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PM: Fiji’s Greatest Resource is the Fijian People

PM: Fiji’s Greatest Resource is the Fijian People
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in Beijing, China during the Belt and Road Forum Leaders Roundtable – Working Lunch in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua
May 17
19:18 2017

The following is the speech by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama at the Belt and Road Forum Leaders Roundtable – Working Lunch in Beijing on May 15.

Chair, Your Excellency, President Xi Jinping;

Excellencies, Members of this August Forum;

Bula vinaka and a very good afternoon to you all.

I’m delighted to take part in this roundtable, alongside many of my fellow leaders, at a time when global leadership is required more than ever to address some of the greatest challenges ever faced by mankind.

Let me begin by thanking the Government of the People’s Republic of China for extending this invitation to participate in the Belt and Road Forum and for the friendship you have shown Fiji and the Fijian people for many years.

Excellencies, I say often that I consider our greatest resource in Fiji to be the Fijian people.

The warmth we famously share with those who visit our shores is a quality we carry with us wherever we are in the world.

And our relationships with our development partners are built on the invaluable people-to-people connections we share.

Whether it be tourism, sport, education or any area of development, the Fijian people work side by side with citizens from countries around the world and, by doing so, they deepen our engagement with the global community.

As you are all aware, the people of Fiji, the Pacific and of every low-lying vulnerable nation are threatened by climate-related catastrophe, and Fiji has been tasked with leading the global negotiations on climate change this year in Bonn, Germany as President of COP23.

I was very pleased to see– as we await a decision from the United States administration on whether they will remain in the Paris Agreement – President Xi’s reassurance of China’s full support to the multilateral consensus achieved under the agreement at COP21 in 2015.

Your Excellency, your leadership is critical at a time when we cannot afford to take even one step backward.

Every low-lying, vulnerable nation on earth is grateful for your commitment, and I look forward to working with you to defend the Paris Agreement and its full implementation in Bonn this November.

I strive for a successful presidency of COP23 not just for the sake of Fiji’s prestige.

I strive for the nations of the world to succeed in our joint endeavour to save ourselves from an intolerable future. Fiji’s success will be humankind’s success.

It will mean success for biodiversity, for animal and plant life on the planet. And it will be success for the future of our children. So I appeal to the wider international community to support our presidency, given the need for a unified global defence of the agreement this year.

Excellencies, we are honoured to be a voice for Pacific Island nations and small island states on the issue of climate change and of preserving our ocean resources, as we are also co-hosting the Oceans Summit with Sweden in New York next month.

We hope that this forum serves as an opportunity to widen international engagement with Pacific Island nations to drive sustainable development in a region that is particularly vulnerable to the rising sea levels and extreme weather events caused by climate change and the degradation of our ocean resources.

President Xi, I look forward to discussing with you in detail at our meeting on Monday how we can elevate our bilateral relationship and build on the good work Fiji and China have already achieved together.

Again, I am very glad to be here and thank you again for the invitation for Fiji to participate.

Xiexie. Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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you said it
"I wouldn't want to miss this opportunity. I want to make sure that I am by her side when my first child is born."
Jasa Veremalua
Fiji Rugby 7s rep
May 2017
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