Act Now Leaders Told

A midst a power packed, and room full of Pacific leaders and policy-makers, a 13-year-old silenced the crowd with her five-minute poem recital.
14 Jul 2022 12:30
Act Now Leaders Told
Esther Nofaga outside the Grand Pacific Hotel. Photo: Losirene Lacanivalu

A midst a power packed, and room full of Pacific leaders and policy-makers, a 13-year-old silenced the crowd with her five-minute poem recital.

It was the start of the dialogue of Pacific leaders with Non-State Actors, and despite Esther Nofaga’s age, the leaders listened intently, with some nodding and shaking their heads in agreement.

The programme was held on the margins of the 51st Pacific Island.

Forum (PIF) Leaders Meeting at the Grand Pacific Hotel yesterday.

One could hear the subtle nervousness in her voice but her message was firm.

“Start acting now, you can keep talking but it is best to act now.”

Below are snippets of the poem titled: ‘I am sorry for so many reasons:’


I’m sorry for so many reasons.

Our oceans are crying, our Pacific countries are drowning.

Natural disasters, come and go as they please.

Rise of the sea level is unbelievable.

I’m so sorry that we listen too much to those who didn’t do anything.

My Fiji by blue Pacific my safe abode.

I admire your progress in the development world.


As she gained confidence in the first few minutes, so too was the assurance that her message was understood well by the leaders.

The Veiuto Primary School student said her poem was about the climate change issues Rabi was facing as well as Fiji.

Esther is from Rotuma with maternal links to Banaba in Kiribati.

Proud father, Sefeti Nofaga, said yesterday was an important moment for his daughter as she voiced the climate change issues her island was facing.

“This is something that’s really happening in the Pacific, most of the islands are suffering,” he said.

“We can’t do it alone.”


Pacific Child Website

Another side event saw the launch of the Pacific Child Website “Our Children Today, Our Future Tomorrow”.

Young guests from the Mobile Kindy Fiji were delighted to welcome the PIF Leaders.

Chair and Prime Minister of Fiji Voreqe Bainimarama said it was refreshing to be in the company of representatives of the most precious, promising and vulnerable members of our society – our children.

“Every single one of us was a child at one stage too – even if our children find that hard to believe, we know so much more about how our earliest years of life shaped the people we have become,” he said.


“Fiji is currently one of eight Council Members working towards developing our National Early Childhood Development (ECD) Policy and Action Plan.

“Amongst the youngest populations on the planet, the Pacific cannot afford to leave our youngest citizens behind.

“The sad fact is that climate change will be an issue our children inherit –– even in the best-case scenario of emissions reductions.


“Their well-being must be central to our resilience priorities and resourcing –– because their minds must be at the forefront of solving this crisis,” he said.

Early Childhood Development, co- chair and Prime Minister of Samoa Fiame Naomi Mata’afa said: “Failure to provide earlier quality early childhood education for the youngest of our society stunts their future by denying them opportunities to reach their full potential

“Lest we forget it also limits the futures of our country robbing them of the human capital need to reduce inequality and promote peace prosperous society.”.



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