Pacific nations make plea at UN

More than a dozen small island nations have made an urgent appeal to the UN Security Council for help in combatting climate change, which they say poses a threat to their existence.

The council heard pleas from ministers and ambassadors from Pacific states such as Kiribati, Fiji, Samoa, Niue and the Marshall Islands, and Caribbean countries like St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The island states want financial and technical assistance, to help avoid being washed away in the rising tides and powerful storms caused by global warming.

The president of Kiribati, Anote Tong, says the plight of smaller islands for too long has been at the bottom of the list of priorities of the United Nations and other global organisations.

He expressed hopes the concerted appeal by the Small Island Developing States would help change that.

The SIDS nations said they have made appeals in the past - mostly in vain - for global powers to address the unique and acute impact they fact from climate change.

The difference now is that New Zealand is the currently president of the 15-member Security Council.