Tuvalu has a new knight as its Governor General Reverend Tofiga Vaevalu Falani was appointed by King Charles III to the most distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George as a Knight Grand Cross (GCMG).
Tuvalu is among the five Pacific nations to whom King Charles is still the head of state. Sir Tofiga during his visit to London, now holds the Insignia customary for Governor Generals of Tuvalu.
“The Ministry congratulates the Tuvalu delegation in the United Kingdom on this momentous achievement and thanks His Majesty King Charles III for this distinguished appointment,” said Tuvalu’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.
Queen Elizabeth II funeral service allowed leaders from the Pacific to have audience with King Charles III.
Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Kausea Natano and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape were among those who were able to have an audience with the king.
Mr Natano discussed issues such as climate change and its impact on Tuvalu, and how much they needed the world to seriously commit to the Paris Agreement.
Mr Marape said in a government statement that after the meeting he was very pleased with the opportunity with the King and the monarch’s recognition of Papua New Guinea’s and Pacific Islands’ plight against global warming and rising sea levels.
He said the conversation focused on the rainforests of Papua New Guinea and King Charles agreed with his own long-held view that PNG must be remunerated for the preservation of its trees by industrialised, big carbon-emitting countries as a climate crisis mitigation strategy.
“His conversation with me today was totally in line with my own government policy. Forest conservation must not come at the expense of our people’s development aspirations,” said Mr Marape.
“For PNG, we are not just a climate change affected nation but we have this important global asset of rainforests that need to be preserved, but at a price – and the King agreed with me. Global carbon emitters must put their money where their mouth is in terms of forest conservation efforts.”
Mr Marape said King Charles went further by saying he was willing to mobilise his global network of environment conservationists, climate activists and environment-conscious global corporations to assist PNG in this area of forest conservation.
“I am happy to travel halfway across the world to meet the head of our country and for him to think consistently with the way I am thinking on aspects of benefits owing to forest conservation is fulfilling. We are a forest nation and if conservation for planet earth’s future is an option then it must be at a premium for our people.
“I have asked him be the global voice for PNG and the small island states and communities including our Pacific on environment, forest conservation and climate change. I said I would speak on these issues at the United Nations General Assembly coming up shortly and he gave me his blessing.”
Mr Marape said the conversation with the monarch was “warm and friendly” and the King reminisced on the time he had spent in PNG.
A verbal invitation was also extended to King Charles by Mr Marape to attend PNG’s 50th anniversary of independence which according to Mr Marape was accepted.