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Editorial: Momentous occasion for Fiji at CHOGM

Editorial: Momentous occasion for Fiji at CHOGM
April 21
13:17 2018

As the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) comes to a close in London today, the Fijian delegation led by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, has made its mark in its own unique way.

GREEN BOND

It was significant day for Fiji when Mr Bainimarama opened the London Stock Exchange trading by launching the Fijian Green Bond.

In his own words, Mr Bainimarama captured the importance of the event.

He said: “This is an important day for Fiji as we celebrate the listing of our Sovereign Green Bond on this great Exchange – arguably the premier capital market in the world. And it has been a great thrill for me to be here in person to open the day’s trading.”

He said Fiji, a small island state in the Pacific, had brought a novel financial instrument to this famous door. It’s an instrument designed to help our nation cope with the reality of climate change – to finance the various projects we need to build a more climate resilient economy.

The bottom line is that we need money to deal with the impact of climate change. This is one way of opening up the flow of capital to where it is needed the most. Because we have launched it, it is hoped that other sovereign governments and private investors will follow. As COP23 president, Mr Bainimarama has done extremely well in spreading the climate change message at CHOGM.

He has done it at a time when the Commonwealth, as an institution, appears to be getting stronger.

CHOGM, which is usually held every two years, is attended by presidents and prime ministers from across the 53-member nations – as well as their family members, lobbyists and journalists. So this is a powerful gathering where our Fijian leaders rub shoulders with some of the world’s influential leaders.

That’s why Mr Bainimarama is there in London contrary to some Opposition politicians’ criticism that he should be here dealing with the aftermath of the cyclones and floods.

This is a cheap political shot. These politicians know that there is a Government system in place to deal with the situation, whether he is in the country or not.

Mr Bainimarama was also able to meet New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on the margins of CHOGM. Mr Bainimarama heard of Ms Ardern’s new approach to regional co-operation with NZ becoming a more involved partner than just being a donor. They talked of exploring opportunities to increase bilateral trade between the two countries.

These special events are the benefits of attending CHOGM. The last CHOGM was in 2015 in Valletta, Malta. The next one was to take place in Vanuatu last year, but the Pacific island nation was devastated by Cyclone Pam two years earlier.

London stepped in to host this CHOGM.

At the end of this CHOGM, the member countries will issue a communiqué. Climate change is expected to be part of it. There may also be an announcement that Prince Charles will take over from the Queen as head of the Commonwealth.

BBC has reported that Commonwealth leaders would meet behind closed doors to discuss whether the Prince of Wales should succeed his mother as head of the 53-nation body.

The Queen has endorsed Prince Charles as future leader at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

She said it was her “sincere wish” that he takes over “one day”.

Whatever happens, Fiji will be part of this momentous event – something that we need to be proud of.

NEMANI DELAIBATIKI

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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