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Sayed-Khaiyum Presses Climate Case At Key Meeting

Sayed-Khaiyum Presses Climate Case At Key Meeting
Climate Change
April 17
12:19 2016

Fiji has called for new global arrangements to make it easier for vulnerable countries like Fiji to obtain funding to adapt to the extreme weather events such as Tropical Cyclone Winston that are being caused by climate change.

The call was made by the Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, at the second ministerial dialogue of the V20 Group of Finance Ministers in Washington DC.

The V20 or Vulnerable 20 – which was founded last year – is made up of the top 20 countries who have been designated by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund as being at most risk to climate change.

Fiji was confirmed as a new member of the group at the Washington meeting and the A-G took the floor to explain the special challenges Fiji is facing in the wake of the devastation caused by Cyclone Winston.

The A-G said Winston was a clear demonstration of the vulnerability of small and island developing states to extreme climatic conditions and natural disasters, which were now occurring with increasing frequency and intensity.

And urgent action was required from the international community to enable countries such as Fiji to gain proper access to adequate levels of funding to enable them to build their resilience to climate change.

“There are certain anomalies that exist in accessing the present arrangements for concessional financing,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“In the case of Fiji, we are precluded from accessing concessional financing, because we have been designated as a middle income nation.

“So in a sense, we are being punished for doing well. But this needs to change because small and island states are extremely vulnerable.

“The impact of a single natural disaster can be a significant setback for the economies of these nations and it can take years to rebuild and recover. So clearly, these nations need access to concessional funds and they should be made available as a matter of urgency.”

The A-G stressed – as he has at other recent international gatherings – that small and vulnerable states needed to focus on adapting to climate change, such as strengthening infrastructure to survive extreme weather events, as opposed to adopting mitigation measures, such as reducing carbon emissions, which in Fiji’s case is negligible.

 

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

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