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Fiji Shames World With Courage, Says Tong

One  of climate change’s leading advocates, Kiribati President Anote Tong, has described the Fijian Government’s invitation to offer refuge in Fiji as courageous and it has shamed the world with
29 Oct 2015 11:32
Fiji Shames World With Courage, Says Tong
President Anote Tong in Bali,

One  of climate change’s leading advocates, Kiribati President Anote Tong, has described the Fijian Government’s invitation to offer refuge in Fiji as courageous and it has shamed the world with this commitment.

Speaking to climate change experts, rural development leaders and funding institutions from across the Asia Pacific region, the outspoken President delivered his keynote address during the Innovation for Rural Transformation Asia and Pacific in the 21st Century in Bali, Indonesia.

The three-day meeting is hosted by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the government of Indonesia.

The meeting includes Fijian delegates Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management Joeli Cawaki, acting Permanent Secretary Agriculture Uraia Waibuta, and FMF Foods managing director, Ram Bajekal who represented the private sector.

The President’s statement stems from the Fijian Government reiterating its offer to provide the people of Kiribati with a permanent home if the need arises.

“The Fijian Government and the Fijian people have gone ahead and issued a public statement,” the President told some 300 participants at the InterContinental Bali Resort in Denpasar.

“If and when the people of Kiribati and Tuvalu ever should need to go in the event that climate change makes it necessary, they (Fiji) would be willing and able to do that.

“But let Fiji take the lead and the rest can follow in time.”

He said the COP 21 is a challenge for the global community.

“I’ve always talked of climate change as a moral challenge. It’s not about economic, it’s not about politics because a lot of leaders bring politics to the table,” Mr Tong said.

“We had a big argument with New Zealand and Australian leaders in the forum because they’re saying exactly what I was saying that any further reduction in their emission will hurt their industry.

“I understand what they’re saying but they’re talking about their industries, we’re talking about our future, our survival.”

He said the entire global community and especially the most vulnerable must have that right to be able to survive.

“It’s simple common sense and justice,” Mr Tong said.

“The only reason they don’t want to say this is because they’re in a position of power to dictate.”

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