Speaking at the COP23 climate change conference in Germany, Mr Maamau said Kiribati like many countries was continuing to witness the detrimental impacts of climate change.
But he said Kiribati wanted to put aside the misleading and pessimistic scenario of a sinking/deserted nation, and would replace it with a desire to fight and/or adapt to climate change, for which it would need international help.
He said his government was launching an ambitious 20-year plan or the KV20, to build and develop the nation in the face of climate change.
Mr Maamau said predictions that Kiribati would sink were not only de-empowering but contradicted efforts to build the islands into a resilient, wealthy, healthy, and secure nation.
"We all know that climate change is not only about science, but more importantly, it is about the people, in terms of their social values, ethics and morals," he said.
Photo: supplied Kiribati President at COP23 in Bonn