( dpa ) - A bloc of small islands on Tuesday called for stepped up action to protect them against the force of nature ravaging their habitat as well as economy and agriculture.
"Climate change is real for us, it is something that affect us today because of the ferocity of hurricanes," said Angus Friday, the ambassador of Grenada, one of the Caribbean islands hit regularly by hurricanes.
Friday heads the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), whose representatives took part in the two-day debate in the UN General Assembly in New York to discuss efforts to work out a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. The protocol sets limits for atmospheric damaging carbon emissions by industrial nations and a global carbon trading system that all countries could participate in.
Governments met last December in Bali, Indonesia, to launch negotiations for a successor to the Kyoto treaty. The target date for reaching a deal is the end of 2009.
Cape Verde's Ambassador Pedro Monteiro Lima said the changing climate has already wrecked havoc in some small islands. Some have seen a downturn in their economies and agricultural production has been severely reduced.
The alliance was seeking partnership with foundations and other governments to fund programmes to fight coastal erosion, flooding, drought and desertification.
Tuvalu's Deputy Prime Minister Tavau Teii said his small island in the Pacific, whose highest point above sea level is just four metres, needs programmes and aid to help it adapt to climate change, which is a part of the discussions on a successor to Kyoto. Such a programme could cost tens of billions of dollars.
The UN debate allowed governments and the private sector to contribute ideas and programmes for tackling global warming.