Fiji will fight no matter how small we are. We will continue to be the voice for more climate ambition and action.
We will further advance our case in the great forums of the world, not only on behalf of Fijians and other Pacific islanders but also for the climate-vulnerable ones everywhere.
Prime Minister Honourable Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama made these bold remarks while delivering Fiji’s national statement at the United Nations General Assembly in New York today (25th September, 2019- US date).
Prime Minister Bainimarama said Fiji answered the UN Secretary-General’s call to be part of the UNGA74 with more ambition to reduce the island nation’s own emissions.
He said Fiji would be lodging a revised Nationally-Determined Contribution in the New Year which will include a commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
Prime Minister Bainimarama said Fiji was also becoming one of the first countries in the world to enshrine the implementation of the Paris Agreement and other strands of our climate campaign into a new national law.
“The Climate Change Act gives us the legal tool we need to place climate action and ambition at the centre of our national life. When it is passed by our Parliament within the next few months, decisions by government and the private sector will have to factor in climate change and other laws will be amended to fall into line with the Act,” he said.
“For 13 years, empowering our people has been the hallmark of my government. In our climate fight, we’ve launched a host of initiatives to serve our people in the region.
“This includes working to reducing the emissions of our transport sector, collaborating with our Pacific neighbours to transform our shipping fleets and also protecting our vulnerable coastal communities and towns from the rising waters and extreme weather events.
“Accessing adequate and affordable finance from public and private sources for climate adaptation and bringing solar power to communities and relocating threatened communities are among other important initiatives my government has achieved.”
Prime Minister Bainimarama added that one of his government’s most exciting initiatives is preserving and planting more forests and mangroves and monetising these through carbon trading arrangements in the international marketplace.
“We want to fire the imaginations of our people and encourage them to protect our trees, mangroves and coral as well because they will not only have natural value but worth serious dollars and cents.
“These achievements have been attained because my government has united the country and empowered the people with a sense of purpose.
“But all of that progress remains at-risk if the world does not heed the voices of our young and summon the collective will to confront the climate threat,” he said.
The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to highlight Timoci Naulusala’s story, the young Fijian climate warrior whose village and school were severely devastated by Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016.
Fourteen-year old Timoci was also part of the UN Youth Climate Summit this year.
The Prime Minister said; “It is our duty, as the leaders of our own generation to secure the future of our planet and our only home for the generations to come and also to lay out a vision of the great opportunities that await the world when we embrace a sustainable energy future and a sustainable future for all living things”.
“Every nation has a role to play but only the industrial nations have the economic capacity and advanced technical know-how to lead the world to victory in this struggle. Defeat is not an option.
“My message to my own people and especially young Fijians is this: I hear you. Your nation, your government is doing everything it can to get the world to confront the climate threat.”