Sunvoice

Let’s Back National Initiatives On Climate Change, State Of Our Oceans

EDITORIAL:  Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has labelled this year as a year of immense challenges. He has arrived at this conclusion after reviewing last year, and based on that, what
03 Jan 2017 07:51
Let’s Back National Initiatives On Climate Change, State Of Our Oceans
Destruction left behind by Tropical Cyclone Winston.

EDITORIAL:  Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has labelled this year as a year of immense challenges.

He has arrived at this conclusion after reviewing last year, and based on that, what would happen this year.

In his New Year message to the nation, Mr Bainimarama reveals what’s occupying his mind. Top of the list is Climate Change, COP23 and the state of our oceans.

These are at the heart of the challenges that we face this year. His use of the word immense underscores the magnitude of these challenges.

We cannot afford to treat them lightly or ignore them because they will affect everyone.

We felt the full fury of category five Tropical Cyclone Winston in February last year.

Today some people are still living in tents, their situation made worse by Tropical Depression 04F last month.

This week, after a brief period of respite, we will contend with more rain.

There is nothing significant on the immediate horizon in as far as new depressions are concerned. But the rain, nevertheless, is a concern.

Last month, it caused flooding which damaged roads and bridges, homes and wiped out crops in flood-hit areas.

There is still a possibility that more cyclones could be visiting us this cyclone season.

Climate change has caused considerable damage to this country’s economy and infrastructure.

It’s to our credit that we have been able to emerge from our recent natural disasters with a stable economy.

But there’s an inherent fear that if we get hit again soon by multiple weather patterns or another big cyclone like Winston whether we have the capacity to sustain our current economic level.

We were fortunate that Cyclone Winston spared our top revenue earner, tourism, otherwise our economy would not be in this state.

Mr Bainimarama is pursuing a number of goals on the global stage.

One is the campaign to reduce the global temperature rise to well below 2 degree Celsius well above the pre-industrial levels and to further push to limit the increase to 1.5 degree Celsius.

Additionally, the Paris Agreement during COP21, aimed to strengthen the ability of the countries to deal with the impact of Climate Change.

As president of COP23, Mr Bainimarama will be focusing on the implementation of the provisions of the Paris Agreement and the follow-up meeting of COP22 in Marrakesh, Morocco. This is a huge responsibility.

Implementation will depend on climate change funding. Mr Bainimarama will lead the charge to reach these ambitious goals.

This will mean putting in place mechanisms for appropriate financial flows, new technology framework and enhanced capacity building framework to support action by developing countries like Fiji and the most vulnerable countries in line with their own national objectives.

As a separate issue but linked to our national concern is the campaign to protect our oceans as a source of food and livelihood.

Again, Fiji is at the forefront, co-hosting the World Ocean Summit with Sweden, in New York in June. Then in September it will preside over COP23 in Bonn, Germany.

Extreme weather conditions caused by Climate Change and the state of our oceans affect us directly. Our agriculture, fisheries, tourism and other industries are affected.

In fact our economy is dependent on these two factors.

This is the time when we need to think outside of the box and support these initiatives.

We need to leave aside our political differences and back the national efforts because ultimately, the weather and ocean issues, will have a major influence in determining our future.

 

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 



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