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Editorial: German Chancellor’s statement big boost for Fijian presidency for COP23

Editorial: German Chancellor’s statement big boost for Fijian presidency for COP23
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue VIII in Berlin. Photo: DEPTFO News
May 25
11:00 2017

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has found a powerful ally in German Chancellor Angela Merkel in our climate change battle.

The 62-year-old leader of the Christian Democratic Union is widely respected throughout the world as a prudent and pragmatic leader.

She is the most powerful woman in the world, who is running for the fourth term as Chancellor because of her popularity at home.

If she succeeds, which is most likely, she will equal the record set by Germany’s longest-running post-war leaders Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl. She was described by former American President Barack Obama as probably his “closest international partner”.

In Europe, she is seen as the best hope to defend liberal democracy on the continent.

Germans have come to trust Ms Merkel because of her policies which steered Germany through the financial crisis.

According to BBC, as Europe’s financial crisis bit, she became the symbol of fiscal austerity, prescribing sweeping budget cuts and tight supervision as the cure for southern Europe’s chronic debts.

Ms Merkel also became the driving force behind the European Union’s efforts to restore confidence in the Euro dollar.

On the humanitarian front, she is known for opening the German border to refugees from the Syrian civil war, a move that initially made her unpopular. But she survived the backlash.

Her coming out to support Mr Bainimarama and the Fijian presidency of COP23 is a significant development in our preparation for the COP23 summit in Bonn, in November. She carries a lot of clout when it comes to international diplomacy.

A shadow hovers over the climate change negotiations with the uncertainties of the United States future participation. US President Donald Trump has threatened to pull US out of climate change negotiation

Ms Merkel has endorsed Mr Bainimarama’s remarks that the rest of the world should unite and move forward if the US pulls out. She said there was a need for a “global alliance” of states and various sectors in the path towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Ms Merkel made the statement during the high-level segment of the Eighth Petersberg Climate Dialogue.

The German leader said the global community had already made a “decisive step” with the Paris Agreement, but even with that, the world needs to “take necessary steps and measures to implement them.

“We all feel the impacts of climate change… We are responsible for each other, we are liable for each other, we share a common destiny.”

Mr Bainimarama said even without the US, there was “considerable power” among the dialogue’s participants, as well as other countries, for a “decisive political action” on climate.

Ms Merkel said the unique arrangement of Fiji’s presidency and Germany’s hosting of the COP “shines a spotlight on the most vulnerable countries”.

She said it put emphasis on speedy action because it was a “question of survival” for these small countries.

“If the different governments were working together and pulling towards the same direction, we would have been already in a good position.

“If we were to act alone, we were to fight a losing battle, so we need as many countries to join in as possible.”

Her message is clear – all countries should unite and let Donald Trump know that climate change affects all including the Americans. Ms Merkel’s statement is a big boost to the Fijian presidency’s preparation for the Bonn summit.


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