Small island states want more funds to combat climate crisis

Small island states have urged wealthy nations to provide more funding to help them counter the threats posed by climate change. The appeal was made at a UN meeting that began on Monday.

The International Conference on Small Island Developing States is held once a decade. The Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda is hosting this year's meeting, which is being attended by about 100 countries, including Japan.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called climate change "an existential crisis for the entire human family." But he added that small island developing states are on the frontlines of the climate crisis. He stressed that the international community has an obligation to support those nations.

The prime minister of the Independent State of Samoa urged industrialized nations to provide additional funds and other kinds of support. Fiame Naomi Mata'afa said, "Our future seems precariously perched, the seas rise, our debts mushroom, our people struggle."

The meeting is due to end on Thursday. The participants are expected to adopt an action plan for the next decade.

Observers are waiting to see whether the international community will be able to agree to provide small, developing island nations with long-term support, including a debt settlement program, and a new framework for financial support.