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Delaibatiki’s My Say: Our future depends on climate action

Delaibatiki’s My Say: Our future depends on climate action
November 13
13:35 2017
  • This is an edited version of Nemani Delaibatiki’s My Say on the 4 the Record programme on FBC TV last night.

To those on United States President Donald Trump’s side, dismissing the reality of climate change; its devastating and life-changing impacts, and we have some in our midst, they must change their mindset.  There is overwhelming scientific evidence that if we do not wake up now and act, we will hasten the calamities that await us and threaten our future survival and existence.

Over the years the process of global warming has been steadily changing the way we live and do things. The resultant sea level rise and wild weather patterns tell us that when we upset the balance of nature we will pay with tragic consequences.

People who ignore these issues are shortsighted and have little regard for the welfare of their fellow citizens.

COP23 and its Fijian presidency have significantly lifted the profile of the climate change campaign. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and his dedicated team in Bonn have done it with innovation. The injection of the talanoa session into the climate change talks, the Fijian cultural exhibition and entertainment by the Fiji Police entertainment group, Virtual Reality videos featuring ordinary Fijians speaking on the effects of climate change and generally the renowned Fijian spirit have caught the imagination of the world.

The world media, some of whom don’t seem to be interested in COP23 events, are beginning to take note. Reuters has recognized how this Fijian spirit is taking Bonn by storm because of all these activities. People who probably have never heard of Fiji before because it’s only a dot on the world map, are now noticing the tiny group of islands in the South Pacific. This is the first time that a small island nation from the region has held COP presidency. It’s an expression of confidence in our ability, despite our size, to be able to lead a global movement of like minds and one purpose to save our oceans, environment and our planet. It’s a tribute to the leadership of Prime Minister COP23 president Mr Bainimarama and his deputy Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, the leader of the Fijian delegation at COP23. Some of Mr Bainimarama’s political opponents had criticised him for his extensive travel and shuttle diplomacy since he took up foreign affairs from Ratu Inoke Kubuabola in a Cabinet reshuffle. As Ratu Inoke would tell you, it’s not an easy job. But we are seeing the dividends. Countries that distanced themselves from us after the 2006 events, have changed their position.

The United Nations Ocean Conference in New York in June which we co-hosted with Sweden and now COP23 presidency show that the world community is beginning to look to us for leadership on crucial issues because of our example despite our size. So far in Bonn, Mr Bainimarama and his team are already turning heads and getting people talking. The benefits for Fiji are huge. This is the best forum where we can promote Fiji as a tourist destination and a trade partner. I can imagine the tourist operators and exporters here rubbing their hands with glee about the potential spinoffs from the Bonn experience. But climate change remains the top single issue that should concern us here. The environmental concerns over pollution in the air, on land and sea are important components of this issue.

Those, who live in coastal settlements in Fiji, threatened by the encroaching sea, know. Those, whose plantations have been destroyed by sea water, know. Those, who have been relocated from their ancestral site because it is no longer safe to live there, know. Those, whose homes have been destroyed, know. Those, whose families suffered big losses including loss of loved ones, during Tropical Cyclone Winston, know. In a nutshell, we need to adapt to the rapidly changing climatic conditions and reduce pollution. Otherwise, we and our posterity face a grim future.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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