The United States is proud to mark World Environment Day and this year we are especially focused on the unique challenges facing Small Island Developing States and the health of our oceans.
With vast marine areas and limited land, island nations feel environmental challenges very acutely. Marine pollution, overfishing, ocean acidification, and the changing climate threaten countries from Tonga to Tuvalu to Trinidad and Tobago.
The ocean itself is vital to life – not just for island nations, but for people around the world. Here in the United States, the ocean sustains the livelihoods of millions, stabilizes our climate, and provides a critical source of food.
The challenges facing island nations demand urgency and focus from all of us. The United States took a major step forward this week, releasing a proposed rule under the Clean Air Act to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, and as we work hard to reduce our emissions and mitigate climate change at home, we will continue to help small island states and other vulnerable countries adapt.
We are especially looking forward to the “Our Ocean” Conference, June 16–17, with a focus on sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and ocean acidification, and to our participation in the Third UN International Conference on Small Island Developing States this September in Samoa. Protecting our ocean is a common challenge that demands common resolve, and we can meet this challenge with leadership that unites nations.