Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has made the following statement following the death of Tony de Brum, the former foreign minister of the Marshall Islands:
I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Tony de Brums. He passed away on Monday, surrounded by his family, following a long illness. My heartfelt sympathy goes to his family. His death is a huge loss - not only for them, but also for his country and for international climate policy. He was foreign minister of the Marshall Islands as part of several governments, most recently from 2014 to 2016, and he fought with courage, persistence and passion for the survival of his small island state in the Pacific, which is particularly affected by climate change. He was an extremely clever, warm and charismatic person. At the Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015, he succeeded in bringing together a ‘High Ambition Coalition’ – an alliance against all the naysayers and procrastinators that had too often been the cause of deadlocks in international climate diplomacy. The fact that the international community agreed on the first ever internationally binding climate agreement in Paris was in no small part thanks to Tony de Brum. In recognition of this, he was awarded the alternative Nobel prize by the Right Livelihood Foundation in 2015.
Tony de Brum proved that it is worth fighting for a better world – with courage and a tenacity that I found inspiring. It was an honour to call him my friend. He will be greatly missed.