PM Vows To Keep Momentum On Climate Fight

Bainimarama devoted to putting together dedicated Fijian Secretariat to make preparations here, liaise with UNFCCC Secretariat.   The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, vowed in Parliament yesterday that he would work
07 Feb 2017 11:00
PM Vows To Keep Momentum On  Climate Fight
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa. Photo: DEPTFO News

Bainimarama devoted to putting together dedicated Fijian Secretariat to make preparations here, liaise with UNFCCC Secretariat.


The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, vowed in Parliament yesterday that he would work closely with the ‘big players’ in keeping the momentum rolling in the fight against climate change.

In his capacity as COP23 president, he intends to work with China, India, the European Union, Japan, Canada, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Australia, United Arab Emirates and New Zealand.

Mr Bainimarama said he would also work closely with the region, global non-government organisations (NGOs), the civil society and the private sector.


COP23 presidency

“My brief as incoming COP President is to represent the interests of the entire world; to be impartial and achieve consensus between all parties on the best way forward.

“But it is only natural that as Fijians, we have a special interest in the needs of Small Island Developing States in our own region and beyond,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama said in the lead-up to the main COP gathering in Bonn, Germany in November, they intended to hold a Climate Champions meeting in Suva.

He said it would bring Pacific leaders, NGOs, civil societies and representatives of the private sector together to discuss a common agenda for COP.

“And then in October, a month before Bonn, we will host a pre-COP gathering in Denarau of many of the major players to hone our approach to the main event itself.

“As the year progresses, we will be making a special effort to engage the Fijian people, and especially our young people and our artists, in the COP process.”


COP logo entry competition

“And that engagement has already begun, with the advertisement on Saturday calling for ideas for the COP logo, that will brand our effort,” Mr Bainimarama said.

He also urged every Fijian to consider lodging an entry by the closing date of February 24.

“It doesn’t have to be the final product, just an idea that can go into the mix. Because we will need to refine any concept we receive using graphic professionals to incorporate it into all the platforms on which the logo will appear.

“Whether it is the COP23 Fiji website, our social media platforms, backdrops or flags,” Mr Bainimarama said.

He said the prize for the winning entry was a trip for two anywhere on the Fiji Airways Network.

“So my message to everyone is to get those entries in as soon as possible. Because it could be your idea that produces the final logo that will be seen around the world. Global exposure for a global event,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama said he was devoted to putting together a dedicated Fijian Secretariat to make preparations here in Fiji and to liaise with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat in Bonn.

“We have already allocated office space for this purpose in Suvavou House.

“Our UN friends have stressed that this is a team effort in which Fiji will work closely with them and the German government to make COP23 an unqualified success.

“And we have hired the same expert team of consultants that assisted Morocco with its successful hosting of COP22,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama said they had already started raising the necessary funds in the form of donations from an array of nations and foundations.

“These funds will be deposited into a trustfund here in Fiji that we are establishing with an Act of Parliament. The Bill setting up the fund will be tabled this week.

“The whole world wants Fiji to succeed in this effort and will provide the necessary resources to make it happen.

“There will be no need to increase the overall expenditure whatsoever in the Parliament approved 2016/2017 Budget,” he said.


Climate envoys

Mr Bainimarama said the Chief Negotiator for COP23 would be Ambassador Nazhat Shameem-Khan, our Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

“Ambassador Shameem-Khan is an standout candidate to lead these very complex and challenging negotiations because of her distinguished legal career and outstanding professional and personal qualities,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama said our Climate Champion is the Minister for Agriculture and Natural Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu, who knows the impact of climate change on ordinary Fijians better than most.

“Minister Seruiratu is one of the Government’s best performers and has already demonstrated his effectiveness as a climate advocate at Marrakesh and in other high level talks in Europe,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama said our designated Climate Ambassador was Ambassador Deo Saran, our envoy in Brussels.

“As I have said before, the duties of an incoming COP President will require a range of international engagements. Not only for me but for our Climate Champion, the chief negotiator and other members of the team. But as we have said, our domestic agenda will not suffer.”


Continue our growth

“We intend to continue the longest running period of economic growth in Fiji’s history into its seventh year,” he said.

“We will continue to strengthen our education and health systems and continue to extend basic services like electricity and water to every citizen.

“We will continue to improve our road network, footpaths and install streetlights in urban and rural areas. And if anything, our presidency of COP23 will open up all sorts of opportunities for new investments, both in the private and public sectors in Fiji.”

Mr Bainimarama said part of their plan was to attract new and cutting edge technology in several important areas so they could be trialed here for eventual use in other countries, including our island region.

“We also intend to attract finance for climate adaptation through the private sector,” he said.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce



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