WAILUKU - State Sen. J. Kalani English has traveled to Tarawa, Republic of Kiribati, for the 29th General Assembly of the Association of Pacific Island Legislatures.
The assembly will focus on climate change and the challenges faced by Pacific islands, he said in a new release. English serves the general assembly as its president.
The assembly began Wed-nesday and ends Monday.
"The Republic of Kiribati is a particularly meaningful place for us to gather and discuss climate change," English said. "It is made up of hundreds of low-lying atolls which are at the forefront of high sea rise and the potentially devastating effects of climate change.
"Most of the island countries, states and territories of the Pacific are the least to contribute to climate change, but are the most vulnerable to its effects."
English said Kiribati is the world's "canary in the coal mine" when it comes to changes in sea levels.
"We may see the effects there first, but we will also eventually see them in Hawaii as well," he said.
English was elected as general assembly president in May 2008, after serving two terms as vice president.
He serves the 6th Senate District, which includes East Maui, Upcountry, Molokai and Lanai.
The APIL is an association of Pacific Island governments. Current issues before the association include resources and economic development, commerce, legislation, energy, regional security and defense, communications, cultural appreciation, health and human services, education, agriculture, transportation, aquaculture, sports and recreation, youth and senior citizens, tourism, finance, political status, and development banking.
Among the island states participating are: American Sa-moa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, the state of Hawaii, the Republic of Kiribati and the Republic of Nauru.