Climate Change | NEWS

Her Majesty The Queen Recognises I-Kiribati Climate Activist With Commonwealth Points Of Light Award

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth, has today, 17 September, recognised Pelenise Alofa (Maike Pilitati), representing Kiribati, as the 195th Commonwealth Point of Light in honour
18 Sep 2021 07:00
Her Majesty The Queen Recognises I-Kiribati Climate Activist With  Commonwealth Points Of Light Award
Kiribati and the insert image of Pelenise Alofa.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth, has today, 17 September, recognised Pelenise Alofa (Maike Pilitati), representing Kiribati, as the 195th Commonwealth Point of Light in honour of her exceptional voluntary service advocating for climate action.

Pelenise, aged 60, is one of the foremost advocates for climate action from across the Pacific, who has run the ‘Kiribati Climate Action Network (KiriCAN)’ for over 13 years to help communities respond to climate change and to raise awareness at an international level of the issue.

 

Pelenise uses her academic background with the University of the South Pacific to support communities living on the frontline of the climate crisis, including helping develop and build freshwater water tanks and shelters, and providing vocational training to better prepare people for potential migration in response to rising sea levels.

As part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London 2018, Her Majesty The Queen – as Head of the Commonwealth – is thanking inspirational volunteers across the 54 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond, by recognising one volunteer from each Commonwealth country every week.

By sharing these stories of service, the Commonwealth Points of Light awards celebrate inspirational acts of volunteering across the Commonwealth and help inspire others to make their own contribution to tackling some of the greatest social challenges of our time.

 

Pelenise said: “Oilei, what a wonderful surprise and honour to be receiving the Point of Light award from Her Majesty the Queen.”

“The real heroes of ‘KiriCAN’ and ‘Live and Learn Kiribati’ are the communities who are the HEARTBEAT of this country. It would have not been possible to achieve this award without the great support of co- founders of KiriCAN, Claire Anterea and the late Toanii Benson.”

“I also want to share this honour with my mentors from the ‘Live & Learn International’, Pacific Calling Partnership, USP/PACE-SD, Pacific Adventist University, Pacific Islands Association of NGOs, to my pikininis from the Pacific Climate Warriors, Kiribati Health Retreat and Pacific CAN, to my partners in climate change action – Unitarian Universalist Secretariat Committee, CARE, PLAN, OXFAM, Greenpeace, to my Elders the Banaban Elders & Landowners Association, and to the Government of Kiribati and the Kiribati National Experts Group.”

“I thank you all for believing in me and for the support you have tirelessly given me over the years. To families and friends near and far, thank you for loving me and for your help.”

 

“May the joy of this award embrace you and may the God we serve be exalted through our lives as we continue to help improve quality of life for the people of Kiribati, the Pacific and the Global South in the face of climate crisis. I crown you all the Kiribati blessings: Te Mauri, Te Raoi and Te Tabomoa (Good Health, Peace and Prosperity!”

George Edgar OBE, British High Commissioner to Kiribati, said: “I congratulate Pelenise Alofa on receiving the Commonwealth Points of Light awardin recognition of her work to raise awareness of the existential threat that climate change poses to her county, Kiribati. As the world prepares for the international climate conference in Glasgow, activists like Pelenise Alofa and her community partners playa vital role in ensuring that the experience and knowledge of those on the front line of the climate crisis is clearly heard by leaders and decision-makers. I wish her every success.”

 

The Commonwealth is a diverse community of 54 nations that work together to promote prosperity, democracy and peace.

The Heads of Government meeting brought together leaders from all the 54 Member countries to reaffirm common values, address shared global challenges and agree how to work to create a better future for all citizens, especially young people. Voluntary service is a vital part of this agenda, which is why Her Majesty The Queen has chosen to recognise outstanding volunteers across the Commonwealth in this special way.



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