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Stakes High: Bainimarama

Stakes High: Bainimarama
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and Australian High Commissioner to Fiji Margaret Twomey at the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum opening at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa yesterday. Photo: DEPTFO News
January 17
12:40 2017

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the stakes are high in the bid to protect regional security.

Opening the 25th Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum yesterday, he said the crises the delegates would discuss threaten years of development progress. He highlighted transnational crime and climate change as two top issues.

He told the high-powered meeting at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa, Natadola: “It is our sacred duty to protect the men, women and children of our respective countries, and that is best achieved by promoting peace and security at a regional and international level – because there is no operating in isolation in the current global security landscape.

“Conflict can spill over to reach any corner of the globe at any time. Criminals operate in cyber-landscapes irrespective of national borders and outside of geographic limitations.

“And many existing laws, regulations and tactics are woefully out of date and irrelevant to the evolving threats we face.

“That is why this forum is so important. Here we can deepen the trust and security co-operation among our nations and find solutions that can save valuable time in preventing transnational crimes.

“Here we can share strategies that have been effective, and explain pitfalls that should be avoided.

“Here we can lay the groundwork for the next phase of regional security by strengthening existing frameworks and systems, and preparing the next generation for the challenges not yet upon us.

“The stakes could not be higher. The crises we will discuss in the coming days threaten years of development progress throughout our region, are causing countless innocents to suffer, and jeopardise entire peoples and ways of life.

“These issues demand regional action – because any weak link in the Asia-Pacific leaves us all exposed.

“We live together in this part of the world. It is our home, and it should nurture the hopes and dreams of our people. We share this most sacred space, and so we share a destiny and a responsibility to all our people, and Fiji stands ready to do our part.

“That being said, each of us faces different sets of security concerns. Each of us has to develop tailored solutions that fit our own situation.

“We in the Pacific, for example, are faced with an external threat that far exceeds our own abilities to confront.

“I am speaking, of course, about the rising seas and severe and erratic weather patterns brought about by climate change.

“When taking stock of the scale of the security risks we face, none compare to the threat climate change poses to many low-lying nations throughout the Pacific–nations whose very existence is at stake due to rising seas. We have no choice but to give this crisis all the energy, rigorous attention and sincere commitment that we can muster.

“And as you are all aware, Fiji has been elected to preside over the UN climate change negotiations at COP 23 in November, and we are also co-hosting the UN Oceans Conference with Sweden in June.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi


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