baron Waqa) were also able to discuss other issues of mutual interests relating to development aspects.
Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, Hon Enele Sosene Sopoaga and the President of the Republic of Nauru, Hon Baron Waqa in Nauru holding hands. Photo by Sgt. Penivao Penete
The President of Nauru on behalf of his government acknowledged with gratitude the contributions Tuvalu had made to his country in the past years during the phosphate mining period (1960s – 1990s) when Tuvaluans were recruited as laborers with the Nauru Phosphate Corporation(NPC). The Nauru people greatly honor the contributions of the Tuvalu people to Nauru who have served in Nauru.
The President of Nauru also pledged his support for Tuvalu in whatever means his government can provide. An example of these is his government’s willingness to provide Tuvalu’s requirement for big rocks that have been cut from the phosphate mines during the mining period. He told Hon Sopoaga that the stones were in fact cut by strong Tuvaluans laborers who were under the employment of the NPC in those years when phosphate was being mined.
According to Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, these rocks are to be used for coastal protection especially of the new reclaimed land on Funafuti, the Queen Elizabeth the II Park.
A digger loading the rocks into a truck at the Queen Elizabeth II Park, Funafuti
Masini keli e fakauta i fatu ki luga i te tulakita i te Queen Elizabeth II Park
Tuvalu Prime Minister, Hon Sopoaga also thanked the Nauru Government for the cordial relationship that had developed between the Tuvaluan laborers and their families and the people of Nauru, as from the past and also today. Hon Sopoaga also acknowledged the benefits the Tuvaluans had reaped from their labor in Nauru. He also confirmed that there is still a Tuvalu community existing in Nauru and his delegation had the opportunity to be invited by them for a Tuvalu feast and entertainment.
Hon Sopoaga also thanked the Government of Nauru for agreeing to let the dead bodies of Tuvaluans who have rested peacefully on the island remained in their graves.
Dr. Kitiona Tausi
After attending to the 50th anniversary of independence celebration in Nauru, the Prime Minister, Hon Enele Sosene Sopoaga and his delegation travelled to New Zealand to pay a courtesy visit to the new Prime Minister of New Zealand, Ms Jacinda Artern. Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga in a press conference on Thursday, 23 February 2018, said the purpose of the visit was to convey Tuvalu’s greetings and best wishes to Ms Artern and his new government. “We feel that Tuvalu should grab a first chance before other countries or governments to physically meet Ms Artern.
The Honorable Prime Minister of New Zealand, Ms Jacinda Artern and Tuvalu’s Prime zminister, Hon. Enele Sosene Sopoaga in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo taken by Sgt. Penivao Penete.
Te Ulu o te Maaloo o Niusila, Tena ‘Malu Jacinda Artern mot e Ulu o te Maaloo o Tuvalu, Tena ‘Malu Enele Sosene Sopoaga
Hon Sopoaga added that the visit was his government’s initiative and all his delegation’s expenses were met by the Tuvalu Government. The visit was a worthwhile visit, said the Prime Minister as there were other important issues government had wanted to discuss with the NZ Prime Minister.
Two other government ministers: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labour, Hon Taukelina Finikaso and Minister of Communication and Transport, Hon Monise Laafai and Government Officers, His Excellency the Tuvalu High Commissioner to New Zealand, Paulson Panapa and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Tourism, Environment and Labor joined in to the Prime Minister when meeting with the New Zealand delegation.
Rev Dr. Kitiona Tausi
Mai i tua o tena fakatasiga ki fakafafiaga o te 50 Tausaga Tu-Tokotasi o te Maaloo o Nauru, te Ulu o te Maaloo, Tena ‘Malu Enele Sosene Sopoaga ne faima’laga atu ki Niusila o asi fakaaloalo atu ki te Ulu o te Maaloo Fou o Niusila, Tena ‘Malu Jacinda Artern. I tena fakasautalaga i tnea ofisa I te Asofa, 22 Fepuali 2018, I ana pati me I te pgai o te Malaga e fakaoko atu a alofaaga mo fakamanuiga o Tuvalu ki a Jacinda mo tena maaloo fou. “Te lagona ne ii I a matou ko te me ke maua se avanoga tomua o Tuvalu i loo nisi fenua mo maaloo ke fetaui i te foitino a Tuvalu mo Jacinda.
Ne fakaopoopo mai ne Enele me i te malaga tenei se fakatokaga eiloa a te Maaloo o Tuvalu kae ko te ‘togi o tena kaumalaga ne ‘togi katoa ne te Maaloo o Tuvalu.
E tokolua aka nisi o Minisita o te Kapineta, te Minisita o Maaloo ki Tua, Tena ‘Malu Taukelina Finikaso mo te Minisita o Fesokotakiga mo Oloolomalaga, Tena ‘Malu Monise Laafai, te Komesina Maluga o Tuvalu ki Niusila, Tena ‘Malu Paulson Panapa mo te Failautusi o te Minisitulii o Maaloo ki Tua, Fakataukoloa, Tualisi, Enivailomene mo Leipa, Fakavae Taomia ne aofia i olotou faipatiga mo ofisa o te Maaloo o Niusila.
Fakavae Taomia i te feitu fakamaui ki mua. Mai i tua i a Fakavae ko Monise Laafai, ko te Ulu o te Maaloo, Enele Sopoaga i te mata o te taipola ki tua, i tena feitu fakamaui ko Paulson Panapa mo Taukelina Finikasoo i te fakamaui ki mua. Tea ta mai i a Penivao Penete.
Tuvalu illegal overstayers in New Zealand has been a long-standing issue and past governments have tried to find solutions to the issue but none had been successful. The current government of Hon. Enele Sosene Sopoaga is making another attempt to look into the issue and hopefully a solution can be found.
In his recent visit to New Zealand and in a press conference on Thursday, 22 February, he said that government is now working together with the new New Zealand Government in an effort to solve the issue. Hon Sopoaga said about 500 Tuvaluans are classed as illegal overstayers in New Zealand and they are living in hiding moving from place to place. Their children are not going to school and they don’t have bank accounts and thus do not go to the banks. They are really in desperate situations and they need immediate help.
In his discussion with the new Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Artern, Hon Sopoaga requested her if her government could be sympathetic with Tuvalu overstayers who are living in fear in case they are caught and get deported instantly. Some of them have lived in New Zealand long enough to be qualified for permanent residency status. Some of their children have married there and have also given birth to children. He Humbly requested Jacinda to kindly consider offering permanent residence for them.
Hon Sopoaga confirmed that his government and the government of New Zealand will work together on this issue. First of all, they agreed to have all these overstayers submit all the required immigration papers to the proper NZ authority and they will have to look at it and make a decision. So, Hon Sopoaga is appealing to Tuvaluan illegal overstayers in New Zealand to comply with this requirement. Hon. Enele said that his government is fully committed to having this issue discussed and solved as quickly as possible and he wishes that New Zealand grant permanent residency status for them.
Rev Dr. Kitiona Tausi