The Marshall Islands celebrated its Expo 2020 Dubai National Day on Sunday with calls for further support for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a fervent plea for stronger action on climate change.
Sultan Mohammed Al Shamsi, UAE Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for International Development Affairs, welcomed John M Silk, Minister of Natural Resources and Commerce, Republic of the Marshall Islands at the event.
Al Shamsi said, "The Marshall Islands’ Pavilion emphasises the vital need for joint action towards tackling the challenges posed by climate change by emphasising the powerful impact of collective action.
"Over the past decade, we have witnessed significant growth in our bilateral ties with the Marshall Islands, and look forward to exploring the potential of enhanced collaborations across various fields of mutual priority, for our collective progress and well-being."
Silk said, "In agreeing to take on the challenge of setting up our pavilion here in Dubai, we wanted to tell the world our story. Our story is one of resilience, determination, friendship and unity, symbolised by our unique culture and traditions and our advocacy for greater climate ambition at all levels.
"For the Marshall Islands, when we talk about climate change, it means an existential threat. We mean a rising sea level threatens our very existence. This is where the true spirit of the SDGs must be brought to life, leaving no one behind."
The ceremony was rounded off with two traditional Marshallese dances performed by artists from the Namdrik Atoll, the southernmost rural communities in the Marshall Islands.
Few countries are more acutely aware of the impacts of climate change than the Marshall Islands, which are entirely made up of low-lying atolls – coral deposits on the crater rims of submerged volcanoes – sitting just one metre above sea level.
Based in the Opportunity District, the Marshall Islands Pavilion shows the beauty and history of this island, while flagging the challenges they are facing for the future, putting out a call for action on climate change.
National and Honour Days at Expo 2020 Dubai are moments to celebrate each of Expo’s 200-plus International Participants, shining a light on their culture and achievements and showcasing their pavilions and programming.