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PM’s Call At Summit

Prime Minister Voreqe Baini­marama yesterday appealed to world leaders to give cli­mate adaptation funding the over­riding priority it deserved. In his remarks at the opening of the Leaders’ Dialogue at
24 May 2016 11:37
PM’s Call At Summit
PM in Istanbul 1

Prime Minister Voreqe Baini­marama yesterday appealed to world leaders to give cli­mate adaptation funding the over­riding priority it deserved.

In his remarks at the opening of the Leaders’ Dialogue at the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) at Istanbul, Turkey, he said the issue should be raised at the summit and in all the great forums of the world.

He said that Fiji came to the sum­mit with a plea to the global com­munity to strengthen its response to the great humanitarian challenge of our age – the threat to hundreds of millions of people the world over from the rising sea levels and ex­treme weather events caused by cli­mate change.

“We in the Pacific are among the most vulnerable – the looming pros­pect of vast tracts of arable land be­ing lost to the seas and three entire countries sinking beneath the waves altogether,” he said.

The corresponding threat of severe weather events such as tropical cy­clones, floods and droughts was just as acute, he said.

He said that three months ago, the biggest cyclone ever to make land­fall in the southern hemisphere slammed into Fiji with winds in ex­cess of 300 kilometres an hour.

“Tropical Cyclone Winston killed 44 of our people, damaged or de­stroyed 40,000 homes and ravaged public buildings and infrastructure, including 229 schools.”

While the damage bill amounted to $US1.4 billion, he said Winston spared the main tourism areas on which Fiji’s economy largely de­pended.

But Fiji and other vulnerable na­tions faced the ever-present threat that a single event scoring a direct hit could

devastate their economies for many years to come and made it difficult if not impossible to meet its 2030 Sus­tainable Development Goals, he said.

He said Fiji must gain urgent ac­cess to adequate levels of finance in the way of grants or loans to build its resilience to climate change.

Edited by Nemani Delaibatiki

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