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Posted on on June 2nd, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (

Many Strong Voices joined forces on climate change 27-30 May 2007 at the Belize City Meeting.

Driven by the need to protect the cultures and economies of
countries and regions most affected by climate change, representatives of
Arctic communities and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) from the
Caribbean, and Pacific have formed an alliance called Many Strong Voices to
press for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The participants, who came from 16 countries and regions, including – Alaska,
the Caribbean, Fiji, the Canadian Arctic and the Overseas Countries and
Territories Association of the European Union, including Greenland and
French Polynesia –
met in Belize City to prepare a five-year action plan.

The strategy includes plans to push for deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions
through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

It also includes an assessment of the SIDS to adapt to climate change and a
plan to inform and warn the world of the dramatic effects of climate change
in their regions.

“Together, we have identified common problems as a consequence of climate
change, and our communities are suffering,” said Taito Nakalevu, Climate
Change Officer with the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, based in
Samoa. “We insist that those countries that are causing the problems have a
responsibility to those whose lives are being affected.”

The participants from the Arctic and the SIDS regions pointed to similar
climate change effects, including the relocation of communities as well as
changes in marine resources on which communities depend.

“In the Arctic, we know that melting ice and sea level rise are going to
affect everyone on the planet especially people in Small Island Developing
States. This is why we have chosen to work together – amplifying our voices
in global negotiations,” said Alaska-based Patricia Cochran, Chair of the
Inuit Circumpolar Council.

Stressing the connection between the Arctic and the SIDS regions, Dr. Ken
Leslie, Director of the Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change
Centre (CCCCC) noted that Belize has been experiencing many effects of
climate change. “We have many small, low-lying, inhabited islands along our
coast and the second largest barrier reef in the world that are vulnerable
to sea level rise and, most significantly, hurricanes which are increasing
in intensity due to the warming of the sea.”

The Many Strong Voices meeting was hosted by the CCCCC and was coordinated
by UNEP/GRID-Arendal, based in Norway, and the Center for International
Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO).

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