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Environment Our Number One Priority, PM Tells Kazakhs

Preservation of our environment is number one priority, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has told Kazakhs. He is in Kazakhstan in his first official visit there to attend the Astana Expo
18 Aug 2017 10:49
Environment Our Number One Priority, PM Tells Kazakhs
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov during the Expo on ‘Future Energy’ in Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital. Photo: DEPTFO News

Preservation of our environment is number one priority, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has told Kazakhs.

He is in Kazakhstan in his first official visit there to attend the Astana Expo on ‘Future Energy’.

“The theme of the Astana Expo – focusing on the promotion of green and clean energy – is one that is very close to my own heart,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“Not only because it is vital to us in Fiji but also because I am the incoming President of COP23 – the ongoing UN negotiations on climate change. But before I address the issue of climate change and renewable energy in detail, I want to say a few words about Fiji’s attractiveness as a tourist destination and a place to invest. In many ways for us, the two go hand in hand,” he said.

“Because the future of our nation and its economic prosperity very much depend on the world taking decisive action on climate change.

“We place a great deal of importance on our National Green Growth Framework because the preservation of our natural environment is our number one priority.

“The pristine beauty of our islands draw almost a million visitors a year to Fiji. And we have made it clear to the world that no development in Fiji will get the go-ahead unless we are satisfied that it is environmentally sustainable.

“We are especially keen to attract investment in renewable energy because we know this is critical to the future of Fiji and the whole world.

“At present, we are spending about a billion dollars a year on imported fossil fuel. And we know that we must turn increasingly to hydro, wind, solar and biofuels if we are to meet our own commitment to the global community through the Paris Agreement to reduce our own carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

“There are many benefits of investing in Fiji, such as our position as Hub of the Pacific; our rapidly improving infrastructure – better roads, better airports, more efficient ports; our general connectivity and world class telecommunications; our educated, committed English- speaking workforce; our investment incentives, including duty concessions, investment allowances, some of the lowest corporate and personal taxes in the region; and we have had eight successive years of solid economic growth, which means that investor confidence in Fiji has never been higher.

“I keep saying at every opportunity: Fiji is open for business. We are also taking the Fijian Made brand of quality goods and services to the four corners of the earth and have become one of the world’s most desirable holiday destinations And at every opportunity, including this one, I invite the world to come to Fiji to experience our unique brand of hospitality and friendship. In the words of our tourism slogan, Fiji is the place where happiness finds you. I always say you can find a nice beach and cool drink in many places. But only in Fiji will you find the friendliest people on earth. So wherever you live in the world and however far it might be from our Pacific home, try to make the effort to visit Fiji because I can assure you that an unforgettable experience awaits you.

“The preservation of our way of life and all that we hold dear in Fiji and the other Pacific island nations hinge on a decisive global response to climate change. Which is why I have embraced the opportunity to lead the ongoing UN negotiations as incoming President of COP23.

“I have also decided because of the urgency of the task ahead of us that it is also a time for plain speaking. For me to be Frank by name and frank by nature. To abandon some of the usual language of diplomacy and start telling it like it is.”

He again called on United States President Donald Trump to reconsider his decision to pull America out of climate change negotiations.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj



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