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Fiji Delivered And Successfully At COP23 Summit, Says Our PM

Prime Minister and COP23 president Voreqe Bainimarama says  Fiji had delivered successfully at the climate change conference in Bonn, Germany. He made the remarks at the traditional welcome ceremony in
25 Nov 2017 11:55
Fiji Delivered And Successfully  At COP23 Summit, Says Our PM
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with Mary Bainimarama and Ministry of iTaukei Affairs Permanent Secretary, Naipote Katonitabua during traditional (Vakasenuqanuga ceremony) welcome ceremony of Fijian contingent from COP23 in Bonn, Germany at Draiba on November 24, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Prime Minister and COP23 president Voreqe Bainimarama says  Fiji had delivered successfully at the climate change conference in Bonn, Germany.

He made the remarks at the traditional welcome ceremony in Suva yesterday.

Mr Bainimarama said there were times when he was nervous about the enormous responsibility Fiji had been entrusted to fulfill as COP23 president.

But he knew that Fiji could not falter in this mission.

“I knew that, for the sake of low-lying villages threatened by ever-rising seas, for the sake of our farmers who watched their crops wither and die during prolonged droughts and for the sake of every Fijian who suffered in the aftermath of Cyclone Winston, we had to deliver a successful COP23. And I’m very glad to say we’ve done just that,” he said.

He said when the Fijian delegation was in Germany, they were blessed with many unforgettable moments – from drinking kava at the Fiji Pavilion with the `Terminator’,  former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, to showcasing traditional Fijian arts, dance and music with over 40,000 attendees, including global leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Mr Bainimarama said his proudest moment, however, and he thought many in the delegation would share this sentiment – came when they were able to share the best of Fiji with the world. He referred to two Fijian students who came to be Fiji’s most powerful ambassadors of all. He said “our children, Timoci Naulusala and Shalvi Shakshi, winners of the oratory competition during Fiji’s first ever Climate Week, truly stole the show at Bonn.”

He said as Timoci shared his personal story about witnessing the effects of climate change and his speech was broadcast throughout COP23, the bustle of the crowd of thousands went quiet and gathered around the television to watch in awe.

“The eyes of the Fijian delegation welled up tears of pride and later, an impressed President Macron invited Timoci to Paris to speak again.

This is more than Timoci’s story; it symbolises the best of Fiji – a Fiji the world was previously unfamiliar with – and it is something we should all take pride in. This is the future that we all must fight to protect.”

He said after returning from Bonn, it was clear to him that his fellow Fijians shared his pride in what Fiji had accomplished.

Expectations for COP23 he said were high.

“I can only hope that, so far, you can see what we have worked hard to meet and exceed these expectations and I pledge to continue to strive to do so.”

Fiji’s journey had just begun and he did not take the responsibility of COP23 president lightly, he said.

He said he would work every day to represent all and the future of Fiji, in a way that would continue to make every Fijian proud.

He said COP23 was not just a two-week process as it took many months of planning and it required dedication of many volunteers, civil servants, students, parents and civilians.

Mr Bainimarama thanked each and every Fijian who gave their passion and time to this effort, and for also welcoming the delegation yesterday.

He also thanked the international community who provided financial support to Fiji’s presidency, ensuring that no cost was borne by Fiji and the Fijian people.

Edited by Mohammed Zulfikar

Feedback:  maikab@fijisun.com.fj



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