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Pacific Islands Forum to open in Palau

SYDNEY, July 29 — Climate change, sustainability, and the Pacific Ocean will be the key focus for more than 300 delegates, including state leaders, ministers and senior government officials from Pacific islands, at a special summit in Palau starting on Tuesday night.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat summit's main theme is 'The Ocean: Life & Future,' and representatives from member nations are concerned they are at risk of flooding and extensive damage as climate change continues to contribute to rising sea levels.

Attendees will discuss a wide range of subjects, from protecting marine life to sustainable fishing and its impacts.

Leaders of Pacific nations have recently said that the islands are already facing the effects of climate change and have called on other countries to do more to cut emissions.

Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. told the United Nations in January the impact of climate change was already being felt in Pacific nations.

"Climate change is causing the seas to rise at unprecedented rates, increasing the intensity of storms and threatening to wipe entire states off the map," he said.

Tuiloma Neroni Slade, secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, said in a statement, "I congratulate the government of Palau for choosing an appropriate theme for the meetings: The Ocean: Life & Future.

"It is a theme that is most timely with considerable strategic significance in the lead up to the third UN conference on small islands developing states (SIDS) to be held in Samoa, in September. "

"Without question the SIDS 2014 conference presents a rare opportunity for our region to influence and share global development priorities, including with respect to the oceans."

The agenda in Palau includes a number of crucial decisions which will determine the future of the region's key intergovernmental agency. (PNA/Xinhua)

JBP/EBP

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