SEOUL - Kiribati President Anote Tong has become one of two winners of a major new international peace award conferred in Seoul on Friday for his efforts to highlight the impacts of sea-level rise on his atoll nation.
President Tong, 63, was awarded the inaugural Sunhak Peace Prize along with Indian fisheries scientist Modagadu V Gupta. Mr Gupta is noted for his research, which resulted in significant increase in fish production and laid the foundation for the Blue Revolution, a possible solution said to address a potential food crisis.
The event was attended by more than 1000 delegates from the around the world as well as Pacific dignitaries.
The event was the highlight of the Third World Summit on Peace, Security and Human Development taking place at the Intercontinental Hotel in Seoul.
In his acceptance speech, laureate President Tong paid a special tribute to the late founder of the Sunhak Peace Organisation, Dr Sun Myung Moon, for his lifelong commitment working to achieve universal peace for all under the slogan "one family under God".
"I am honoured to receive this award and looking back the last 12 years to the challenges there were since being elected into power in 2003, my people had placed their hopes in me to guide them to a safe and secure future and to ensure that their voices were heard on issues they raised in the international arena," he said.
For his part, fellow laureate Gupta urged global leaders to invest more heavily in aquaculture to address the rapidly growing challenge of hunger in developing countries.
"It has been estimated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations that to meet the demand of increasing population by 2050, we need to increase food production by 60 percent globally, by 90 percent to 100 percent in developing countries," he told the audience, according to remarks prepared for delivery.