RMI side event
Climate Change Resilience

8 December 2023, Dubai, UAE - The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is a small country located in the Northern Pacific, made up of 29 coral atolls and five islands, and with a population of a little over 40,000 people.

None of the atolls and islands in RMI rise over six metres above sea level, making them one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

Despite this risk to their islands, majority of the Marshallese people are adamant that they do not want to leave their islands and migrate elsewhere and would rather stay even if it means they have to swim in their own homes.

RMI people

This has been the impetus behind the Government of RMI’s decision to develop an ambitious National Adaptation Plan (NAP) or Papjelmae in their native tongue, which is a commitment of resilience and sustainability and was crafted with a blend of ancestral wisdom and modern scientific data and insight.

The NAP was introduced to the world at the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP28) in Dubai, UAE during a side event held at the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion.

The Hon. John Silk, RMI Minister for Climate Change, “The trials we have faced are numerous. Our ancestors faced many challenges. Despite all of these, the biggest challenge that has yet confronted us, is climate change,” he said.

“Never in our history have we faced such a challenge that threatens not only our existence but the independence and existence of our country as a nation,” he added.

“This crisis calls for a response as diverse as the challenges we are facing now. In our urban centres, we are grappled with coastal flooding and rapid urbanisation, and communities are facing severe food and water scarcities.”

Because of these varied challenges, Hon. Silk said that they have had to ensure that their adaptation measures are designed to be dynamic to address the unique challenges of each area.

He also added that the financial implications of adapting to climate change is immense, and that RMI is looking at expenses in the billions to safeguard their homes, their culture, and their future.

“The fight requires a robust climate finance strategy, and we urge developed nations to provide the necessary support to implement our adaptation strategies effectively,” he added.

The RMI NAP was developed through consultation with 15 communities and involved youth groups, women’s groups, churches, government ministries and the private sector for a bottom-up approach on the premise of self-determination, with the main purpose of providing a pathway for the survival of the Marshallese people, as well as their culture.

The Launching of the Marshall Islands National Adaptation Plan (Republic of Marshall Islands) was held on 5 December 2023 at the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion.

The Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion at COP28 is a Pacific partnership with Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia managed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

The Pavilion was featured at the twenty-eighth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change hosted in Dubai, UAE from 30 November – 12 December 2023.
To learn more about the Moana Blue Pacific Pavilion please visit: www.sprep.org/moana-blue-pacific


Marshall Islands, COP28, NAP