Delaibatiki’s My Say: COP23 SUMMIT A BIG SUCCESS

This is an edited version of Nemani Delaibatiki’s My Say in the 4 the Record programme last night on FBC TV. As COP23 summit came to a close, we can
20 Nov 2017 16:48
Delaibatiki’s My Say: COP23 SUMMIT A BIG SUCCESS
  • This is an edited version of Nemani Delaibatiki’s My Say in the 4 the Record programme last night on FBC TV.

As COP23 summit came to a close, we can all agree that it has been a huge success from Fiji’s standpoint.

The icing on the cake was the sensational speech by 12-year-old Timoci Naulusala, of Naivicula, Tailevu, who captured the hearts of many world leaders in Bonn, Germany.

It is not easy for a young boy of his age to face the world in a big international forum and speak his mind. His flawless performance bears the hallmarks of a great and accomplished orator.

It’s a tribute to his parents, family, teachers and of course the FijiFirst Government’s COP23 organisation which discovered Timoci in an oratory competition. It started at a local school oratory contest, which he won, then he went on to win the district and national competition.

Shalvi Shakshi, a student from Vanua Levu, also impressed COP23 delegates when she spoke a few days earlier on climate change.

Timoci was subsequently invited by French President Emmanuel Macron to Paris to speak at a climate mobilisation summit on December 12. The performance of the two students was one of the highlights of COP23. They represented the young people of the world who were usually excluded from such forums.

For the first time civil societies and the private sector were also included to give the climate change conversation broad representation. The Fijian COP23 presidency added new flavour by introducing the talanoa sessions and cultural entertainment to showcase our Fijian Bula spirit.

All those who have been involved in making COP23 a success, from the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama as COP23 President to the Attorney-General and leader of Fijian delegation Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, the COP23 secretariat and the rest of Team Fiji, deserve recognition and a hearty congratulation for a job well done.   

We have shown that we:

ν Have the capacity to head a top international summit and it is not the first time. We co-hosted the United Nations World Ocean Conference with Sweden in New York in June;

ν Can be creative and achieve the desired outcome. We used our uniqueness to create awareness about the impact of climate change, particularly on the poor and vulnerable small island states. It became a tool of persuasion to get the more affluent countries to join the Coalition of nations that the Fijian leaders have successfully built;

ν Can foot it with the richer and more developed countries and are not afraid to speak out on issues that concern us, particularly on climate change; and

ν Have outstanding leadership. Mr Bainimarama has once again shown his qualities as a leader in his ability to be able to appeal across the global community and garner support for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. His deputy, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, who led the Fijian delegation, also came through with flying colours as a consummate negotiator. He gained significant inroads into the complexities of international relations in terms of climate change and its implications.

COP23 has lifted the Fijian profile onto a new level internationally. Yet some Fiji Labour Party politicians like Mahendra Chaudhry and Aman Ravindra Singh and political activists like Jone Dakuvula displayed their tunnel vision and narrow-mindedness when they criticised the Fijian participation at COP23 and Government policies in the FLP annual delegates conference in Suva on Saturday. Some wild and unsubstantiated claims were made to score cheap political points.

They may be exercising their democratic rights but they don’t realise the damage it could cause in creating doubts, fear and anxiety at a time when we are trying to build national unity. Of all politicians, Mr Chaudhry should know the value of these international meetings because he was PM once after the 1999 general election.

Our national interests are linked to what’s happening internationally. We cannot be an island to ourselves. Fiji had been the voice of the vulnerable and the poor at COP23.

The richer and developed countries heard it clearly, many joining the ranks to back the climate change battle. The reality is, like other small island states, we need financial and professional assistance in adaptation and remedial action on climate change. Doors are opening and assistance is starting to flow.

The people of Fiji can no longer be fooled by the politics of old that has caused us so much grief and pain in the past. We must remain positive and focussed on issues like COP23 because they affect all of us including Mr Chaudhry, Mr Singh and Mr Dakuvula.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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